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IFTA Awards Focus: Best Film
22 May 2015 : Seán Brosnan
‘Noble’ is nominated alongside ‘Frank’, ‘Glassland’, ‘I Used To Live Here’, ‘Patrick’s Day’ and ‘Song of the Sea’
We continue our coverage of the IFTA Awards (this Sunday May 24) with a look at the six nominees of the Best Film category.

The nominees this year are Lenny Abrahamson’s musical dramedy ‘Frank’, Gerard Barrett’s hard-hitting ‘Glassland’, Frank Berry’s suicide drama ‘I Used To Live Here’, Stephen Bradley’s Christina Noble biopic ‘Noble’, Terry McMahon’s provocative love story ‘Patrick’s Day’ and Tomm Moore’s animated film ‘Song of the Sea’.

‘Frank’, starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson, received the most nominations this year (along with ‘Patrick’s Day’) with nine. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and co-produced by Ed Guiney of Element Pictures, ‘Frank’ tells the story of a wannabe musician who desperately wants to be a successful musician. By chance, he becomes a member of eccentric band ‘Soronprfbs’, and from then on is determined to find out more about the band’s energetic, mysterious leader, Frank.

The film was released in cinemas in Ireland, the UK and the US and received largely positive reviews with The New York Post calling it a “whimsical delight” and The Guardian saying that the film “works as satire, as memoir, as comedy bromance.”

The film has received IFTA nominations in the categories of Best Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Supporting Actor (Domhnall Gleeson), Best Director (Lenny Abrahamson), Cinematography (James Mather), Best Original Score (Stephen Rennicks), Editing (Nathan Nugent), Sound (Ken Galvin, Steve Fanagan and Neil O Sullivan) and Make-Up & Hair (Lynn Johnston and Eileen Buggy).

Another Element-produced film that received a nomination this year is ‘Glassland’. Gerard Barrett’s acclaimed follow-up to ‘Pilgrim Hill’ premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh last year and jointly won the Best Irish Feature award (along with co-nominee ‘Patrick’s Day’).

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.

Jack Reynor won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for his acclaimed performance. The film was released to cinemas in the UK and Ireland earlier this year – and received very positive reviews with Indiewire labelling it as a “directorial triumph”, The Irish Times calling it “superb” and The Guardian heralding it as “deeply moving”.

The film is nominated for IFTA’s in the categories of Best Director (Gerard Barrett), Best Script (also Gerard Barrett), Best Actor (Jack Reynor), Best Costume Design (Leonie Prendergast) and Best International Actress (Toni Collette).

‘I Used To Live Here’ is written and directed by Frank Berry and featured a host of first time actors in the film. It secured a cinema release earlier this year and has been praised by mental health professionals for how it has dealt with its’ sensitive subject matter.

Produced by Frank Berry and Donna Eperon for Write Direction Films, ‘I Used to Live Here’ examines the disturbing phenomenon of suicide clusters among young people in local Irish communities.

Critics have been highly positive in their reviews of the film. The Irish Times called the movie “superb” while RTÉ called it “powerful and poignant”. Praise has also been heaped upon the inexperienced young cast (and Berry’s direction of them) with The Hollywood Reporter calling Jordanne Jones and Dafhyd Flynn’s performances “riveting, naturalistic, and internalized”.

The film is up for three IFTA nominations in total with Jordanne Jones receiving an IFTA nomination for Best Actress for her leading performance with Frank Berry also receiving a nomination for his script.

Also nominated for three IFTA Awards this year is Stephen Bradley’s biopic ‘Noble’.

Chronicling the life of children’s rights activist and humanitarian Christina Noble, who overcame a harsh childhood to find her destiny on the streets of Saigon, fourteen years after the end of the war. The film captures the drama of a life that has culminated in Christina helping almost a million street-children and their families in Vietnam and Mongolia.

Written and directed by Bradley, the film stars Deirdre O Kane, Ruth Negga, Sarah Greene and Liam Cunningham. Released to cinemas last year, the film was described by the Hollywood Reporter as “a joyful and rousing affirmation of the human spirit that will resound widely” while Roger Ebert in one of his last film reviews called the film “engrossing” The Irish Times stated that the film “will do very nicely as tribute and shameless crowdpleaser.” The film was also honoured with the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema, at last year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The film is also nominated for Best Actress (Deirdre O Kane) and Best Supporting Actress (Sarah Greene) who both played Christina at different stages of her life.

Terry McMahon’s ‘Patrick’s Day’ is up for nine nominations this year (tying with ‘Frank’ for the most nominations).

Written and directed by McMahon, ‘Patrick’s Day’ 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.

After a very successful festival run which saw it receive awards at festivals such as Galway, Cork, Woodstock and Michigan – ‘Patrick’s Day’ was released to Irish cinemas earlier this year earning praise from critics and mental health professionals such as Professor Ivor Browne.

The Irish Times have called the film “a fascinating collision of psychiatric drama and state-of-the nation address”. The performances have been widely praised, particularly that of lead actor Moe Dunford. He has so far received an EFP Shooting Star Award as well as being nominated for this year’s IFTA Rising Star Award.

‘Patrick’s Day’ has been nominated for Best Director (Terry McMahon), Best Script (also Terry McMahon), Best Actor (Moe Dunford), Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Walker), Best Sound (Hugh Fox, Nikki Moss and Ken Galvin), Original Score (Ray Harman), Editing (Emer Reynolds) and Cinematography (Michael Lavelle).

Rounding out this list is Cartoon’s Saloon’s animated film ‘Song of the Sea’.

Screening to rapturous receptions around the world, Tomm Moore’s follow up to the Oscar-nominated ‘The Secret of Kells’ has had a 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.

The film 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. It features the voice talents of Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan and Lisa Hannigan and has been praised for the high quality of its’ animation, it’s direction as well as its’ story written by Will Collins.

Writing in the Toronto Review, Carlos Aguilar said of the film: "Watching 'Song of the Sea' it is easy to assert that this is one of the most blissfully beautiful animated films ever made. It is a gem beaming with awe-inspiring, heartwarming magic". Variety have also described the film as a very “poetic experience”.

‘Song of the Sea’ writer Will Collins has also been nominated for his script at this year’s IFTA Awards.

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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