Story So Far

The Mini Mogul Cinema @ The Belfast Children’s Festival

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The lovely people at The Belfast Children’s Festival invited us and our Mini Mogul Cinema to their fantastic festival in the Waterworks park. The Belfast Children’s Festival is run by Young at Art, a not for profit children’s arts organisation. It was set up in 1998 with a mission to make life from birth to eighteen as creative as possible through the arts. Alongside the festival it runs a year-round programme of outreach and events across Northern Ireland.

We showcased a reel of very high quality short films provided by the guys at Cinemagic to hundreds of kids. It also happened to be the hottest day for 7 months, so exhausted and slightly sunburned! we have returned with more great shots from the day, courtesy of Emma Campbell Photography

‘Get Into Film’ with The Princes’ Trust

The 15 Second Film School hosted a fantastic week long course in partnership with The Princes’ Trust. 10 Students joined us from the charity organisation to take part in a week long introduction to film course dubbed ‘Get Into Film’. The Students got quality hands on experience in the process of film making. All 10 students shot some amazing short films which we are editing and will showcase right here soon.

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In the meantime why not have a browse through some of the fantastic behind the scenes photographs, courtesy of Emma Campbell Photography.
Go to www.emmacampbell.co.uk Keep an eye out for more from Emma on our website over the coming months.

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A special thanks to all of the crew at The Princes’ Trust, you know who you are!! And a big thank you to the Princes’ Trust students who amazed us with their hard work and creativity, They managed to make their films in an unbelievably short space of time, and they did a fantastic job!! Thanks guys!!!!

Golden Wonder shoot of the shoot @ MediaZoo Studios

A behind the scenes look at the Golden Wonder ad shoot at Mediazoo Studios in Belfast.

Kingspan Ad shot @ MediaZoo Studios, Belfast

Uber-Swellagent CGI maestros Street Monkey TV (Cotton Court, Belfast) shoot the Kingspan Ad for The Mission Advertising Agency (Weavers Court, Belfast) @ MediaZoo Studios (Weavers Court, Belfast), great wrap-around green screen facilities.



The 15 Second Film Festival @ Mediazoo Studios

Mediazoo StudiosWe’ve been very busy since we got back from New York. So busy in fact that we haven’t had time to insert our irregular progress updates… so here’s a quick overview…

After a year for filling in all kinds of grant application forms the 15SFF finally secured decent funding. We were awarded £50,000 from the Arts Council & DCAL’s ‘Creative Industries Innovation Fund’ and £25,000 towards a touring vehicle from the Arts Council’s ‘Equipment Grant’ award to develop the 15 Second Film Festival Production scheme, Touring New-Media Roadshow, online New-Media / Viral Distribution wing and 15 Second Film School.

The core activities of the 15 Second Film Festival are: the creation / commissioning of new 15 Second Films through its yearly filmmaker-friendly Production Scheme; the rolling out of the Touring Festival & New-Media Roadshow (with and without ‘The Mini Mogul’ Cinema) with a major driving force being to establish new avenues of distribution / exhibition for the commercial exploitation of the product; and the development of exceptional creative talents in Film / New-Media education through the 15 Second Film School.

Touring TruckALSO… we’ve opened a great new Filmmaking Space that we’re calling ‘Mediazoo Studios’ just behind the Europa Hotel. ‘Mediazoo Studios’ boasts two great working areas and we are already hiring out the space to other production companies / ad agencies / individual filmmakers.

Main Room: with a wide and full floor-to-ceiling in-built green screen with multiple infinity curves, high ceilings with pro lighting grid (green screen pre-lit with our own lights and lighting mixing desk), good fully certified electrics (3 x 63 Amp outputs), reasonable sound proofing, theatrical flooring, 8-step mobile warehouse steps, ground floor loading bay and three large windows that can be totally blacked out.

