Young in years, but wise in words, filmmaker Michael Antonio Keane is a Cork character worth seeking out to discuss.
The half-Spanish, half-Irish young man completed his Leaving Certificate this summer and is aiming for a few years of living, studying and working in the big smoke.
“The pressure was mental,” 18-year-old Michael said of the Leaving Certificate. “I’m happy to have him behind me now. I am very excited about moving to Dublin. I’m a little anxious, but it’s good to take risks.
Michael said the worst part of the exams was beginning.
“The anticipation was worse than the tests! I had so many doubts, but as I filled them in, I became more and more confident as the weeks passed.
Directing films since the age of 18, Michael has a perfect command of filming, directing and editing.
“It’s hard, with school and homework, but I really like it.”
Making waves during lockdown, Michael’s Covid Eire the video went viral. The short story centers on a young Irishman with coronavirus who reflects on how life has changed drastically and quickly due to the pandemic.
The video has garnered 4 million views on TikTok and over 100,000 views on YouTube. Overnight, Michael was on TV and radio discussing his film.
“I love working with cinema, it’s my passion, I find it very rewarding.”
In Covid Eire, Michael said he wanted to share the message on how young people are dealing with the pandemic and highlight the hardships for them.
“It was a tough movie to make, I wanted to address isolation and loneliness,” Michael said. Michael won three major awards including the Spirit Award for his performance in the Amazon Prime drama at the IndieCork Film Festival in 2020.
Michael said he has grown a lot over the past few years, maturing in the limelight his filmmaking has brought him.
One of the things he tries to leave in the past is overthinking decisions.
“I regret thinking too much when I was younger, I wish I hadn’t let people put me off. Making movies, on my own, there’s not a lot of support, but I’ve learned to remain independent.
Continuing Michael’s philosophy of life, the young filmmaker said a big lesson is not to take constructive criticism personally.
“I will never be a professional or an expert, I will always learn and improve all the time.”
Michael said he enjoys trying new things and pushing himself to overcome challenges, but is humble despite his charisma.
“I think a character is someone who has insight and is generous with their time or advice or wisdom,” Michael said. “Someone who is able to open up and share is very attractive, I think.”
Besides making movies, Michael likes to stay in shape by running a few times a week.
“I love it, it clears my head. Living in Cobh, there are lots of hills and that makes it interesting.
Thanks to his mother’s Spanish blood, Michael is also fluent in Spanish and speaks it daily. “I passed the Spanish test for the Leaving Certificate. It wasn’t one of my subjects, but it was an easy subject for me. I didn’t have to study it.
Michael is going to relax and enjoy another summer in Cork.
“I’m going to do a short film or two, but mostly I’m going to relax and take a break.”
Offering advice to anyone who might be interested in something but scared to try, Michael was encouraging.
“Do it, don’t overthink it, take the risk.”