The Irish Film London Awards returned last night to the beautiful setting of the Irish Embassy Ballroom, in London.
The Awards honours world-class Irish feature films, shorts and documentaries alongside Irish acting and filmmaking talent. The event also officially launches the annual Irish Film Festival London.
The Award nominees are handpicked from the films selected to screen during the festival each year. This year’s line-up includes twenty-seven films, representing Ireland’s latest mainstream and independent films. The categories include: Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Documentary, the Súil Eile Award, and The Ros Hubbard Award for Acting.
Nick Kelly’s feature debut The Drummer and the Keeper scooped this year’s Best Feature Film Award, sponsored by Tourism Ireland.
The film tells the touching story of an unlikely friendship that develops between the bipolar drummer of a rock band and an institutionalised teen suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. The Drummer and the Keeper is the festival’s Opening Night film, screening at Picturehouse Central, 6.45pm on Weds 29th November, with a Q&A with the director. Tickets are on sale now.
Director Nick Kelly said: “I’m so delighted and honoured to receive this award, on behalf of myself, my amazing producer Kate McColgan, and the incredible cast and crew who brought so much talent, energy and heart to The Drummer And The Keeper. It’s particularly sweet for me to receive this recognition in London, which was my home for nearly a decade and the city in which I gained my creative confidence.”
Best Short Film, in association with A&L Goodbody, was presented to director Louise Bagnall for her animated short Late Afternoon. This 10-minute, gracefully animated film focuses on an elderly woman drifting back through her memories, and existing between the past and present. It screens as part of the Irish Shorts programme on Friday 1st Dec at Regent Street Cinema at 5pm. Tickets are available.
Best Documentary, in association with Cara Personnel, went to The Farthest, directed by Emer Reynolds. This stunning, multi award-winning documentary brings to life the men and women who built the Voyager spaceships – one of humankind’s greatest achievements. The film will screen at the Regent Street Cinema on Sunday 3rd Dec, at 7pm with a special Q&A with Dara O’Briain and the film’s director Emer Reynolds.
The Súil Eile Award went to Kate McCullagh for her magnificent cinematography in The Farthest. This award is reserved for a talent, which the festival directors feel deserves special recognition.
The night’s final award was the Ros Hubbard Award for Acting, presented by the world-renowned casting director herself. Each year, Ros selects her favourite actor or actress from the festival line-up for this award. This award was introduced just last year when the inaugural award went jointly to Chris Walley and Alex Murphy for their parts in The Young Offenders. This year’s recipient was Jacob McCarthy, for his portrayal of Christopher, a young man with Asperger’s syndrome in The Drummer and the Keeper. Unable to attend on the night, McCarthy sent a video message from LA, where he is currently shooting on Seth Meyers’ A.P. Bio for NBC.
The festival Founder, Kelly O’Connor said, “It’s so important to us that we use every opportunity to highlight Irish filmmakers’ talents here in the UK. The Awards are the perfect way to help raise the profile of Irish film to the UK Film Industry. The event itself also gives the teams behind these films the chance to meet, and to celebrate each other’s work. And finally, it brings together Irish film fans and their heroes!”
The festival itself takes place Weds 29th Nov – Sun 3rd December, with 27 Irish films being screened at Picturehouse Central and Regent St Cinema, and panels discussions and networking events at the Grange Langham Hotel.
The full list of nominees is as follows:
BEST SHORT FILM
Inhale | Late Afternoon | 3 Friends
The Farthest | In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America
BEST FEATURE FILM
Song of Granite | Maze | The Drummer and the Keeper | The Breadwinner
ROS HUBBARD AWARD FOR ACTING
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor | Ann Skelly | Jacob McCarthy
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