Irish tech journalist wins ‘Best Foreign Film’ in US movie competition

5 Sep 2011

An Irish technology journalist has put years of testing video hardware to good use by writing and directing his first short film which has just won the “Best Foreign Film Award” at the prestigious Action/Cut Short Film competition in Los Angeles.

“I’m a huge film fan and have written loads of scripts unseen by millions,” said Ian Campbell, freelance journalist, first-time director and former editor here at

Nothing Nowhere is a supernatural thriller, shot entirely on location in Bray, Co Wicklow. It stars Patrick Dunne and Nigel McGuinness in the leads, two actors Campbell had seen on stage in a local Bray production of an Arthur Miller play.

“This whole project was inspired by the availability of increasingly accessible equipment that opens up filmmaking to a much wider community. Anyone can have a go, which is precisely what I did.”

The film was made on a shoestring budget, begging and borrowing the equipment, and searching out a cast and crew who were prepared to work for nothing. A number of equipment manufacturers came on board and loaned the kit that was used to make the film.

The film was shot on two Canon XH A1 professional camcorders. Film Equipment Hire Ireland supplied the “Fig Rig” camera supports that give the film its distinct handheld feel.

For his next short, which is already in pre-production, he plans to shoot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The camera has attracted the attention of the low-budget filmmaking community because of its full-frame sensor that emulates the look of 35mm film.

Action/Cut is described by MovieMaker magazine in the US as one of the top 10 short film competitions in the world for filmmakers looking to showcase their talents. It typically attracts more than 1,000 entries with winning directors given introductions to Hollywood players, as well as cash prizes.

“The only reason we were able to compete in such a prestigious competition is because of the kit at our disposal and the talent I managed to assemble for the production. I came across some fabulous actors and a crew that was a lot more experienced than me,” said Campbell.

Photo: Nothing Nowhere actor Patrick Dunne

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years