Giffoni Experience Blog: Comhghal Ó Cofaigh Byrne, Generator 13+ Programme

Read Comhghal's experience of his trip to Giffoni Experience Film Festival

Tell us about your host family, the people you have met so far and the different countries you have encountered here in Giffoni:

On my first day here in Giffoni I was welcomed by my host mother Anna Maria and her son Emanuella at Salerno Hotel. Emanuella was my host juror’s little brother. Matteo was my host Italian juror and he was 14 years old. They were all very welcoming and if I were ever sitting at the table there would always be food in front of me. This was not a great thing but wasn’t such a bad thing either because the food that Anna Maria prepared was ‘benissimo’.

Matteo’s father was the owner of a beach/bar and on my second day in Italy we went for a swim on the beach in which I met many of his friends, Antonio, Eduardo and Carmelita. They were all very nice and we played a few games of UNO.

The closest friends I made were with four Italians [Giorgio, Marcello, Pietro and Simone] and with a guy from New York named John Albertelli. Most of my time in Giffoni was either spent playing football in a pitch or in the town with John and an Irish juror named Cai.

Tell us about the Irish delegation and what it’s like to experience a film festival abroad:

I was extremely lucky to have a chaperone such as Sarah Ahern because she was constantly looking out for us. She even bought me a cake for my birthday and brought the entire Irish group to the Amalfi coast for a day.

I was very close with the other Irish juror in my age group, his name was Cai and we spent most of our down time together.

It was strange at first to be independent in another country but it turned out to be even more enjoyable than one would think. The language barrier was difficult but thankfully many people had fantastic English, even when I couldn’t understand what Italian people were saying it helped with all the sports and activities available to us, to bond with other people.

What have been your favourite films so far and why;

I enjoyed most of the films in +13 category but the film ‘The Bachelors’ directed by Kurt Voelker was by far my favourite and the majority of the +13 jurors agreed. The film showed us the aftermath of the death of a loved one and gave us two different insights as to what the husband of this loved one felt and also the son and what was going through his mind. I enjoyed the film because there was conflict and complication throughout and both main characters struggle to resolve this in the story provided.

Another excellent film was the Russian film ‘Good Boy’. This film tells the story of a young man and his struggle to live a normal life in school. I found this very entertaining as it was hilarious it showed complexity of family, love and friendship.

(Above: Still from the film "Good Boy")

Have you met any filmmakers and is there anyone in particular that you enjoyed meeting?

It was great to meet Bryan Cranston, he was funny, intelligent and always tried to pay attention to everyone. I am a very big fan because of his shows Malcom in the Middle and Breaking Bad and I also read his book ‘A Life in Parts’. He seemed very kind and it always looked like he really wanted to be in Giffoni.

Is there a particular memory or experience that you will remember?

A great memory for me was the colour disco in the Giffoni town square in which my friends and I had an amazing time. The mix of music, colour and friends was just and incredible experience and the film festival itself was too.

-Comhghal Ó Cofaigh Byrne, Irish Juror, Generator 13+