IFTA nominated Irish director Neasa Hardiman has spoken of her delight after winning America’s Hugo Television Award Certificate of Merit for the second year in a row at a ceremony in Chicago last night (April 19).
Hardiman was awarded the prize for ‘Refugees’, which was broadcast last year as part of the second series of her award-winning BBC drama series ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’. The Hugo Television Awards are staged in partnership with the Chicago International Film Festival.
Speaking to IFTN, a delighted Hardiman said: “I’m thrilled, you know it’s kind of unbelievable. As far as I know I don’t think anyone has won the award two years in a row, at least that’s what I’ve been told, so it’s a fantastic feeling.”
Bringing the issue of human trafficking to a young audience, ‘Refugees’ tells the tale of two brothers from the West African Yoruba ethnic group who arrive in England and speak no English.
Hardiman won the prize last year for an episode broadcast as part of the first series of ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’ entitled ‘Bad Luck Boy’, which told the story of a boy who had been orphaned and had survivor’s guilt.
The Irish director added of ‘Refugees’: “It was a story that I was anxious to tell well because I know the BBC had tried a few time to address this question of human trafficking and to address this question of refugees in the UK. The problem was that the refugee can become very disenfranchised in storytelling, especially if they don’t speak English.”
Neasa’s multi-award winning ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’ has so far scooped a BAFTA and two RTS awards as well as numerous international prizes. Its final episode, after three series, was broadcast last month by the BBC.
Hardiman added: “It’s been a great series for me, to be honest. I’ve really, really enjoyed it and really enjoyed working with the BBC. It was incredibly, creatively free. I could really shape the series the way that I wanted too and I think that’s reflected in its awards success.”
Neasa is currently developing her feature debut, ‘Pretty Dead Soon’, which is a ghost story written by IFTA award-winning author Derek Landy (Dead Bodies) who is best known for his Skulduggery Pleasant novels.
She said: “Derek’s written this great story for me about an Irish band who go touring on this big road trip across the US and they play every little bar. Then they stumble into this ghost story in Louisiana. It’s a really super story and it’s got this kick-ass female character in it. It’s going to be great. UK producer Sarah Boote (Good) is attached to produce and we’re currently looking for financing.”