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Busting myths with CanTeen Ireland on the Two Suitcases film project

This year Helium worked on a new phase of the Two Suitcases film project with CanTeen Ireland, the national agency supporting teens affected by cancer. Over the summer, we collaborated on a series of workshops and a film camp busting myths about young people with cancer. The project was led by collaborative artist Siobhan Clancy with Alan Brennan (film mentor), Ben Murnane (script mentor) and Chris Collins (acting mentor).

May: Introductory workshop: A little invention goes a long way 

CanTeen members took part in an introductory workshop in May at the Carmichael Centre in Dublin. The teens devised and shot scenes that were then watched in reverse. This was a fun way to introduce filmmaking skills and a teamwork approach, with some groups composing “gravity-defying” shots using various objects and others storyboarding whole scenes.

Shoot out banana-style on our intro workshop

Shoot out banana-style on our intro workshop

A little experimentation … hair styling gets the reverse camera trick treatment

June: Taster workshop: Go Copter Cam Go! 

On our taster workshop at Tanagh Outdoor Education Centre, Monaghan, in June we introduced the mythbusting theme. CanTeen members from across Ireland created short scenes busting perceptions of young people with cancer and of young people in general. Highlights of the day were aerial filmmaking with Bartley McFadden and creating action shots with go-pro cameras.

CanTeen taster workshop June 2014

The Joker has a new gig … Compere for CanTeen TV

Kyle gets into Joker mode

Kyle gets into Joker mode

Bird's eye view from the copter cam

Bird’s eye view from the copter cam














Myth: We need to be wrapped in cotton wool

Myth: We need to be wrapped in cotton wool [film still]

Busted: Look at how we role

Busted: Look at how we role [film still]





August: Summer film camp at IMMA

At our film camp in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, CanTeen members built on their mythbusting ideas to plan, storyboard, improvise and then film a series of sketches on the following myths: chemotherapy patients always lose their hair, teens with cancer can’t take part in adventure activities, & cancer is a death sentence.

The humour the teenagers brought to the experience and their own stories is very significant – in the end they made serious work but through humorous processes.” – Siobhan Clancy, Lead Artist

Film still from myth: 'cancer patients always lose their hair'

Storyboarding through table top animations

CanTeen members Aoife Bass and Kyle Haugh rehearse a scene at the Helium Arts film camp, IMMA, August 2014. Photo credit Joanne Dunne.







There were workshops on story development using table-top animations, character development vis-a-vis character “hot-seating”, and technical film skills. The latter included the first use of a dolly and tracks on the project, enabling the new technical roles of grip and best boy. Participant roles during film production included script-writing, direction, acting, camera operation, lighting, grip work, sound recording, art department and animation.

Film mentor Alan Brennan and CanTeen member Lisa Comer at the Helium Arts film camp, IMMA, August 2014. Photo credit Joanne Dunne.CanTeen members Colin Holden and Dylan Joynt with CanTeen volunteer leader Liam Quinn at the Helium Arts film camp, IMMA, August 2014. Photo credit Joanne Dunne.

CanTeen member Colin Pauloin-Valory shoots behind-the-scenes during our freeze frame workshop







It felt good watching it back because I knew I did that and I was part of it.
– 13 year old girl on working as a camera operator

To draw out skills [the young people] might not have known they had themselves was great … there’s a lot of team skills involved [in filmmaking] and watching them work together as a team was fantastic.” – Liam Quinn, CanTeen chairperson and volunteer leader

CanTeen member Alannah Kelly listens back to the sound, Helium Arts film camp, IMMA, August 2014. Photo credit Joanne Dunne.

Helium Arts film camp 2014

Colm Mooney from CanTeen shoots behind the scenes footage at the Helium Arts film camp, IMMA, August 2014. Photo credit Joanne Dunne.







Want a little flavour of what happened on the film camp? The Irish Independent came down to IMMA and shot a little behind-the-scenes film. You can read the accompanying article here.

The finished film will be shown at Helium’s annual film screening in Easter 2015. Many thanks to the young people who took part, CanTeen Group Co-Ordinator Evelyn Griffin and all the CanTeen volunteers.

The Two Suitcases project 2014 is produced by Helium Arts in partnership with CanTeen Ireland and in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The project is funded by The Arts Council, Dublin City Council Arts Office, the International Charity Bazaar Dublin and the Loreto Foundation Fund. The project is further supported by a donation from Martin Moore. 

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