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BIFA Awards 2022: Irish film and talent features strongly throughout as nominations announced
07 Nov 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Paul Mescal in BIFA nomination frontrunner, Aftersun.
God’s Creatures, Nothing Compares, Young Plato, It Is In Us All, and The Wonder are among the Irish titles named as nominees for this year’s British Independent Film Awards (BIFA).

The nominees were announced by hosts Sam Claflin and BIFA winner Kosar Ali at an event in  the Everyman Broadgate Theatre. Winners will be announced at the BIFA ceremony on Sunday, December 4th.

2022’s list featuring acclaimed debuts alongside previous BIFA recipients such as Emma Thompson, Jessie Buckley, Florence Pugh and Alice Birch, in a strong year for women filmmakers and performers. BIFA have introduced new performance categories as well as a first-time feature documentary director category to celebrate in BIFA’s 25th anniversary year. 

Leading the nominations is Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun starring Paul Mescal, a poignant portrait of a father and daughter’s complex relationship, which received nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay, the Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director), and Best Debut Screenwriter for Wells, a Best Joint Lead Performance nomination for stars Paul Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio, who also received a Breakthrough Performance nomination, alongside a Best British Independent Film nod. The film also picked up a further nine craft nominations, bringing its total to 16 nominations.

Irish Netflix drama The Wonder also leads the way with 12 nominations. A BIFA Best Screenplay award nominee in 2018 for Disobedience, Sebastián Lelio picks up the same nomination for Irish Netflix drama The Wonder, a 19th-century thriller focussing on a young Irish girl whose fasting is hailed as miraculous but may be something more ominous. The nomination is shared with BIFA winners Alice Birch and Irish Oscar nominee Emma Donoghue, on whose book the screenplay is based.

Lelio is also nominated for Best Director, while 2017 Best Actress winner Florence Pugh is nominated for Best Lead Performance. Irish youngster Kíla Lord Cassidy is nominated for Breakthrough Performance, while additional cast members including Tom Burke, Toby Jones, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Ciarán Hinds, Brían F. O’Byrne, and Josie Walker join them in a Best Ensemble Performance nomination. The film’s craft nominations include Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Make-Up & Hair Design, Best Original Music, Best Production Design and Best Sound for IFTA winner Hugh Fox and BIFA winner Ben Baird. The Wonder is also up for Best British Independent Film. 

God's Creatures, directed by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer picked up a total of five nominations. Emily Watson was nominated in Lead Performance, while co-stars and Irish actors Paul Mescal and Aisling Franciosi were nominated in the Best Supporting Performance. Shane Crowley was nominated for Best Debut Screenwriter for the script of this powerful drama set in a windswept fishing village in Kerry, where a mother is torn between protecting her beloved son and her own sense of right and wrong. Finally, Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans were nominated in the Best Original Music category.

“I’m so utterly delighted that God’s Creatures is getting this kind of recognition. I usually school myself not to mind too much about how a movie ends up but with this, I’ve felt passionate about it at every step,” said two time Oscar nominated actress, Emily Watson. “From the moment I read the screenplay, every stage has felt as if I’ve been part of a deeply considered and profoundly creative act shining a light on something very uncomfortable. I got to work with a wildly talented bunch of young filmmakers in every department. A total treasure. So, thank you, really, truly. I can’t wait for people to see it on the big screen.”

The Nine Daughters production is produced by Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly. It was shot on location in Co. Donegal and developed with the support of Screen Ireland, BBC Film and A24. It is co-financed by A24, BBC Film, Screen Ireland and the Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund/WRAP. A24 controls worldwide rights.

Cosmo Jarvis, lead actor in Antonia Campbell-Hughes’ It Is In Us All, picked up a nomination for Best Actor for his role as Hamish, a Londoner who returns to his ancestral homeland of Donegal in the west of Ireland. The film opens as a fatal car crash brings together two survivors – slick London businessman Hamish and teenager Evan, who initiates an uncanny friendship with the older man. Hamish, who has inherited the home of his late aunt, had planned to visit Ireland only briefly. But his stay is prolonged by this tense entanglement with Evan and an unspeakable attachment to the land where his mother was raised. 

It Is In Us All is produced by Emma Foley, Tamryn Reinecke, and Conor Barry for Pale Rebel Productions and Savage Productions. The film was funded through Screen Ireland’s POV scheme for female filmmakers, aiming to foster distinct Irish female voices through the development and production of a low-budget feature film. It Is In Us All was filmed in Co. Donegal and is Antonia Campbell-Hughes' first feature film as a director. Read our interview with Antonia Campbell Hughes about It Is In Us All.

In the documentary section, Two Irish production were nominated for BIFA Awards. Nothing Compares, directed by Kathryn Ferguson received a total of three nominations, including Best Feature Documentary, Best Debut Director for Kathryn Ferguson, and Best Editing for Mick Mahon. Northern Irish documentary Young Plato also received a nomination in the  Best Feature Documentary category, which was directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin and Declan McGrath.

Nothing Compares charts Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame, and examines how she used her voice at the height of her stardom before her iconoclastic personality led to her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film presents an authored, richly cinematic portrait of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens.

The film is produced by Eleanor Emptage and Michael Mallie for Tara Films (UK) and Ard Mhacha Productions (Ireland), and presented by Field of Vision. Executive producers are Charlotte Cook, Lesley McKimm, Lucy Pullin, John Reynolds and Lisa Marie Russo. The film was supported by Screen Ireland, the BFI Doc Society Fund, IE:Entertainment and Northern Ireland Screen. Showtime controls worldwide rights. It is currently out in Irish cinemas.

Young Plato is an observational documentary set in post conflict Belfast’s Ardoyne, where a marginalized, working class community has for generations been plagued by poverty, drugs and guns. A Soilsiú Films production, the film charts the dream of Headmaster Kevin McArevey and his dedicated visionary team, illustrating how critical thinking and pastoral care can empower and encourage children to see beyond the boundaries and limitations of their own community. The film is produced by David Rane, Hanne Phlypo, Céline Nusse and Jackie Doyle of Soilsiú Films, Aisling Productions, Clin d’Oeil Films and Zadig Productions. It is currently screening throughout the US for a limited theatrical run.

BIFA winner Jessie Buckley and co-star Rory Kinnear are nominated for Best Joint Lead Performance for Alex Garland’s smart horror-thriller Men in which a young woman’s retreat to the country becomes a waking nightmare of her darkest fears. Irish actor Daryl McCormack and BIFA winner Emma Thompson have also been nominated for Best Joint Lead Performance in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, which has also been nominated for Best British Independent Film.

In the acting category, rising star Leo Long is nominated for Breakthrough Performance for his role as an autistic drummer with an incredible gift in I Used to Be Famous. The Netflix Original Film is produced by Irish producer Collie McCarthy for his company Forty Foot Pictures, and starred Deadpool actor Ed Skrein in the leading role. Read our interview with Collie McCarthy discussing I Used To Be Famous.

Click here for the full list of BIFA 2022 nominations.

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