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Lifford woman to judge international film festival

A Lifford woman will be among the panel of judges at a prestigious international film festival being held in Portugal later this year.

Actress Cheryl Rock will sift through the hundreds of entries submitted to the Art and Tur International Tourism Film Festival before travelling to Torres Vedras in October along with the rest of the judges to select an overall winner.

For 30 years the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals (CIFFT) has been providing a platform to those wishing to promote a location through the medium of video. From a single festival in 1989 it has expanded to 18 countries – the CIFFT Grand Prix Circuit.

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The global competition is open to any kind of audio-visual communication, from promotional films to social media shorts to advertising campaigns, travel videos, documentaries and reports.

CIFFT’s work dovetails perfectly with what Cheryl Rock has been doing in recent years. Through a number of projects the young actress has been directing her considerable media skills and acting experience into promoting Donegal.

In 2017 she spearheaded a project titled ‘Reconnect With Your Wild’ aimed at showcasing the county to a global audience. As part of the tourism video award-winning film-maker Nick Kontostavlakis spent several days in Ireland exploring Donegal’s wilderness and micro-climates.

Due to time and logistic constraints, Reconnect With Your Wild eventually had to be put on the back-burner while those involved considered their next move.

It was during the time-out that Cheryl Rock decided to get in touch with the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals.

“After Reconnect With Your Wild I took some time to think about what the next step could be and it felt natural to look into an Irish version of a travel and tourism festival,” the Lifford woman explained.

“I think travel and tourism is something we all have an interest in, whether that is at home or abroad and Ireland has such a strong audio-visual and tourism sector that it just made sense to enquire.”

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Miss Rock managed to get a meeting with CIFFT’s General Secretary Hugo Marcos who immediately recognised her passion for tourism promotion from behind the lens.

He invited her to the Torres Travel and Film Festival to meet with film-makers and international tourism professionals.

That led to an introduction to CIFFT’s Director Alexander K Kammel before Francisco Dias, Director of the Art and Tur International Tourism Film Festival being held in Portugal, offered her a place on the judging panel.

“With so many people having a stake in tourism and audio-visual work, credibility becomes vital and particularly when developing an economy for it,” Cheryl Rock said.

“CIFFT offers credibility along with an international platform for film-makers who specialise in tourism products and places. The committee is really beginning to develop as audio-visual becomes increasingly important.

“I am watching films from all over the world right now and I ask myself one question – does this make me want to go there?”

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