22 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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IFTN Festive Q&A with Oscar-nominated director Colm Bairéad
21 Dec 2023 : Nathan Griffin
Oscar nominated director Colm Bairéad.
In the run up to Christmas, we have invited some of Ireland’s leading Film & TV talents to take part in IFTN’s festive Q&A.

Colm Bairéad’s An Cailín Ciúin has made history by becoming the first ever Irish language feature film to be nominated for an Academy Award. Having been shortlisted for the hugely competitive Best International Feature Film award in late December 2022, becoming one of 15 films out of 92 submissions, An Cailín Ciúin was named among the final five films in in January 2023.

The film was also recognised at the BAFTA Awards where it was nominated for both Film Not In The English Language and Best Adapted Screenplay

This culmination of nominations at the highest level came at the end of an incredible journey, which began with the film’s selection for World Premiere at the 72nd Berlinale, where it won the Grand Prix of the International Jury of the Generation Kplus programme.

The film, which was produced through the Irish language Cine4 scheme, opened the 2022 Dublin International Film Festival, winning the Audience Award and the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Irish Film. Colm also received an Aer Lingus Discovery Award during the festival. The film earned 7 Irish Film & Television Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress. Colm was also the recipient of the Screen Ireland-IFTA Rising Star Award.

In its opening week of release in Ireland and the UK, the film became the highest-grossing Irish-language film of all time, and went on to become the first Irish language film to gross over €1 million at the box office.

Over the past fifteen years, Bairéad has directed a number of multi-award-winning short films and many hours of documentary television for RTÉ, TG4, and Virgin Media. These include the four-part IFTA-nominated series The Joy (TV3), the award-winning feature-length drama documentary The Maamtrasna Murders (TG4), the IFTA award-winning docudrama Cumann na mBan – Women of the Revolution (TG4), and the IFTA-nominated documentary Frank O’Connor – Idir Dhá Shruth. Colm’s 2013 fly-on-the-wall doc series An Ceoldráma (The Musical) was nominated for three IFTA Awards, including Best Director.

IFTN: What was your highlight of 2023?

Colm: “Bringing An Cailín Ciúin to the Oscars and the BAFTAs. Such an amazing journey to have shared with a brilliant bunch of people.”

IFTN: What are you most looking forward to working on in the New Year?

Colm: “I'm writing a feature screenplay at the moment and I'm savouring the process of committing the inner and outer life of this character to the page. It's work that will continue into the new year and there's nothing I look forward to more.”

IFTN: What was your favourite film/s of 2023?

Colm: “I've a list as long as my arm of films from this year that I've missed, but I was beguiled by Rodrigo Moreno's positively horizontal bank heist film, The Delinquents. My two cinematic revelations this year however relate to an older series of films.

“Firstly, I discovered the Bill Douglas trilogy, a trio of remarkable Scottish films re-imagining the director's childhood experiences growing up destitute in a mining village and his eventual escape to a new life. You can trace a line directly from the poetic realism of these films to the early work of Lynne Ramsay. Fascinating and hugely moving.”

“The second revelation - which is an almost embarrassing admission - is that I "discovered" Terence Davies' films for the first time. Oh my. Who knew a long take of a piece of sun-dappled carpet would become one of my favourite shots in cinema?”

IFTN: What Irish talent have you been impressed with over the past 12 months?

Colm: “Éanna Hardwicke continues to impress. His commanding work in Lakelands and his extraordinary turn in Sinéad O'Loughlin's short film Lamb stuck with me. I was also hugely impressed by Geraldine McAlinden's heartbreaking, beautifully-pitched performance in Verdigris. In terms of emerging talent behind the lens, I was very moved by Lochlainn McKenna's Two for the Road.

“Meanwhile, Ross White and Tom Berkeley of An Irish Goodbye have proven themselves yet again with The Golden West. These guys seem to have arrived fully-formed, with a real command of narrative, character, and screen language. Genuine talent. Can't wait to see them make the jump to features.”

IFTN: What International talent would you most like to work with?

Colm: “I'm a huge fan of Michael Fassbender's work. Such a delight to see him back onscreen matching Fincher's fastidiousness inch for inch in The Killer.”

IFTN: What two film/television personalities would you most like to have dinner with and why? (invite over for Christmas dinner) (Dead/Alive)

Colm: “Scorsese for the cinema lesson and John Huston for the war stories (both literal and industry). Not sure I'd get a word in, mind.”

IFTN: What are your favourite movies to watch on Christmas day?

Colm: “These days I rarely get to watch films on Christmas Day, but when we were kids we'd watch a lot of Marx Brothers movies around this time of year. So maybe A Night at the Opera, which is glorious. John Huston's The Dead is also glorious (in a different kind of way) and will have you humming "The Lass of Aughrim" for the rest of the festive season.”

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