Dublin Smartphone Film Festival: ‘We don’t need expensive cameras, just a good story and creativity’

The Dublin Smartphone Film Festival returns to Dublin on June 3 in the Mart Gallery and Rathmines Omniplex

Amy Donohoe

A Dublin film creator believes people don’t need the most expensive cameras to create a good movie, they just need a good story and creativity.

Jose Leonardo arrived in Ireland nearly four years ago without a word of English. After finishing a language course, he decided to follow his dream of studying Film and Creative Media.

He created a film this year during his final year of studying Film and Creative Media in Dublin Business School.

The film is called ‘Behind My Drag Queen’ and follows the story of Chantelle Perez, a Brazilian drag queen who discovered a new way to live life in Ireland.

It will be showing as part of the Dublin Smartphone Film Festival on June 3.

“The short film was made with a smartphone. It’s about the story of my friend Enisio,” Jose said.

“He’s been performing as a drag queen. He grew up in Brazil, in a church environment where he couldn’t be himself.

“But he moved over to Ireland to start a new life. He started a self-discovery journey. The first time he did drag here was the first time he dressed up as drag. He enjoyed the freedom.

“He’s able to walk on the street here and have a face of make-up. He started to feel at home here.

“Drag completely changed his life, it became his main job and he got to travel all around Europe.

“We always know where to go for a drag queen show, but we never know the story behind the drag queen.”

Behind My Drag Queen follows Chantelle Perez, a Brazilian drag queen living in Ireland

Enisios story struck deep chords for Jose, as someone who is also part of the Brazilian community living away from their home country.

“This story symbolises a journey of determination and self-discovery, which I want to share with all nationalities,” Jose said.

“Being able to shoot this short film on my smartphone showed me the importance of telling stories is not about having an expensive camera … but to start capturing the stories and work with what we have.

“I’m very proud of this. To be able to do it and to have a great outcome with a smartphone, it makes me realise that we just need a good story and to be creative.”

The Dublin Smartphone Film Festival returns on June 3 with a mix of shorts, features and workshops. It will take place in the Mart Gallery and Rathmines Omniplex.

Festival Director Robert Fitzhugh said: “We just could not believe the success of the festival in the past five years. We sell out each year before the doors even open.

“The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have brought about an incredible period of creativity with people forced to use the tools they have at their disposal to tell stories.

“There has never been a more interesting time to explore Smartphone filmmaking.

“This is what the Dublin Smartphone Film Festival is here to do; to encourage the next generation of filmmakers to create their stories using their phones and to provide them with the widest possible platform to present these stories to a wider audience.”

For more information visit www.dublinsmartphonefilmfestival.com

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