Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Belfast graduate to show film at Sundance Film Festival

At the young age of 26, Queen’s University graduate Connor Clements is to be the first Northern Irish film-maker to have his work shown at the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival.

The writer, director and producer from Scarva will run shoulders with Hollywood royalty when he jets off to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah where his 17 minute film will be shown.

His short film, James, beat 6,000 other entries to be one of just 22 shorts selected for the International Dramatic Competition.

It has also been selected for the Sundance 10/10 — an exclusive selection of 10 short films available to download from iTunes during the festival (January 15-25).

As the director of a film being shown at the festival, Connor, along with the other film-makers, has been invited to a gala dinner with Robert Redford.

Being shown at Sundance is one of the highest accolades available for a short film

Connor wrote and directed James as part of his Queen’s Master’s degree course. The film follows a teenage boy as he struggles to come to terms with his sexuality. It features Niall Wright in the title role, who starred in Mickeybo and Me, another Ulster film screened at Sundance.

The Co Down film-maker, who will present his film at the festival, has already received acclaim for his work.

James was selected for the Short Film Corner at last year's Cannes Film Festival and won a series of awards in 2008, including Best Northern Irish Short at the Belfast Film Festival, The Irish Prize for Best UK Short, and Best International Short at the St Louis International Film Festival.

Connor said: “Being shown at Sundance is one of the highest accolades available for a short film and it's a real honour for any aspiring film-maker to be part of this high-profile event. I hope it won't be the last time one of my films is shown on such a prominent stage.”

Professor David Johnston, head of the School of Languages, Literature and Performing Arts at Queen's, said: “We are all very proud of Connor's achievements and congratulate him on his Sundance debut. His success is a tribute to the quality of the work produced by Film Studies at Queen's.

“This degree aims to give our students a flying start in the film, television and media industries, and it is wonderful to see Connor flying so high.”

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