Announcing new CFA association with Dublin International Film Festival

Shauna Kelly
Published - February 20, 2023


Creative Futures Academy (CFA) is delighted to announce a brand new association with the Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF), to support and encourage new and emerging talent in the Irish film industry, both in front of and behind the camera.

The Festival

The Festival runs from February 23rd to March 4th with a packed programme. Film lovers across Ireland and internationally have the opportunity to see an incredible mix of cinema digitally and in person around the country. The programme includes a whole host of events, exclusive screenings and distinguished guests including Emily Watson, Paul Mescal, Aidan Gillen, Jane Seymour alongside filmmakers and creatives Artavazd Peleshyan, Jim Sheridan, Robbie Ryan and more.

A number of Creative Futures Academy academics and media experts are contributing to the Festival programme. Dr. Nicolas Pillai (CFA Academic Lead at UCD) will join the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Panel on Tuesday 28th February. The panel will shed light on making inclusive programming choices, improving practices around EDI in the creative arts industry, as well as to broaden the lens and reduce barriers to access cinema. Pillai oversees UCD CFA’s exciting new MA in Writing for Stage and Screen, co-teaching with actor and screenwriter Mark O’Halloran. Blending writing craft and industry know-how, the MA has been enhanced by workshops featuring speakers from Screen Ireland, Element Pictures, Blinder Films and DIFF. In December 2023, the completion of a new professional spec Media Lab and Black Box studio will offer students a dedicated environment for innovative teaching and learning. Designed in conjunction with theatre and venue specialists, Charcoalblue, this facility will support our CFA programmes in creative and performing arts across the disciplines of drama, film, writing and music. It also opens up potentials for collaboration with our industry partners.’

On Wednesday 1st March, in the Irish Film Institute, Dr. Díóg O’Connell (CFA at IADT) will chair a panel discussion and Q&A session with Industry Professionals and members of the Production Team of Bad Sisters (2022), as part of the IFI Careers in Screen 2023 event for Transition year students. CFA at IADT has also installed an Atmos Dolby Studio. This is the only studio of this type in an Irish educational institution, which will facilitate the design of sound for cinema. It will also ensure that graduates seeking work in the Creative industries will have cutting edge skills in emergent technology.

The Partnership

As a new higher education partnership between the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), University College Dublin (UCD) and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire, Creative Futures Academy offers a range of short courses, MA’s and BA’s in a range of formats that provide expert industry related skills across the creative and cultural sector. Well-known creative practitioners such as Mark O’Halloran, theatre director Jenny Jennings (ThisisPopBaby); director of the Dublin International Film Festival, Gráinne Humphreys; musician Dónal Lunny; singer-song-writer Paul Brady; music producer and composer Lance Hogan; modelmaker and designer Paul Mc Donnell, 3D sculptor Sean Forsyth along with a host of other academics and industry professionals contribute to CFA courses.

Courses available through CFA

Courses available through CFA include the new BA in Creative and Cultural Industries, screenwriting; film, media and broadcasting; creative and cultural management, digital sculpting, production management (TV + non-fiction); new technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, strategic and user-centred design and sustainable design and practice. Find out more about our short courses HERE.

The Festival will also showcase an impressive line-up of short films from Ireland and across the world. This includes a host of shorts by IADT students including:

Janna Kemperman (Shadow)
Sinéad O’Loughlin (Lamb)
Sarah Benson (Hermit)
Rory Kerr (Red Rabbit)
Avery Angle (The Small Makings of a Storm)
Paul Gleeson (People of the Plaza)
James Fitzgerald (Bad Boy Buck)
Mia Mularkey (Safe as Houses)
Daniel Butler (Bean Feasa)
Derek Ugochukwu (You’re Not Home)
Conor Bradley (Sons of Róisín)
Tania Notaro (Glitterbug)

And the following current IADT students are participating in the First Frame Student Film Competition:
Julia Wysocka, Hana Mohammed (
Good Grief),
Tess Doolan Burke (
Cry Baby),
Donal Cotter, Jess Lyons (
Oisin McKeogh and Sophie Lynch
Ethan Dodd, Aisling Keogh (
Thin Walls),
Cormac Doherty (
Bright Bronze),
Dara McManus (
Wiktoria Weinritt
(Last Seen)
and Colin Dragoi
(Floare [Flowers]).

Second year Illustration students at NCAD will participate in the Alternate Take; an exhibition of illustrated film posters drawn from this year’s festival programme. This is a fantastic opportunity to see some highly imaginative and original designs that celebrate the festival’s rich line-up of films.

Speaking about CFA’s involvement with DIFF, Director Louise Allen said “We are delighted to align with the Dublin International Film Festival which does a fantastic job promoting Irish Film and bringing compelling European and international films to Irish audiences. Creative Futures Academy partners (IADT, UCD & NCAD) have a long association with the Irish film industry; many of the talented producers, screenwriters, directors, editors and actors are graduates of these institutions. With the current pace of change and significant growth in the industry, Creative Futures Academy provides the opportunity for professionals to upskill in high end niche areas that are offered in online and hybrid formats to fit in with challenging work and life schedules. We look forward to building our relationship with DIFF and wish all of the talented contributors success.”

Festival Director and UCD graduate Gráinne Humphreys said “It’s a real pleasure to partner with the Creative Futures Academy on this year’s Dublin International Film Festival. I have been working with the wonderful CFA team for the past 2 years on a course entitled Cinema Creatives at UCD and I’ve seen first hand the huge levels of interest and engagement with film and the arts by undergraduates. I hope this collaboration will allow us to support and nurture these emerging talents as they start their professional careers. This partnership also offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the superb Irish talent presented in this year’s event who are graduates of NCAD, UCD and IADT.”

CFA and DIFF look forward to working together and are proud to support the sheer depth of talent and passion of the film industry. CFA is excited to work with DIFF and the creative industry to identify current and future trends informing the learning needs of each sector. This will shape how our learning platforms develop and evolve over the coming years, and will help us to provide learning experiences that enhance career opportunities including exciting careers in the visual arts, theatre, literature, music, festivals, film/TV, broadcasting, literature, digital platforms and media.

Editorial Notes

CFA is a collaborative partnership between the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), University College Dublin (UCD) and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire, CFA is a new approach to education that sees academics across the institutions work in collaboration with industry experts to identify future skills and knowledge needs across the creative and cultural sector and to create learner-centred programmes that respond to these in a meaningful way. These programmes are then delivered under the CFA partnership. As such, CFA brings together three of Ireland’s leading providers of cultural and creative learning to augment Ireland’s ambition for the creative sector, in turn benefitting society and the economy.

Further information

For press queries please contact: Shauna Kelly,

Images: From Alternate Take; an exhibition of illustrated film posters drawn from this year’s festival programme by second year Illustration students at NCAD.