Graduate short film selected for international festivals

14 July, 2021

A short docufilm by a Screen and Film School Brighton alumna has been selected by several independent film festivals from here in the UK all the way to Canada 

The film, entitled ‘A Community, Fighting’, was made by young cinematographer Zoë Fitzpatrick and depicts a twenty-year legal battle between her hometown community’s opposition to construction plans for a hazardous waste incinerator to be built in Ringaskiddy, Country Cork, Ireland.      

Zoë’s powerful film features archive footage of protest marches which she took part in from the age of seven. The short highlights the negative effects the proposed development would create for the health and well-being of the local population, the surrounding area and the native wildlife.     

A Community, Fighting was released online in April 2020 through CHASE (the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment), and has since been selected by six international film festivals, including:    

  • Toronto International Women Film Festival – Selected – Environmental Category
  • Toronto Indie Night – Selected
  • Film In Focus – Selected –  Short Documentary
  • Best Shorts Competition – Award of Recognition
  • Last Shot Film Festival – Selected – Documentary Category
  • Art Film Awards – Honourable Mention
  • Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival – Finalist


A Community Fighting poster

Screen and Film School Brighton caught up with the young filmmaker to discuss how it felt to receive her first festival shortlisting as well as to discover how the legal battle is progressing for her hometown community.    

Hi Zoë . With the creation of your film, how did it feel to add your own narrative to a cause that hits so close to home for you? 

It felt like a bit of a full circle moment. I think the fact that this fight began when I was a child – and is still going when I’m old enough to add my narrative – is emotional in itself. No one thought it would still be happening at this stage.  

I’ve tried to reflect the community’s experience through carefully chosen words and endless shots of people walking. I hope I’ve brought it back to how most involved feel about the passage of time and the endless battle they’ve been fighting. I also included a shot of myself as a child. This was a bit of an “easter egg” for me but throughout the rest of the film I really tried to reflect those who have given so much of their time. 

This fight has been going on for many years. Can you update us on the current state of play in CHASE’s campaign against the incinerator? 

Right now, it’s a waiting game – after a successful ruling of bias at the high court earlier this year, a high court decision is due later this summer which will determine whether the application is quashed completely or put back into an earlier stage in the process. 

What was it like going through all the archive footage to create the film?  

The first thing I got access to was drone footage of the fire in January; when I got that I immediately knew I had something powerful. Collecting the older footage took a little bit of digging around and seeing who had what. Going through the footage was a strange experience. I came across some cobwebs where I appeared in some clips as a child, events I didn’t realise I remembered – this also really put the time scale in perspective considering it’s still going.   

What’s it been like to see the film gaining international recognition? 

It’s been really nice – firstly because I was in my room editing for three months through lockdown, so to have it travelling the world makes it feel like the work was worth it. More importantly though, I think it’s powerful to see local issues like this mentioned on an international level. I’ve come into contact with other communities facing similar issues and being able to discuss the issue in a wider way is rewarding for me but also valuable for an issue like this. 

You previously described this documentary-short as a ‘lock-down baby’ – something to busy yourself with when other work was less available. After the success of this film do you think you’ll do any more docu-shorts? 

I would love to. I’ve seen a huge appetite for this type of thing. I think people are genuinely trying to become more aware. Having seen the depth of the footage already existing for CHASE and scratched the surface of examining the story as a filmmaker, I would love to see it into a feature length documentary in the future. Making this short was really eye opening in terms of the larger possibilities! 

A huge congratulations to Zoë on the success of her powerful film! You can watch A Community, Fighting here.


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