5 December 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
Arracht wins Best Irish Film at Dublin Film Festival; Audience Award at its UK Premiere at Glasgow Film Festival
10 Mar 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Aer Lingus Discovery Award recipient Dónall Ó Héalaí in Arracht.
Tom Sullivan's Irish language feature film, Arracht, has won the prestigious Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festival 2020, as well as, Best Irish Film at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020.

Lead actor Dónall Ó Héalaí was also awarded Best Actor in the Aer Lingus Discovery Award at VMDIFF.

Break Out Pictures will release the film in Irish cinemas on April 3rd.

The Dublin Critics Circle awarded Arracht Best Irish film of the festival with lead actor Dónal Ó Hèalai picking up The Aer Lingus Discovery award. These awards follow much acclaim for the famine set drama with Screen Daily calling it ‘bracingly authentic, a powerful impact’ and the Irish Times believing it to be ‘Unmissable and a beautifully crafted murder ballad”.

Arracht tells the story of Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, a father, a husband, living on the wild shores of Connemara in 1845 as The Great Hunger descends. As land taxes rise and crops rot Colmán confronts his landlord, the night ends in deadly violence and Colmán is forced to go on the run, hunted for crimes he did not commit. As the years pass in solitude, Colmán returns to the mainland and encounters a young girl, Kitty and a life-saving friendship develops.

 “For Arracht to win best Irish film has literally taken my breath. It is such an honor to win at a film festival that I attended as a film fan and now to have produced a film that seems to really resonate with our audience is overwhelming,” said producer Cúán MacConghail, when discussing the two wins. “Tom has done such an incredible job in bringing his script to life and visualizing such an important historical moment in our history. There is nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said about Dónal Ó Héalaí’s performance, it is immense. And then as if our cup wasn’t full enough, we find out that we have won the audience award in Glasgow. We share so much as two nations and I am so proud that our film resonates with them.”

Director and writer Tom Sullivan added: “This was completely unexpected, and I am honoured. I would like to, from the bottom of my heart, thank everyone at The Glasgow Film Festival and The Dublin International Film Festival for believing in our film and all the people who came and voted.  These awards belong to my brilliant cast and crew, the dedicated production team at Macalla and to TG4, ScreenIreland, and the BAI. This means so much to all of us. Thank you, Glasgow and Dublin!”

The film had its world premiere as part of the Official Selection at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia last November. Arracht was created as part of the Cine4 scheme funded by TG4, Screen Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Cine4 is a new initiative to develop original feature films in the Irish language.

"TG4 congratulates Arracht on this audience recognition for the film’s UK Premier. Bringing Irish language content to all screens has been the heart of TG4's vision for audiences, and the Cine4 funding brings world class Irish language films to cinemas," says Alan Esslemont, TG4's Director General. "The Audience Award at its UK Premiere screening recognises and showcases the talent and skills of the production team in the global audio-visual market."

The film is written and directed by Tom Sullivan, featuring Dónall Ó Héalai in the starring role. It is produced by Cúán MacConghail and backed by Screen Ireland and TG4.

Arracht releases in Irish cinemas on April 3rd.

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