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IFTA Gala TV Awards Focus: Female Craft Nominees
05 Oct 2016 : Katie McNeice
Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe)
2016 has been celebrated as one of the single most successful years in Irish film and television to date. With a wealth of Oscar nominations and major TV productions such as ‘Bridget & Eamon’ and ‘Red Rock’ recently travelling to the UK, another source of pride for our small country is our pursuit of gender equality on screen.

An industry-wide callout for increased support of female talent has been experienced, with the rollout of the Irish Film Board Gender Equality Six Point Plan and public dialogue encouraged by industry leaders, such as the Irish Film & Television Academy’s Women in Focus event series.

Just yesterday the IFTA CEO Áine Moriarty called out for roles to be written for lead female actresses, speaking alongside Irish Film Board Chair and IADT President Dr. Annie Doona, Director of TV Marketing & RTÉ Global Michelle Spillane in a panel chaired by IFTA-winning Director Neasa Hardiman at IFTA Women in Focus, at The Foundry, Google HQ. 

Also speaking were broadcasters Miriam O'Callaghan and Elaine Crowley, 'A Date For Mad Mary' filmmakers Colin and Darren Thorton, Girl Crew Co-Founder Aine Mulloy and TV presenter Vogue Williams alongside Anne-Marie Bohan and Sarah Byrne from official partners Matheson and Google. 

We talk through the eight female craft Nominees in the upcoming IFTA Gala TV Awards, who have excelled while working in some of the most male-dominated fields in the industry.

Director – Soap & Comedy
There is a 50/50 gender parity in this category with Lisa Mulcahy of ‘Red Rock’ and Louise Ní Fhiannachta of Irish language series ‘Eipic’, standing alongside male Nominees Jason Butler (Bridget & Eamon) and Diarmuid Goggins (Red Rock).

This is the second IFTA nomination Mulcahy has received for her work on the acclaimed TV3 show, which saw her take home the award in this category in 2015. Her work includes the recent feature fantasy ‘Legend of Longwood’ and BBC mini-series ‘Moonstone’, which she recently completed for the BBC.

Ní Fhiannachta’s comedy series ‘Eipic’ is also nominated for Irish Language and Children’s and Young People’s this year, and began to air on TG4 in February 2016. This is the first IFTA nomination for the director, who has also directed for long-running Irish language series ‘Ros na Rún.’

Writer – Soap and Comedy
Jennifer Zamparelli (Republic of Telly) shares her nomination for the hilarious ‘Bridget & Eamon’ with co-writers Jason Butler and Bernard O’Shea. ‘Bridget & Eamon’ was renewed for a second season earlier this year and was also acquired by UKTV’s Comedy Gold.

Sharon Horgan is nominated for her work in ‘Catastrophe.’ The forty-six year old Writer/Director also received the IFTA in this category for her work on the show last year, in addition to the award for Female Performance. Her new series ‘Divorce’ starring Sarah Jessica Parker was commissioned by HBO.

Zamparelli  and Horgan also share the category with Brendan O’Carroll (Mrs. Brown’s Boys) and Paul Walker (Red Rock).

Director – Television
Máire Kearney is the standalone female Nominee in this category for her work on RTÉ documentary ‘Life Before the Rising’, which examines the lives of Irish people in the months and weeks preceding the 1916 Rising. Kearney previously received the IFTA for Best Current Affairs Programme for ‘Prime Time’ in 2005.

Darragh Byrne (My Homeless Family), Gerry Hoban (Ireland’s Great Wealth Divide) and Gerry Nelson (Wild Cities – Dublin) are also nominated. Liam McGrath received the award in this category last year for ‘Dolores Keane: A Storm in the Heart.’

Sound – Television
Michelle Fingleton of Screen Scene is also the only female Nominee in her category, and shares her nomination for ‘1916 The Irish Rebellion’ with John Brennan and Garret Farrell. The landmark documentary produced by COCO Television is narrated by iconic Irish Actor Liam Neeson (Michael Collins).

Magamedia were awarded for their work on ‘Ceoilchuairt’ in this category last year.

Michelle Fingleton, Sound Nominee:  
“I am delighted to be nominated by IFTA for my work in sound design and editing. Traditionally, sound engineering, editing and dubbing has been a mostly male dominated craft. Currently, I don’t think that there are many practical barriers to entry for women but perhaps we need to publicise the career more as an attractive option for women, and ensure to encourage and nurture those who show an interest in sound.

In my years working in postproduction I’ve observed a healthy gender mix in the area of picture editing. If this could now be extended to sound too, I think that the industry would be all the richer for it. The job requires a healthy mix of creative and technical skills and so can be very rewarding as a career.”

Editing – Television
This category also achieves 50/50 gender parity and sees Iseult Howlett (I Am Immigrant) and Úna Ní Dhonghaíle (Invisible Man) contending with Jamie Fitzpatrick (Wild Cities – Galway) and Derek Holland (A Fanatic Heart: Geldof on Yeats). Mick Mahon received the IFTA for Editing last year for ‘Rough Rider.’

Ní Dhonghaíle is now a four-time IFTA Nominee, whose work on ‘Ripper Street’, ‘The Missing’ and ‘Doctor Who’ earned her previous nominations. This is Howlett’s first IFTA nomination for her work on RTÉ documentary ‘I Am Immigrant’ which is one of a three-part series examining identity and Irishness.

Iseult Howlett, Editing Nominee:
“It feels like a real honour to be nominated for my editing on ‘I Am Immigrant.’ Although I think it is fair to say that female editors feel the pinch of inequality far less than the other craft areas, I do look forward to a time when we see as many female directors, writers and camera operators as male on our call sheets and nomination lists. In the meantime, I will strive to make exciting, challenging and creative choices as a storyteller, and hope that the number of women with whom I get to collaborate increases.”

Visit IFTA Online for the full list of Nominees
#IFTAWIF IFTA Women in Focus Conference Highlights

Casting Directors share insights at Casting Conversations hosted by IFTA
“Foyle holds a special place in my heart;” BAFTA nominee Kris Kelly discusses Wind and the Shadow ahead of its premiere at Foyle Film Festival
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