The Digital Hub supports young filmmakers with screening of short film at Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival

Screen 8, an out of school programme for young people aged 15-17 from Dublin 8 and its surrounds, will screen its newest movie The Debs Debacle on March 3rd 2021 as part of this year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. Screen 8, which is a collaboration between The Digital Hub and the VMDIFF, gives young filmmakers hands-on experience of making movies.

Production was carried out despite the impact of Covid-19 with initial work taking place in spring 2020, and the film was wrapped up over 14 weeks in the winter of 2020. Screen 8 switched to an online format, using weekly Zoom calls for all planning, casting and scriptwriting activities. Filming was carried out at St. Andrew’s Resource Centre in Rialto, across two weekends in December 2020.

Screen 8 was led this year by Helen Flanagan, an award-winning filmmaker who has had numerous short films commissioned for RTE, TG4 and several film festivals. The Debs Debacle follows four frenemies who are forced to overcome their differences and work together to organise their school Debs. The Debs Debacle is set in the current world of Covid-19 and reflects their doubts and disappointments that come along with being a teenager during a pandemic. The short film addresses the themes of friendship, self-esteem, and mental health.

Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO of The Digital Hub, said:

“The Digital Hub has a longstanding commitment to the arts, and Screen 8 is a brilliant and interactive programme which introduces young people in our neighbourhood to filmmaking. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, these young filmmakers delivered an imaginative world premiere – The Debs Debacle – and I look forward to its first screening and hope to see these young people involved in the Irish film industry in the years to come.”

Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, said:

“Covid-19 has presented challenges to all of our participants for this year, but especially so for the Screen 8 participants who are juggling home schooling, missing their friends and all of the pressures which lockdown places on young people. The theme of the debs is a fitting one, and something which was relatable to all of our cast and crew throughout the Screen 8 project.”

Caroline Joyce, who plays Mia in The Debs Debacle, said:

“Screen 8 was a great way to take our minds off all of the other things going on, while learning about how films get put together. Having to do it over Zoom was tough, but it was great to get together safely in December to actually do the filming. The film tells stories around confidence and mental health, which many other young people experience each day, so it was important to get our own messages across when we were writing and filming.”

The Debs Debacle is part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival’s Young People’s Short Film Programme, which will be available online on March 3rd, 2021. See for more details on pre-booking tickets.

About The Digital Hub

The Digital Hub is the largest cluster of digital companies in Ireland and its resident Irish and international companies are at the forefront of software development, content creation and technology services. Since 2003 hundreds of companies have progressed through its enterprise cluster and have gone on to create thousands of jobs in the Irish digital economy. Among its alumni are household names, including Slack, Stripe Amazon, Distilled Media Group (, Havok, Kavaleer, Square1 and Lincor.

About Screen 8

Screen8 was launched in 2018 with the objective of offering 18 young people from inner-city Dublin the chance to work together on a short film alongside a mentor. It is a free out-of-school programme run by Virgin Media DIFF and The Digital Hub. Designed to give young people of all backgrounds the confidence and skills to pursue a career in the film industry, the first year of the programme was a tremendous success, and several of the participants travelled to Italy as members of the Children’s Jury for the Giffoni Film Festival 2019.