Dublin native and ACORNS alumni Emily O’Callaghan returned to her ancestral home in Achill and decided the island would be just right for a global film festival and so the Achill Island Film Festival was born.
We talk to rural women entrepreneurs from across Ireland who recently took part in the ACORNS programme.
Women in rural Ireland with new businesses or at least with well-developed ideas are being invited to join next phase of the programme ACORNS 8. The ACORNS programme is designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach. Thanks to the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the voluntary contribution of time by Lead Entrepreneurs, there is no charge for those selected to participate.
“The island does not even have a cinema. But I believed it would be a beautiful place for film industry professionals from all over the world to visit, meet and network with each other”
The call is now open for applicants for ACORNS 8 and 50 female entrepreneurs from across the country will be selected to participate. Anyone interested in receiving an application form ahead of the midnight 23 September deadline for ACORNS 8 should register their interest here
Achill Island Film Festival
Emily O’Callaghan, who is originally from Dublin but is now living on Achill Island in Co Mayo, moved west in September 2021, after she decided to combine her love of films, Achill and event organising by starting the Achill Island Film Festival.
Emily had worked in the film industry in various roles for many years, as well as organising events, such as comedy nights, gigs, mini festivals and stages at Electric Picnic.
Her decision to move to her family’s ancestral homeplace of Achill, where she had often holidayed as a child, was prompted by the opportunity she had to think about what she wanted from life during the pandemic, and by a sense that Dublin was becoming more of a rat race.
A keen fan of film festivals, Emily saw a gap in the market as there was no existing film festival in Achill.
“Indeed, the island does not even have a cinema. But I believed it would be a beautiful place for film industry professionals from all over the world to visit, meet and network with each other.”
After a hectic year of planning, the inaugural Achill Island Film Festival was held in May 2022. 370 people attended the event, which screened 115 films across five venues. Plans are already underway for next year’s event, and Emily, who works from home, is hoping to get office space and hire a production assistant for next year.
“The festival simply would not have been the success it was without the support and structure provided by ACORNS, which helped me to prepare, focus and share my worries.”