Mining script

Glengormley’s teenager screenplay selected by British Film Institute to hit big screen this summer

An aspiring filmmaker from Co Antrim will see her script go from the page to the big screen this summer after having her work selected by the British Film Institute.



Zoe Magee, 17, from Glengormley


© Glengormley Secondary School
Zoe Magee, 17, from Glengormley

Zoe Magee is currently studying her A-Levels at Glengormley High School and is already making a name for herself in the fledgling Northern Irish film industry after a screenplay she wrote was selected to be made into a short film.

The 17-year-old Head Warden who is working on her degrees in Media Studies, Business Studies and English Literature will have the opportunity to showcase her work at a Belfast cinema later this year.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Zoe said: “I was just looking for film lessons to do for university and saw that the British Film Institute (BFI) was doing a film course so I applied for this – I had to do an interview and I came back to.

“They asked the band members to write a script and the one they liked best was chosen and mine was chosen.

“From there we went to Lorne House in Holywood and filmed it and it will be shown at the Oydessey for one day in May.”

Zoe was one of ten people selected for the course and was the only student to have her work chosen to be made into a short film.

“The script brief for everyone was based on something personal and the only thing I knew at that point that was really personal to me was heartbreak.

“My film is about grieving and trying to accept that someone is gone and I think it was so fitting for the record and emotionally connected that they chose it,” she explained. .

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Zoe said it was “crazy” to see words she wrote from her own experience go from script to screen.

“It’s so weird because I’ve never even written a screenplay before and when we were asked to do it I had to watch Youtube videos on how to write one and it was just crazy to see the actors say the lines that I had written – it was just crazy, a good crazy,” she laughed.

“There were other people on the course and if they weren’t chosen for the script they could apply to be like the director, so I was able to come down and have my creative input and they let me go. have a lot to say if the movie was going my way.

“It was my first time on a film set, so it was also a really good experience, so if I want to go down that road of screenwriting and filmmaking. I had so much fun at meeting new people and learning new things being on set and I feel like I have a lot of new ideas as well.”

The teenager says the whole experience “doesn’t feel real” and the thrill of having her work chosen by such a prestigious institution won’t be felt until she watches the finished product on the big screen.

She added: “I’m really excited to have all my family coming to see it – I’m nervous but also excited to see it and after seeing it filmed, to see how it all comes together.

“I’m going to take a gap year next year and then apply to be a runner for different TV shows or films shot here because the film industry in Northern Ireland is growing so much there will be plenty of opportunities for young filmmakers and people who want to get into it.

“Hopefully after that maybe I’ll go to Ulster University to study film arts.”

Louise Fox is a head teacher at Glengormley Secondary School and shared how proud the whole school community is of Zoe and her achievement.

She said: “We are very proud of Zoe at school. She actually tried to keep it quiet for a while until I found out.

“She always had a flair for writing and I was her English teacher for four years and she was always a natural – she had such originality with her ideas and was very emotional so it wasn’t a surprise that this transferred into his screenwriting.

“She is also on track to achieve great results in her media studies, as she has always had this interest in the field. So we are very lucky and privileged to have her within the secondary school. Glengormley. She’s always been a big part of the school community too.”