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IFTA Awards Focus: Best Script
19 May 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Terry McMahon (above) is nominated alongside Gerard Barrett, Frank Berry and Will Collins
The IFTA Film & Drama Awards is now just five days away (Sunday May 24) – and we continue our coverage with a look at the writers of some of the most acclaimed Irish films of the past 12 months.

Nominated this year in the category of Best Script Film is Gerard Barrett (‘Glassland’), Frank Berry (‘I Used To Live Here’), Terry McMahon (‘Patrick’s Day) and Will Collins (‘Song of the Sea’).

An IFTA Rising Star recipient in 2013 after his low-budget drama ‘Pilgrim Hill’ proved a sleeper hit in Ireland, Gerard Barrett has undoubtedly delivered on his potential with his sophomore feature ‘Glassland’.

Starring Jack Reynor, Will Poulter and Toni Collette, the film tells the story of a young taxi driver who gets pulled into crime as he attempts to save his mother from alcoholism.

The film (which also yielded Barrett a Best Director IFTA nod as well as being nominated for Best Film) has been highly praised by critics with The Hollywood Reporter saying of the script; “the economy of Barrett as a storyteller is abundantly clear.”

After the film screened at Sundance to positive reviews, Barrett was signed to adapt and direct the novel Brain On Fire which will start shooting in the summer. The film will star Dakota Fanning and Oscar winner Charlize Theron, who will also produce. Barrett will also adapt the award-winning novel The Undertaking with Leonardo Di Caprio attached to the project, though its’ unspecified in what capacity.

Also nominated this year is Frank Berry, for writing the touching suicide teen drama ‘I Used To Live Here’.

Starring Jordanne Jones and Dafhyd Flynn – Frank Berry’s film examines the disturbing phenomenon of suicide clusters among young people in local Irish communities. It has been praised by mental health professionals for how it has dealt with its’ sensitive subject matter. It has also received praise from publications such as RTÉ, The Hollywood Reporter and The Irish Times, with the latter calling the film “superb”.

This is Frank Berry’s fictional debut after acclaimed documentaries such as ‘This Time Round’ and ‘Ballymun Lullaby’ with ‘I Used To Live Here’ garnering three nominations this year in total, including Best Film. Berry is also a lecturer at Colaiste Dhulaigh, Dublin.

Next up is Terry McMahon nominated for the award-winning film ‘Patrick’s Day’ – which has received nine nominations in total at this year’s ceremony, including Best Film.

McMahon’s filmmaking debut came in the form of the controversial ‘Charlie Casanova’ which was nominated for four IFTA Awards in 2012. His sophomore feature ‘Patrick’s Day’ was an instant hit on the festival circuit winning awards in Galway, Cork, Woodstock and Michigan.

The film follows Patrick, a 26 year old schizophrenic who falls in love with an alcoholic, suicidal air-hostess with the relationship they share transforming both of their lives. However, Patrick’s obsessive mother believes their misguided love is dangerous and so to pull them apart, enlists the help of a dysfunctional detective who will use his position to help her.

McMahon’s script has been praised by mental health professionals including leading psychiatrist Professor Ivor Browne who heralded the film as an “extremely valuable piece of work”.

Terry’s next film is prison drama ‘Dancehall Bitch’ – which is part of a trilogy that also contains ‘Charlie Casanova’ and ‘Patrick’s Day’.

Last on the list is ‘Song of the Sea’ scribe Will Collins.

‘Song of the Sea’ tells the story of Saoirse, a little girl who can turn into a seal, who goes on an adventure with her brother to save the spirit world and other magical beings like her. The film has so far had a very busy awards season getting nominated for an Oscar, seven Annie Awards and a Cesar Award for Best Animated Film as well as winning a Satellite Award. Collins himself has also garnered an Annie Award nomination for his writing of the film which the Toronto Review described as “one of the most blissfully beautiful animated films ever made.”

The film has also garnered an IFTA nomination for Best Film this year.

Collins has previously been nominated for an IFTA for writing the 2010 film ‘My Brothers’ and he has also written the upcoming animated film ‘The Boy In The Bubble’, which will be directed by Kealan O Rourke.

The IFTA Film & Drama Awards takes place on Sunday, May 24 with TV3 airing a one hour special on the ceremony on Monday, June 1st.




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