Production Area: with double-door loading dock, comfortable lounge area, costume and makeup area, hot-desks, Wi-Fi, great gas central heating system, modern open-plan kitchen area with fridge freezer, washing machine etc, decent toilet with a good shower… + two high-end Mac edit suites on an separate enclosed mezzanine floor, if needed… at additional cost.

+ The Studio is fully alarmed and there is on-complex security, 24 hour access, FREE parking and of course a very convenient Belfast City Centre location (right behind the Europa Hotel / Bus & Train Station, 5-minutes walk from the BBC and a simple pop-in from the M1 motorway.

Villi Ragnarsson, Jonathan Harden, Mik Duffy & Ryan Kernaghan on \'Hopper\' a NIS \'dv8\" short.

Pictured above: Producer Villi Ragnarsson, Actor Jonathan Harden, Writer / Director Mik Duffy & Cinematographer Ryan Kernaghan in Mediazoo Studios for the shoot of ‘Hopper’ – a Northern Ireland Screen ‘dv8′ short.


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15SFF hits NYC – 1 to 9 November ’08

Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston made quite a splash when he went to New York City (over the week of the Presidential Election) to meet with top film movers and shakers interested in developing / becoming strategic partners with the 15 Second Film Challenge. A video diary and piccies-wiccies will be uploaded early in the New Year.

Clones Film Festival – 22 to 26 October

The sleepy border town of Clones, Co. Monaghan was buzzing with excitement and activity over the bank holiday weekend, as the seventh annual Clones Film Festival kicked into gear and provided the local area with non-stop entertainment for five days. The town was filled with eccentric locals and visitors, (some of whom were of the celebrity variety!) and an atmosphere of laid-back conviviality prevailed.

The 15 Second Film Festival was imaginatively set up by the Clones Festival organisers in the Broom Cupboard in the Lennard Arms Hotel… The 15SFF fans viewed the films from the back of an old motorcycle. Peter was chuffed to bits to be on the Jury judging the documentary entries and the Scanbitz Short Film Competition. There will be a Video Diary posted here as soon as it is edited.

Cork Film Festival – October ’08

On the way back from MIPCOM in Cannes the 15 Second Film Festival flew in to make it’s presence felt at the Cork Film Festival – the Irish home of Short Film. Peter screened the mini-blockbusters on his trusty Apple laptop and four sets of headphones upstairs in the Cork Opera House, the Festival Club. There will be a Video Diary posted here as soon as it is edited.

15SFF at MIPCOM in Cannes – 13 to 17 October ’08

Yes indeedy the 15 Second Film Festival hit the ground running in Cannes with a major Street Marketing / Awareness Campaign at MIPCOM – the global content event for creating, co-producing, buying, selling, financing and distributing entertainment content across all platforms. There will be a Video Diary posted here as soon as it is edited.

‘Induction Week’ @ Queen’s Film Theatre

QUB Induction week‘The Mini Mogul’ Cinema was set up in the Queen’s Film Theatre at 20 University Square, Belfast on Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 September 2008 for Queen’s University’s ‘Induction Week’. Loads of students stopped by and were induced / seduced by its charms and the wonderful 15 Second Film Festival Experience.

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September Progress…

Irish Film BoardAfter a torturous summer, typing with one finger, the 15SFF’s pitch to become the FIRST all-Ireland, Co-Funded, Short Film Production Scheme (EVER) is finally ready and has been submitted to the Irish Film Board. The aim is to make a brand new batch of thirty 15 Second Films to be delivered in January 2009. Northern Ireland Screen has already ring-fenced modest production funds to support and Queen’s University Belfast Film & Visual Studies, Filmbase, the Cork Film Centre, the Galway Film Centre and the Nerve Centre in Derry have agreed to participate. Please transmit your collective positive vibes towards Simon Perry and Fran Keaveney at the Irish Film Board.

