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IFTA Announces Rising Star Nominees with the Irish Film Board
13 May 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Nominees are Caitriona Balfe, Donal Foreman, Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford
The Irish Film Board (IFB) and the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) have announced the Rising Star Award nominees for 2015, the winner of which will be announced at the IFTA Film & Drama Awards ceremony on Sunday, May 24.

Selected by a special jury and sponsored by the IFB, the Rising Star Award is a unique IFTA Award in that it aims to highlight exceptional new and breakthrough talent working in all areas of Irish Film & Drama.

The 2015 nominees are:

  • Caitriona Balfe – Actress (Outlander)
  • Moe Dunford – Actor (Patrick’s Day)
  • Donal Foreman – Writer/Director (Out of Here)
  • Sarah Greene – Actress (Noble)

The Fall actor Jamie Dornan won the IFTA Rising Star Award in 2014, while writer/director Gerard Barrett won in 2013 for his work on Pilgrim Hill. 2012 saw writer/director John Michael McDonagh win the award for his film The Guard while actor Domhnall Gleeson won in 2011 for breakthrough performances in When Harvey Met Bob and Sensation. Animator Tomm Moore was named the IFTA Rising Star in 2010 for writing/directing the Oscar nominated feature The Secret of Kells. Shame and Hunger actor Michael Fassbender won in 2009, whilst actress Saoirse Ronan was named the winner of the 2008 Irish Film Board Rising Star IFTA for her breakthrough performance in Atonement.

Áine Moriarty, Chief Executive of the Irish Film and Television Academy said: ‘For the past 12 years the Academy has put the international spotlight on great new Irish talent making a significant mark in the film industry at large. This important Award showcases four superb Irish talents who have shown themselves to be world class professionals in their fields. IFTA is proud to showcase Ireland’s Rising Stars and acknowledges the partnership with the Irish Film Board across this Award supporting new Irish industry talent.’

James Hickey of Bord Scannán na hÉireann /the Irish Film Board (IFB) said of the Award: ‘Investing in Irish creative talent and providing them with opportunities to make an impact both in Ireland and internationally is a core principle of the IFB. At this early stage in their careers, the four nominees for this award have come a long way, and undoubtedly have the great potential to go a lot further yet. The IFB are delighted to sponsor the Rising Star award and we are excited to see how our four nominees progress in their careers.’

About The 2015 Rising Star Nominees

Caitriona Balfe – Actress (Outlander)

Before she started a successful modelling career that saw her grace the cover of some of the world’s biggest fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle, Caitriona Balfe was studying Drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology in order to become an actress.

In 2009, after a ten-year modelling career, Balfe decided to return to her initial career choice, and moved from New York to Los Angeles, spending her first year and a half in the city exclusively taking acting classes. Small roles in big budget US films quickly followed including JJ Abrams’ Super 8, Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me and Mikael Håfström’s Escape Plan. She was also cast in the lead role of the Warner Brothers web series H+, as well as the 2012 social film The Beauty Inside.

In September 2013 Balfe was cast in the leading role as protagonist Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser on the Starz television series Outlander. Both the series and her performance have received critical acclaim with publications such as Time, Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter singling out the actress for praise; the latter stating that Balfe is "reason enough to watch the show - she's a confident actress who brings various shades to her character."

Balfe is currently working on the thriller Money Monster opposite George Clooney and Julia Roberts, which will be directed by Jodie Foster.

Moe Dunford – Actor (Patrick’s Day)

Graduating from the Gaiety School of Acting in 2009, Moe Dunford wasted no time securing television roles being cast as Richard Leland in two episodes of the internationally renowned series The Tudors in 2010.

Further television roles followed including appearances in Game of Thrones, Raw and An Crisis before being cast in the recurring role of Aethelwulf in the History Channel’s successful Irish/Canadian co-production Vikings in 2013.

In 2014, Dunford undertook his first lead film role when Terry McMahon cast him as the very complex titular character in his feature film Patrick’s Day.

Moe’s performance as the love-struck, schizophrenic Patrick received enormous praise upon the film’s release and the actor was recognized with an EFP Shooting Star Award earlier this year with the jury stating that “he shows compassion and subtlety always putting the character first, never letting Patrick's issues overwhelm the performance.”

Dunford will next be seen acting opposite Killian Scott in Traders.

Donal Foreman – Writer/Director (Out Of Here)

Making films since he was 11 years old, Donal Foreman won his first film festival award at the tender age of 17 with his short film The Unmentionable winning first prize and the audience award at the Fresh Film Festival in Limerick.

After spending four years at the National Film School at IADT, Foreman began to focus on more character driven dramas writing and directing the short films You’re Only What I See Sometimes, Repeat, Refuge and Pull. His short films have screened at the Galway Film Fleadh, the Irish Film Institute, the Cork Film Centre, the Kerry Film Festival and internationally in Italy, Hungary, Argentina, the Philippines, Alaska and Los Angeles.

Foreman’s feature film debut Out of Here – about a man in his 20’s (Fionn Walton) returning to Dublin after a year travelling – was made on a micro-budget of €25k but received very positive reviews from critics and picked up an Audience Award at the 2014 Galway Film Fleadh. Speaking about Foreman after the film’s cinema release, Donald Clarke of The Irish Times said “It’s always a pleasure to welcome a fresh Irish voice that owes few creative debts to any predecessor and Donal Foreman looks to be the latest candidate for that accolade.”

Sarah Greene – Actress (Noble)

Sarah Greene graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting in 2006 and quickly established herself as a theatre actress appearing in plays such as Peer Gynt, Phaedra, Little Gem and Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, the latter of which garnered her a Tony Award nomination.

After roles in film and television projects such as ‘Raw’, ‘Psych Ward’, ‘My Brothers’, ‘Eden’ and ‘The Guard’, Greene was cast in a recurring role on the hit series Vikings which broadcasts internationally on the History Channel.

In 2013, Greene was cast in Noble - Stephen Bradley's adaptation on the life of children's rights activist Christina Noble. Her performance in the film was highly praised with reviewers stating that Greene perfectly encapsulates the turbulent period of Christina's early 20's with one critic stating, “Sarah Greene is nothing less than magnificent as Christina in late adolescence and young adulthood.”

Greene can currently be seen in the second series of Penny Dreadful on Sky Atlantic playing Hecate Poole and will also be seen in the John Wells helmed comedy Adam Jones alongside Bradley Cooper and fellow Irish actor Jamie Dornan - which will be released next year.

The IFTA Film & Drama Awards will take place at the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dublin on Sunday, May 24. TV3 will be bringing Irish viewers and the home audience all the excitement from the Ceremony and the Red Carpet in a one hour IFTA Awards Special on Monday 25th May with highlights and interviews with nominees and winners, stars of the screen, guest presenters, Lifetime and special guests.




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