An American filmmaker has told how he hopes his new movie will inspire Ireland's redheads to take pride in their ginger locks.
Carrot-topped Scott Harris, 32, will give the first public screening of his autobiographical film, 'Being Ginger', at this weekend's Cork Red Head convention in Crosshaven.
Texas-born Scott said the 69-minute flick gives an honest portrayal - that he believes many Irish redheads will relate to - of his own experience of being bullied at school for having distinctive-coloured hair.
He also said the movie's plot centres around his quest to find love and the frequent knock-backs he's received from the opposite sex as a result of his gingerness.
Scott said: "The film is a unique look at life as a redhead and it's a story about the difficulties of dating and the insecurities we all share.
"It seems to me that redheads are the last minority that people think it's still acceptable to make fun of. Like a lot of redheads, I had a tough time at school and was bullied."
However, Scott said analysing his life story through the medium of film has boosted his confidence and helped him learn to love his ginger roots.
"When I was younger, I hated my hair colour. But then I learned to appreciate being different. I would never dye my hair now. Lots of people are different for various reasons and the thing that makes me different is my red hair.
"I hope redheads in Cork feel better about themselves after watching the film."
Up to 2,000 redheads will descend on Crosshaven from tomorrow (Fri) for what is expected to be the world's largest-ever gathering of ginger-haired folk.
Organisers of the colourful Cork Red Head convention are expecting the numbers of flame-haired festival-goers to quadruple this year because of publicity generated by The Gathering.
Organiser Joleen Cronin said: "Last year we had 500 people at the festival, but we're expecting 2,000 this time round.
"The Gathering made a TV ad on the festival for the overseas market and it's generated huge interest."
Amongst the events already planned for the three-day celebration of gingerness are carrot tossing, freckle counting, a ginger chef cook-off, a redhead darts competition, a parade of natural redheads through the village and the crowning of Ireland's redhead King and Queen.
The festival, which runs until Sunday (Aug 25), will also host a seminar from a genetic research team, whose experts will conduct tests which will determine if people carry the red-hair gene.
Red hair is the rarest hair colour in the world and accounts for just 0.6 per cent of the globe's population.
About 40 per cent of people in Ireland are believed to carry a redhead gene variant, but only 10 per cent have red hair.
Scotland has the highest number of redheads per capita in the world at 13 per cent, but just over 30 per cent of Scottish people carry the red-hair gene.
See more at www.redheadconvention.ie
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