MIPCOMWe’re desperately trying to raise funds to go to MIPCOM in Cannes from the 13-17 October 2008. MIPCOM is the global content event for creating, co-producing, buying, selling, financing and distributing entertainment content across all platforms. It provides the key decision-makers in the TV, film, digital and audiovisual content, production and distribution industry with the only market conference and networking forum to discover future trends and trade content rights on a global level.

15SFF Go Dutch

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A 4 minute 55 second Video Diary by Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston on the IBC Conference at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam, Holland – 14 & 15 September 2008. The 15 Second Film Festival Experience team attends… on the coat-tails of Matt Johnston (No Relation and not the tortured genius behind ‘The The’ either…) from The Digital Circle and with mucho-assistos from the InvestNI team.

Thanks to Margaret Blainey, Terry Reilly, Glenn Patterson, Steve Orr from the Northern Ireland Science Park, Colin Williams from Inferno.tv and Norbert Sagnard from www.sagnard.biz. A special thank you goes to John Toland for his continued guidance. Music in the Video Diary: ‘Gwerzy’ by Kila – www.kila.ie



The Flat Lake Festival – August ’08

Flat Lake KidThe 15 Second Film Festival Experience played its part again at this year’s unique and muddy Flat Lake Literary & Arts Festival at Hilton Park, near Clones and proved to be a bigger hit than last year… what with our new films and what not.

Go to www.theflatlakefestival.com to keep a squint out for what’s coming up in the 2009 Festival.

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Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips takes the 15 Second Film CHALLENGE

Flaming LipsDazzling US alt-rock gods The Flaming Lips played the Belsonic Festival in Belfast’s Custom House Square on Monday 11 August to an excited 5,000-capacity crowd.

After the show lead singer Wayne Coyne, always up for a challenge, is schmoozed (in a nice way) by Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston and agrees to enter a “flaming hot” 15 Second Film into our humble Miniature Festival. It might take a while to get here, but we’ll keep you posted on its arrival.



Viral Grand Prix – Edinburgh International Television Festival

Edinburgh TV FestivalREV your ENGINES for the 15 Second Film Festival Experience – Mass Entry into the Viral Grand Prix at the Media Guardian Edinburgh Television Festival.

Yes, a selection of our Mini-Blockbusters have been entered into the ‘Viral Grand Prix’, which runs ahead of this year’s Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival.

The 15 Second Film Festival Experience’s aim is to get as many views of our nine entries as we can before the festival starts on 22 August 2008. We can do whatever we like to drive traffic to the clips, so we’re asking our supporters to get the word out as far and wide (even sneakily) as they can… let’s make this interesting.

The winner is the clip with the most traffic, and will be announced at the internet broadcast panel with Bebo’s Evan Cohen, TV veteran Peter Bazalgette and Adam Buxton, the comic and occasional viral video sensation. And not forgetting Mr Holy Moly himself.

The prize isn’t much other than glory, though there is one of those trophies that no doubt resembles the gold-coloured plastic footballer awards from school days of old… and we want it… BAD

“It’s driving us away from our telly screens and onto our computers. Guerrilla TV has come of age – from have-a-go bedsit enthusiasts to big brands… there’s a new competition in town – winning over traditional viewers with bite-size television.” – MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival – 2008

15SFF Exhibits at Multi Media Mart

Multi Media MartMulti Media Mart NI was a ‘pilot’ trade event in association with Trans that took place at the Oh Yeah Building, Gordon Street in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter on the 31 of July 2008. There were a small number of other exhibitors from the local creative industries who made the effort to support the initiative including 4Talent, Big Gun TV, No More Art and Culture Northern Ireland. It’s sad to say that the event was badly organised and publicised by the Media Mart promoter. Shame really.

Galway Film Fleadh – July ’08

Big Screen Eyre SquareAt this year’s The Galway Film Fleadh Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston screened the new selection of 15 Second Films on his well-worn Mac laptop at the Festival’s “Hangout” the Galway Rowing Club with four sets of headphones.

