Young Guns 18: Fenn O’Meally

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 18, 2020

Highlighting the creative superstars that make up the class of Young Guns 18

2020 has been one rollercoaster of a year, but fortunately, the spirit of creativity can't be dampened. Want proof? Check out the winners of Young Guns 18!

Beginning with our largest and most diverse jury in history, acclaimed creatives from across the globe spent three months reviewing hundreds of submissions from insanely talented young professionals seeking validation for all of their hard work. After narrowing down the field to 83 top-notch finalists, the jury engaged in virtual discussion and debate, deciding who will win one of the most career-impacting honors in our industry.

In the end, we are honored to present the 31 incredible winners of Young Guns 18, a diverse collection of artists, filmmakers, animators, designers, illustrators, and others, all of them representing some of the very best that their fields have to offer.

We invite you to learn about all 31 Young Guns 18 winners in this series of interviews.







When did Young Guns first pop up on your radar?

I found out about it last year through my agency.

Congrats on winning on your first attempt! What made you enter this year?

I was just interested to see how I would do.

Young Guns is as much an exercise in self-curation as it is in sheer creative talent. After all, you are only allowed to submit six projects. How did you go about deciding which pieces to submit and which to leave out?

I guess I wanted to show my ability to tell honest authentic stories.

What went through your mind when you discovered that you won, knowing how difficult it is to make it into Young Guns?

Wow, I really didn’t expect it.

If you had to pick one of the six projects that you entered as your favorite, which one would it be and why?

JNR Williams - as a kid I rarely saw many black faces on screen - faces that looked like mine. That video was a celebration of black culture and beauty and the power of black community.

If you had to describe your creative style, the part of your work that’s most distinctively “you”, what would it be?

I think my style is authentic story telling - I want the audience to feel as though they are in the room with the subject.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career, people who may have had a hand in mentoring and supporting you?

Spike Lee is a massive influence and getting the opportunity to shoot with him was so humbling.

Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

Definitely, rubberband. (YG18).

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a pretty crazy year, with a global pandemic and social upheaval shaping so many facets of our lives. Aside from the positive news of winning Young Guns, how has this year been for you?

It’s been amazing. I’ve grown more than ever and I realized the more you push yourself and challenge yourself, the stronger and more confident your directorial voice becomes.

Name a creative/professional dream that you have yet to fulfill — hey, maybe Young Guns can help propel you in that direction!

To write and shoot my first feature film - I know the story I’ve just not set aside the time to write it yet! Tell a story on twenty-first century love.

Any last words about winning Young Guns 18 that you'd like to share?

Thanks to my incredible team at Smuggler - I would not be here without you. If the young Fenn is out there reading this, I hope this inspires you!


"There is an intimate understanding of the characters of Fenn's films that is only enhanced by the energy she captures on camera. Her work captures this spiritual sense of calm that in many cases doesn't need even the verbal narrative to tell the story. She has a true eye for filming the sense of energy in the time, and space she is in and showing that to the world."

Anthony Coleman
Design Director
Nike North America

"Fenn moves between a variety of worlds in her work. You can tell immediately that she's a chameleon in that one description isn't quite right. On the outset you can see that she is a director but you can see her employ aspects of journalism, cultural observation, understanding of music. Any director worth their weight is a prism to redirect a variety of thoughts into on stream."

"In reading an article about the producer Dangermouse, he talked about how he wanted to be a director but for music. Building different worlds for artists to play within. I see Fenn doing exactly just that."

Nessim Higson
Executive Creative Director
Young Guns 5 Winner

"Fenn O’Meally’s film work is fresh, beautiful and effortlessly cool. She brings you out of your seat and directly into the intimate space with her subjects – you’re up-close, seeing what they see, dancing with them and in candid conversation with them. As a multi-faceted creative who can seamlessly shift in front of and behind the camera, I look forward to seeing what she does next."

Gemma O'Brien
Artist & Designer
Young Guns 13 Winner



Make sure to check out all the Young Guns 18 Winners in the archive!

Young Guns 18 Archive



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