6 December 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTA Awards Focus: Director Of Photography Film/Drama
12 May 2015 : Seán Brosnan
James Mather has been nominated for 'Frank' alongside PJ Dillon ('Vikings'), Michael Lavelle ('Patrick's Day') and Piers McGrail ('Glassland')
The Director Of Photography Film/Drama category for the IFTA Film & Drama Awards (on May 24) houses four men in the midst of a prolific year.

The nominees are PJ Dillon (for the internationally renowned television series ‘Vikings’ which is shot in Ireland), Michael Lavelle (for Terry McMahon’s multi-award winning ‘Patrick’s Day’), James Mather (for Lenny Abrahamson’s universally acclaimed ‘Frank’) and Piers McGrail (for ‘Glassland’, Gerard Barrett’s highly praised follow up to ‘Pilgrim Hill’), with the latter two men receiving their first nominations this year.

Coming off the back of receiving a nomination for one of the highest honours globally for a cinematographer is PJ Dillon. For his work on ‘Vikings’, Dillon received a prestigious ASC Award nomination for the episode ‘Blood Eagle’, which is also the episode which landed him this year’s IFTA nomination.

Dillon has previously won three IFTA Awards for his work on Amazon drama ‘Ripper Street’ and the feature films ‘The Runway’ and ‘32A’. He has also been nominated for ‘Timbuktu’, ‘Kings’, ‘An Ranger’ and ‘Game Of Thrones’, also getting a Best Film Director nomination in 2011 for ‘Rewind’. Dillon was also DOP for the Irish co-production ‘Strangerland’ starring Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes which premiered at Sundance earlier this year.

‘Patrick’s Day’ DOP Michael Lavelle has also had a good year. Garnering a lot of buzz and positive reviews for his work on ‘Patrick’s Day’ (including from director Terry McMahon himself who labelled Lavelle as a “secret weapon”), Lavelle was then bestowed with the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography at the Woodstock Film Festival. This wasn’t the first time Lavelle won a major award in the US as he won the Cinematography Award at Sundance in 2010 for the documentary ‘His And Hers’.

This is Lavelle’s first IFTA nomination for cinematography but he was nominated for Best Short Film in 2012 for ‘Cluck’, which he wrote and directed. Other credits of Lavelle include ‘From The Dark’ and ‘Undressing My Mother’ and he also served as DOP for the highly anticipated television movie ‘The Truth Commissioner’, which shot this year in Northern Ireland.

A frequent collaborator of Lenny Abrahamson, James Mather teamed with the director again for the acclaimed musical drama ‘Frank’, landing him his first IFTA nomination in the process.

Mather also worked on Abrahamson’s classic film ‘Adam & Paul’, as well as the television series ‘Prosperity’ for RTÉ. He has also worked on the British television series ‘Cold Feet’ and won the Donal Gilligan Award for Best Cinematography in a Short Film at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2012 for ‘The Girl’. Mather’s talents also extend to writing and directing and he (along with Stephen St Leger) was behind the successful actioner ‘Lockout’ starring Guy Pearse and Maggie Grace – with Mather also shooting the film.

Another first-time nominee at this year’s IFTA Awards is Piers McGrail for Gerard Barrett’s ‘Glassland’. An unstinting working year for the young cinematographer saw him work on Irish films ‘Out Of Here’, ‘Glassland’, ‘Let Us Prey’ and ‘The Canal’ (all of which secured cinema releases in Ireland with ‘The Canal’ out now and ‘Let Us Prey’ to be released later this year).

After making his name on Kieran Evans debut feature ‘Kelly + Victor’ garnering positive reviews from publications such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian, McGrail gained a lot of buzz for his “nuanced moody cinematography” on ‘The Canal’ which secured a US cinema release. ‘Glassland’ also brought the DOP into further focus in Ireland and abroad, gaining notice from publications such as The Irish Times, The Guardian and Indiewire as well as his first IFTA nomination.

The IFTA Film & Drama Awards will take place on Sunday, May 24 with a special one-hour TV3 special on the show broadcasting on Monday, June 1st.

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