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Verdigris wins the Best Feature Award at Irish Film Festival London
22 Nov 2023 : News Desk
Producer Paul FitzSimons and Director Patricia Kelly
Irish Film & Television UK (IFTUK) has announced the winners of the Irish Film Festival, London at its annual award ceremony held at the Irish Embassy in London on 20th November 2023. The Irish Ambassador, Martin Fraser, welcomed guests at the red-carpet awards ceremony.

Stories by and about women featured prominently at this year’s festival, with director Patricia Kelly’s debut feature Verdigris winning the Best Feature Award. The film follows the unlikely friendship between Marian (Geraldine McAlinden), an older woman in a loveless marriage, and sex worker, Jewel (Maya O’Shea).

The festival’s upbeat opening night film One Night in Millstreet  won the Best Documentary award. The latest film from two-time IFTA Award winner Andrew Gallimore, One Night in Millstreet provides a snapshot of a country on the edge of change, revealed through the legendary prize fight in 1995 between the underdog Steve ‘The Celtic Warrior’ Collins and undefeated world champion Chris ‘Simply the Best’ Eubank.

Veteran filmmaker Joe Comerford was the recipient of The Súil Eile Award (Lifetime Achievement Award) acknowledging his outstanding contribution to the Irish film industry. As an independent filmmaker in Ireland, Joe Comerford has spent more than 50 years giving a voice to marginalised people in Irish society. The digitally restored 2023 Director’s Cut of his classic 1998 film Reefer and the Model was screened at the festival and all his films have recently been made available again via IFI’s International portal. An industry workshop reflecting his body of work was one of the highlights of the festival.

Irish casting director Ros Hubbard (The Commitments, the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Patron and Advisor of IFTUK has sponsored two awards. The Ros Hubbard Award for Acting was awarded to Alison Oliver (Saltburn, Conversations with Friends) and Éanna Hardwicke (Normal People, The Sixth Commandment).

The festival included a Screen Ireland shorts programme showcasing the work of emerging talent. Grace Dyas’s Waiting Day, which depicted a difficult day in the life of a jobless single mother, was the winner of this award.

The jury for the 2023 Irish Film Awards was headed by Festival Director Michael Hayden, and included Colm Bairéad and Cleona Ní Chrualaoí, the director and producer of An Cailín Ciúin, Anna Rodgers and Shaun Dunne, co-directors of How to Tell a Secret, Kelly Campbell, director of An Encounter, and IFTUK Board Members Peter Curran, Steven Greenfield and Tara Gaule.

The festival showcased a programme of the latest Irish feature films, documentaries, animation and short films from November 15th to 19th at the Vue West End, Vue Piccadilly and the London Irish Centre.

This year’s partners were the Department of Foreign Affairs, Screen Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Culture Ireland and the Century Club.

IFTA Q&A Series: Joanne O’Brien on Costume Design
IFTA Q&A Series: Eleanor Bowman on Cinematography
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