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Mrs Helen Prout

I’m delighted to be present at the launch of the 29th Cork Youth International Film & Video Festival and I am very pleased to be in my good friends company again.  This Launch facilitates our recognition of decades of achievement in film and youth filmmaking by Helen Prout.

Earlier this year Helen received a civic award from my predecessor – Cllr.Donal Counihan in recognition of her singular contribution to the encouragement and promotion of the art of film making among young people.

Helen was presented with the Cork Person of the Month award in November 2006, to mark her work in film with young people for more than 25 years.

She established the Cork Youth International Film, Video and Arts Festival in 1980 and has spent her life voluntarily teaching thousands of young people about film and the arts in workshops all over Cork.

Helen went to school in Killusty married Chris Prout from Killusty in 1947 and later moved to Cork. Helen’s interest in film began at the age of 16, when her parents gave her an old clockwork movie camera as a present.

But it was not until 1972, at the age of 42 when her 13 children had been raised, that Helen submitted two entries in an amateur film competition; The Cork Camera House Competition.
Both of her entries — a documentary about schoolchildren and a film called Fluffy’s Adventure took first place. Fluffy’s Adventure went on to win first place in The Carlow Film Festival, the Irish Film Institute’s Agfa Film Trophy Award as well as various awards in England, Belgium and New Zealand.
But far from seeking further glory in the world of amateur film, Helen’s thoughts were of others. Helen was acutely aware that there was an important gap in filmmaking.
She observed there were no young people involved.  Helen felt Festivals and those involved in the medium didn’t make film-making simple.

And so, the Cork Youth Film Group, later to become the Cork Youth Film, Video and Arts Group, was born beginning with a film workshop for ten year olds in Gurranabraher.

In 1980, she held the first Youth Film Festival in the Country – The Cork Youth International Film Festival. From there, the interest kept growing. The Festival now enjoys national and international interest. 
The main aim of the Festival is

  1. To make the art of film-making available to the local community.
  2. To Provide the opportunity
    to develop talent and skills through access
    to specialist equipment and facilities and
  3. To provide the platform to display those talents. 

The Group and the Festival focus on fostering the imaginations of young people and children in the basic building blocks of film-making with supplementary competitions in other areas including painting, poetry, posters, storyboard and scripts. 

In 1986, Helen became the President of the International Association of Amateur Film and Video Film Festival and was involved in festivals in 40 countries. Her last Cork Festival was in 2005.The festival is now run by the Cork City Learning Support Group.

Helen, this is a gathering of your friends, admirers and those you have influenced over the years. We come together to night to launch the 29th Cork Youth International Film & Video Festival and in so doing we recognize your achievements and to say a big thank you. 

Councillor Brian Bermingham Lord Mayor