There was also a 15 Second Film Festival Experience ‘Best Of’ ’06 & ’08 program shown on the Fleadh’s Hi-Tech Eyre Square Open-Air Avcom West BIG Screen (late night) before the new Sigur Rós film ‘Heima‘.

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The Galway Film Fleadh has invited the Art Deco Picture Palace to be a Showcase Event at the 2009 Festival to help them celebrate their 21st Anniversary. Swing by www.galwayfilmfleadh.com to vidé the vibes.

As is the nature of a Captain’s Blog, there’s always room for a bit of muckin’ about… so here’s Mobile Phone footage (shot by Kevin Marron) of Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston getting “Punched full in the face for a Fiver” by Super Fly-Weight Actress, Filmmaker, Stunt Woman and Professional Cheekyboots – Rachel Rath. This may well become a regular feature. Bidding for the next punch will start on E-Bay at a McGiver…



Darklight Film Festival, Dublin – June ’08

DarklightThe Darklight Film Festival is an excellent four-day event celebrating cutting-edge film, animation, art and technology, offering an eclectic series of screenings, seminars, workshops and special events at a series of top Dublin venues.

The Art Deco Picture Palace was showcased at Darklight for the ‘Dublin Premiere’ of our new batch of 15 Second Films. Thanks to the mighty Derek O’Connor the Cinema Booth was displayed in all it’s glory in the wonderful, brand-new, Light House Cinema in Smithfield – Dublin’s up-and-coming media-Quarter.

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Visit www.darklight.ie to suck-up the energy. ‘The Force’ is strong with this one. Video footage and photos will be added to this Blog entry soon.

The Hamburg International Short Film Festival – June ’08

Screening in HamburgThe Hamburg International Short Film Festival has its roots in the independent filmmaking scene. The Festival first took place in 1985 under the title NoBudget, a name which clearly defined the Festival’s mission. In 1994 it received its current name. Since it was founded, it has always been the Festival’s aim to rise to the challenge presented by new developments and changing parameters in technology, society, and aesthetics.

After an introduction from Peter’s long-time Creative Collaborator, Belfast-born Stephen McKee (who lives in Hamburg) to the sweet Alexandra Heneka & rockin’ Axel Behrens from the Hamburg Short Film Festival and Short Film Sales Agency, an invite to attend this high-profile German Festival was proffered at the Cork Film Festival in October ’07.

In June 2008 Peter and his son Christian travelled to the Hamburg International Short Film Festival to screen their new batch of 15 Second Films and forge links with other European Short Filmmakers. They set up their (now famous) Mac laptop, with four sets of headphones, for three nights ’til 5am in the Festival Club – KulturForum, Altona.

The 15 Second Film Festival Experience featuring the Art Deco Picture Palace has been invited to be a Showcase Event at the Hamburg International Short Film Festival in 2009 to help them celebrate their 25th Anniversary. We plan to raise Production Funds to Commission at least two German 15 Second Films to screen at the Event.
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15 Second Film Festival Premiere @ The Belfast Film Festival – April ’08

Belfast_Film_FestThe Belfast Film Festival has been at the forefront in championing cultural film exhibition in Northern Ireland. The festival is now one of the key annual events in the city.
On Sunday April 13 the 15 Second Film Festival Experience had it’s ‘Belfast Premiere‘ on the Big Screen of our new batch of 15 Second Blockbusters at the Queen’s Film Theatre to a sold-out house of invited filmmakers, cineastes and the general public.

£5000 worth of great Software Prizes, courtesy of our Sponsors Adobe, were Awarded to the top three films by our judges for the day – Kevin Jackson (BBC NI), Ken Simpson (Animator from Rogue Rocket) and the majestic Mik Duffy (15 Second Film Festival). First Prize was Awarded to Tim Plester’s Slaphappy – Second Prize was Awarded to Matt Curry’s Any Bread? – Third Prize was Awarded to Graham Cantwell’s One Careful Owner.

