Intro Text 

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (dlr) and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire (IADT) announced a collaboration where IADT‘s National Film School students are invited to create short form media responses to their unique experience of the pandemic.

These are historic times and dlr and IADT tasked student film and media makers with the opportunity to capture history as it happens, as they perceive it. The idea was to allow them to articulate their personal response to these unprecedented times, be it to the COVID-19 virus or lockdown. Students were invited to make an original film or podcast about their own unique experiences and responses to the pandemic.

The IADT campus is based in Kill O’ The Grange, in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area. Its Department of Film & Media has a long-standing reputation as Ireland’s centre of excellence for education and training in film, animation, broadcasting, and the screen arts. The department is home to the National Film School (NFS). In recent years dlr and the NFS have developed closer links and engaged in collaborative processes, including the annual dlr First Frames emerging film makers funding scheme, Young Women in Film & TV gender parity initiative, as well as film, documentary, and animation initiatives linked to Cruinniú na nÓg and the Creative Ireland programme.

In 2021, dlr sponsored an internal competitive process for the Stories From Isolation project where students studying on the Film & New Media undergrad programmes have had the opportunity to stretch their skills and put forward their vision of what they have experienced in the last 14 months. Over 100 submissions were entered into the competition with a total prize fund of €2,500. 22 films were shortlisted to go forward to a final adjudication which announced on the 29th of April 2021.

The competition, proposed and supported by An Cathaoirleach, Cllr Una Power, also had the aim of giving an artistic voice and documentary response to young people who have been very significantly affected by the pandemic and the lockdown, with its impact on them, their families and their communities and society as a whole. Speaking of the launch An Cathaoirleach said:

"I am so proud that we were able to give young filmmakers in our area a platform for their voice and the opportunity to relate how the pandemic has affected them and their communities. I would like to thank each of the IADT students who submitted an entry into the competition. The films absolutely blew me away. They were beautiful, touching, and at times funny; I would be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear while watching. These students have perfectly captured the profound physical and psychological impacts that this pandemic has had on our society."

On behalf of IADT, Rónan Ó Muirthile, Head of Faculty, Film, Art & Creative Technologies, commented:

"IADT’S National Film School is a place where story and craft are at the centre of what we teach. The Stories From Isolation project is a perfect opportunity for our students to apply the high standard of film education learnt here. These films articulate their personal perspectives on the pandemic and unique time in history. We are delighted to collaborate with dlr once again on this timely initiative."

Shortlisted and Winners of the Stories From Isolation submissions were announced to IADT students during a live online ceremony on April 29th 2021 and all shortlisted films were screened throughout May on all dlr media channels.

You can get an idea of the broad range of submissions in this montage video: