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IFTAs 2014 Ceremony
09 Apr 2014 : Irish Film & Television Academy
The 2014 Irish Film and Television Awards took place last Saturday 5 April and the Doubletree hotel in Dublin and was jam-packed with all the stars from the world of film and television in Ireland. It was the first time in 4 years that the ceremony went back to round-table with 800 industry professionals in attendance. It was a major night of celebration for everyone in attendance with both Nominees and Winners celebrating their hard work into the small hours.

Speaking about the ceremony Morgan O’Sullivan, executive producer of ‘Vikings’, emphasised the significance of celebrating Irish excellence in TV and film production saying, “I think it’s an important occasion because it highlights particularly how far we’ve come as an industry.”

Andrew Scott, star of ‘The Stag’ and IFTA nominee stresses the importance of giving recognition at home saying “I think it’s really important to celebrate home-grown Irish talent” and IFTA winner and Nominee from the night Amy Huberman says “I think with Irish film there’s such a diverse, broad range. Sometimes our budgets are a little bit smaller. It’s great to see (Irish) film and TV travelling so well because we are a small country, a small industry, but we’re still making our mark and great stuff is getting out there.”

Fionnula Flanagan says she feels the IFTAs has really enhance the industry over recent years, “It’s wonderful to be nominated by your peers at home – and I think the IFTA’s are tremendously important because they give that extra boost to the industry and to the young Irish film industry and we’re finally getting the international recognition overseas and selling Irish film and that’s wonderful. I think this whole endeavour is special.”

Technical issues caused major setbacks for the broadcast of the show.

Now in its 11th year, the Ceremony suffered major setbacks this year with the Broadcast aspect of the Ceremony as it experienced technical difficulties with visuals not firing up and sound feeds going straight to broadcast. A spokesperson for IFTA has confirmed that “it is regrettable that the technical issues around sound and Outside Broadcast for the 11th Awards Ceremony, impacted on the viewing experience for the public watching the show as well as the great work of the ceremony’s co-hosts. An initial review has shown that unfortunately audience mics were left ‘open’ which multiplied the level of ambient background noise fed back into speakers in the room and into the broadcast. This impacted on the enjoyment and engagement for the home TV audience, who experienced a major change in audio levels especially during the final segment of the show as background noise was distorted and amplified, making it very difficult to hear the presenters. This gave the impression that noise was coming solely from the audience in the room, which is not correct. The technical issues caused a knock-on effect to the evening’s schedule. It is the first time in 11 years that such a situation has occurred as IFTA has previously produced 10 superb Award ceremonies, amongst the highest rated shows in Ireland, many in theatre-style setting with live orchestral music, dance and other features. IFTA is undertaking a full review of the technical and broadcast production services for the annual awards ceremony”.

The technical issues across the broadcast however were not as apparent in the ceremony hall and over 40 Awards in total were handed out, 23 in the Broadcast of the show and 17 Craft awards also presented to the men and women who work tirelessly behind that cameras too. Despite the long list of awards guests were only too delighted for the opportunity to meet their peers and celebrate the industry.

Attending guests emphasised the special communal aspect to the ceremony, and how the IFTAs give everyone a chance to see old friends. Jeremy Irons said “It’s always a great excuse to be in Dublin and see all one’s friends – it was a no brainer to come really”, while Colin Farrell said that at the IFTAs, “I get to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while, get a few hugs and it’s nice to be home to be here to celebrate Irish talent.”

Another IFTA nominee, ‘Dracula’ actress Victoria Smurfit, said “It’s gorgeous every year, when you look around they are toasting serious global stars”.

Fassbender, who won the IFTA for Best Supporting Actor for his harrowing performance in ‘12 Years a Slave’, said “It’s nice to come home. I always like to be part of the IFTAs when I can... to hopefully inspire the next generation to come through. Hopefully we’ll see some more actors, writers and directors coming out of Ireland. I think we’re rich in storytelling here and I think that is something we should always cultivate. I think it’s a good time at the moment, for the industry here.”

The big winners of the night were ‘Calvary’, ‘Byzantium’ and ‘Philomena’, as each won three awards. Philomena Lee, upon whom the latter film was based, expressed her delight at being in Ireland on the Red Carpet: “I love being home in my country. The others were great, don’t get me wrong, but we never even thought we were going to get invited to this. We are so lucky. We're so proud to be back to Ireland.”

‘Philomena’ won Best International Film at the IFTAs. Steve Coogan, who wrote, produced and starred in the feature, and was an IFTA award presenter that evening, accepted the award on behalf of its cast and crew, saying, “We’ve had a very gratifying year with Philomena and the perfect way to end it is to come back to the place where the story was born.”

Several of the winners on the night of the IFTAs ceremony were emotional, and all expressed joy on receiving their awards. Eva Birthistle, who won Best Actress Television for her role in ‘Amber’, said “I’m delighted and I’m flattered because the other actresses are wonderful, so it is a huge honour. It’s a massive compliment.” ‘Love/Hate’s Peter Coonan won Best Supporting Actor Television, and stated that he was “over the moon. It means a hell of a lot. It was a great moment.”

One of the highlights of the night was the presenting of President Michael D Higgins with an honorary award for his Outstanding Contribution to the Irish Film and Television Industry. A video was presented with congratulatory messages from directors Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan and Mel Gibson, as well as a visual showcase of the great work of the Irish Film Board over the past 20 years since President Michael D Higgins re-established it’s board. All contributors emphasised how important the President has been to their own work and to the industry overall. Jordan said “We are lucky enough as Irish people to have a President who is a poet and is committed to culture in all of its various forms.”

In his speech, President Higgins said “Following as I know in the footsteps of some very illustrious former recipients, I am deeply honoured and I want to thank the Irish Film and Television Academy for this prestigious award from a community and an industry for which I have both great respect and may I say great affection.” The President continued, “The Irish film and TV industry is standing up in the international field but with integrity”. The President received a standing ovation on receiving the Academy’s Honorary Award.

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