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Check out Belfast Film Festival and the wonderful work they do at www.belfastfilmfestival.org

Clones Film Festival – October ’07

Camper VanThe extra-friendly Clones Film Festival in Co. Monaghan offers a packed and varied selection of International Cinema and Animation which will entertain, perplex and confound you.

The 15 Second Film Festival Experience force-fed the local Cinephiles with a preview of the newest, high quality, micro-budget offerings in an unique ‘Micro Cinema’ environment – a beautifully restored 1967 VW Camper Van, converted into a cinema for two. See the 2007 programme.

Video footage and photos will be added to this Blog entry soon. Take a toodle along to www.clonesfilmfestival.com to savour the flavour of the most laid-back Film Festival in Ireland.


Cork Film Festival – October ’07

Cork_Film_FestThe Corona Cork Film Festival is one of Ireland’s premier cultural events and is held in high regard on a local, national and international level. Established in 1956, the festival supports, in particular, the short-film, believing it to be both an art form in its own right and also the medium through which young filmmakers enter the film industry.

Peter set-up and operated Laptop screenings for four people at a time in the Festival Club, upstairs in the Cork Opera House, for four evenings… previewing a sample of the new 15 Second blockbusters to over 400 cinephiles. Go and point you eyeballs at www.corkfilmfest.org – Photos will be added to this Blog entry soon.


The Flat Lake Literary & Arts Festival ’07

Hilton_ParkHilton Park (near Clones) was the sensationally beautiful country woodland estate in County Monaghan in Ireland where, in August 2007, on a ridiculously minute budget, often flying by the seat of their pants, writer Pat McCabe (The Butcher Boy) and Director & Actor Kevin Allen (Twin Town) launched an unforgettably eclectic inaugural Literary & Arts Festival event.

The 15 Second Film Festival Experience played its part and proved to be a top-flight showcase attraction. Go to www.theflatlakefestival.com to book your tickets for the 2008 Festival.

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Galway Film Fleadh – July ’07

The Big LebowskiThe Galway Film Fleadh was again an important networking event for the 15 Second Film Festival Experience. Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston screened the first batch of 15 Second Films on a portable DVD player at the Rowing Club with multiple headphones.

Dawn Morrissey and Peter Flynn from the Boston Irish Film Festival invited the 15 Second Film Festival to showcase at their great yearly event, at our earliest convenience.

Here also Peter was befriended and taken under the wing of the larger-than-life Jeff “The Dude” Dowd. A producer’s rep by trade, Jeff also happens to be the model for ‘The Dude’ in the Coen Brother’s film, The Big Lebowski.

The Dude Loves 15SFFJeff was one of the original founding members of Robert Redford‘s high-profile Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Jeff has offered to lubricate the 15 Second Film Festival’s entry into the States.

Have a goo at www.galwayfilmfleadh.com why don’t-cha. Photos will be added to this Blog entry soon.



Reykjavik, Iceland – Xmas ’06

blue_lagoonAfter meeting Róbert I. Douglas (Eleven Men Out) and Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon (Screaming Masterpiece) at a 4Talent & ‘IdeasFactory’ session in Belfast, Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston and his “Media-Child” son Christian travelled to Reykjavik in Iceland to meet-up and forge links with local Filmmakers and the Iceland Film Centre in the magical “Land of Fire and Ice”.

While there we stayed with artist Systa Asgeirsdottir, and were shown around by super-sweet Filmmaker Ásta Briem and Systa’s son – Actor / Photographer / Filmmaker Damon Younger – Iceland’s answer to Christopher Walken… in my humble opinion.

We met-up with Róbert I. Douglas and Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon and later organised a screening of our 2006 batch of 15 Second Films in Thorvaldsen Bar, attracting a modest clutch of Icelandic media adepts. Photos will be added to this Blog entry soon.

It is hoped that the Art Deco Picture Palace and 15 Second Film Festival Experience will tour Iceland extensively in 2009.


