Two Suitcases Project

Two Suitcases Project, IMMA, 2015. Photo credit: Joanne Dunne.

Two Suitcases is an award-winning film project for teenagers living with chronic illness. Running since 2012, teenagers collaborate with professional artists on developing and making their own films. In 2017, we partnered for a fourth year with CanTeen Ireland, the nationwide support organisation for young people with experience of cancer, and embarked on a national film project with Epilepsy Ireland. In December 2017, we will be hosting a film workshop for teenagers with diabetes in partnership with Diabetes Ireland.

‘By doing this I’ve found it very enjoyable cos I was able to learn some different things which I hadn’t learned before such as how I can make films, what equipment you need to use and also how I can actually just improve on making friends. And I have to say by doing of all that I actually feel that by today it’s just gotten to be great.’ – Participant on Our Lives with Epilepsy project 

Our Lives with Epilepsy
Seizure the Day is a short fictional film arising from our partnership with Epilepsy Ireland. The film was created by young people with epilepsy and inspired by their experiences. The project included a series of regional workshops and a summer film camp at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Participants, families and friends joined us for the premiere at the Irish Film Institute in October 2017.

CanTeen Superheroes 
2017 was a fantastic year of creative exploration and experimentation with CanTeen Ireland. In April, we hosted Planet of the Capes, a superhero-themed film and music showcase, at The Sugar Club in Dublin. The event featured a series of collaborative artworks by CanTeen members, Two Suitcases artists and musician and composer Sean Carpio, together with interactive experiences for the audience. We also began a new project built around music and are looking forward to our music and film camp in 2018! Check out The Soothsayers (Sean Carpio and CanTeen) performing their Sounds of Superpowers live at The Sugar Club.

Doing the project was really good because it made us feel normal, not sick kids having a little bit of fun. It felt like us teenagers are in control of what we want to come up with.’ – Participant from CanTeen Ireland

‘The Two Suitcases project does what art should: it directly impacts on people’s lives. As a child and teenager growing up with a severe illness, Fanconi anaemia, I turned to creative pursuits to both take my mind off my suffering and express what I was going through. Creativity is vital to young people in general, but particularly for those dealing with illness.’ 
Artist Mentor Ben Murnane

Lisa flying_lower res

The pilot film, Two Suitcases, was based on the memoir of Ben Murnane. The name for the film and the project comes from a saying that a nurse in Crumlin Hospital used to tell Ben: ‘When you go into hospital, you take two suitcases with you; one to carry your clothes and another to pack away your dignity.’


*2014 Allianz Business to Arts Awards: Highly Commended, Allianz Community Art Prize
*2014 Fastnet Film Festival: Nominated for “Best in Cork”
*2013 REC International Youth Film Festival, Berlin: Highly Commended
*2012 Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival: Best Film (Under 18s)
*2012 First Cut! Youth Film Festival: Best Film

It treats its sensitive subject with great humour and visual imagination, resulting in a film that is genuinely life affirming without ever being sentimental.’ – Jury of professional filmmakers on awarding Two Suitcases Best Film 2012 at First Cut! Youth Film Festival

Follow all the films on our Two Suitcases YouTube channel:

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