Ink Bytes – 4Talent & IdeasFactory Showcase – October ’06

4TalentIn October 2006, Channel 4 in association with Belfast City Council and Maud Hand (founding editor of IDEASFACTORY Northern Ireland & Multimedia Producer & Trainer) presented INK BYTES, an exhibition of digital and print media from rising Northern Irish Talent including work from participants of the Belfast Masterclass Series.

The 15 Second Film Festival Experience set up a great display in the new and wonderful Black Box Venue in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

The set up was in the Black Box Cafe where we had a huge plush leather sofa and screened our 2006 films on the wall with a decent Projector connected to a Home Cinema DVD Player and Professional Surround Sound System. It was SUPER SWEET.

This is where we met the mega-famous Irish writer Roddy Doyle, who, after seeing our Miniature Cinematic Offerings, agreed to make a 15 Second Film for us. Check out The Future Is Green, the film that his very talented teenage son Jack Doyle and Roddy made for us in the Summer of 2007 in Roddy’s back garden. Photos will be added to this Blog entry soon.

Guide all your senses to the swellegant Black Box Venue where all your wildest dreams and fantasies will become flesh.


Foyle Film Festival, Derry – November ’05

foyleThe Art Deco Picture Palace set up in the foyer of Nerve Centre as part of the Foyle Film Festival in Derry and attracted cineastes from all over the North West of Ireland to experience the old-time cinema feel of the booth and it’s mini-blockbusters.

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Visit www.foylefilmfestival.org and have a squint (hey) at what’s on offer in 2008 – their 21st anniversary.


Galway Film Fleadh – July ’05

galwayThe Galway Film Fleadh attracts anyone with a passion for Film and is renowned for its strong tradition of showcasing the best in new and classic Irish and World Cinema.

In 2005 the 15 Second Film Festival Experience set-up out the back of the Galway Rowing Club the wonderful Fleadh Club.

The Art Deco Picture Palace was one of the highlights of the (su)premium weeklong film event.

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Temple Bar Diversions Festival – June ’05

shimmyThe Temple Bar Diversions Festival is one of Ireland’s leading outdoor summer festivals and the biggest free celebration of arts and culture in Dublin city.

The 15 Second Film Festival Experience was hired-in, through our then Sponsor Stella Artois, for the Launch of the 2005 Festival in Meeting House Square.

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Go to www.templebar.ie to catch up on what’s going on in Temple Bar including the yearly Diversions Festival.

Art Deco Picture Palace Launch – QFT ’05

Biograph Cinema

Peter ‘Magic’ Johnston designed and built the beautifully finished two-seater Art Deco Picture Palace ‘The Mini Mogul’ Cinema with the Right Honorable Philip Jarvis – an expert craftsman and professional set / prop-builder at Ulster Television… ably assisted by a small team of dedicated and multi-talented Umpa Lumpas.

‘The Mini Mogul’ Cinema Booth was Peter’s final end-of-year piece for his ‘BDes’ Degree in Design For Visual Communication at the University of Ulster, Belfast… but for some mysterious reason U.U. “couldn’t accommodate” the Launch of the Picture Palace at the end-of-year Degree Show on their Belfast Campus.

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Thankfully, Queen’s University were kind enough to step in and offered to Showcase the Launch in their superb Arthouse Cinema – The Queen’s Film Theatre, and so began… the ‘Birth Of A Notion’.

It’s worth noting that Peter then went on to do a Masters Degree in Film & Visual Studies at Queen’s University, passing with a Distinction and is currently doing a PhD in Film & Visual Studies there too.

The program on screen at the Launch consisted of a modest, but exciting, selection of 15 Second Films on loan from Elliot Grove’s wonderful Raindance Film Festival in London.

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The sweet and sassy Pamela Ballantine from UTV News interviewed Peter about the 15 Second Film Festival and Art Deco Picture Palace… so she did.