Irish Wins Abroad

Last weekend saw Irish talent recognised at two award ceremonies in the US.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival awarded Irish actor Saoirse Ronan the Santa Barbara Award on Sunday night for her “sizable contribution to film”. Cartoon Saloon’s ‘The Breadwinner’ picked up Best Animated Feature – Independent at the 45th Annie Awards on Saturday night. Brown Bag Films’ Octonauts was also awarded an Annie for – ‘Best Animated Television Production of Preschool Children’.


‘The Secret Market’ Wins @ Rhodes

A new Irish short drama starring Victoria Smurfit (Once Upon a Time) has won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. The Secret Market a contemporary mystery thriller written by Conor Ryan and directed by Martina McGlynn and Garret Daly, held its world premiere over the weekend at the festival that is ranked one of the top ten film festivals in the US.

Smurfit plays Amy McCarthy, a doctor who has risen through the medical ranks to become chief surgeon. She has a near perfect life until her past comes back to haunt her. The film also features Tadhg Murphy (Black Sails, Vikings), Mark Huberman (Frank, Noble), Camille O’Sullivan (Rebellion), Jonathan White (Love Rosie, Noble) and Eric Lalor (Fair City).

Filmed on location in Ireland throughout Dublin city and Tullamore County Offaly the film was shot by IFTA winning Director of Photography James Mather (Frank, Ripper Street).  Music was composed by Golden Globe nominated and IFTA winning composer Brian Byrne (Albert Nobbs, The Secret Scripture).

The film is the debut short from Limerick writer Conor Ryan. The Secret Market is produced by Martina McGlynn, Victoria Smurfit and Garret Daly through Mixed Bag Media.



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‘Boujeloud: Father of Skins’ Wins @ Mexico International Film Festival

Daragh McCarthy’s documentary Boujeloud: Father of Skins has won a Bronze Palm in the Short Documentary category at the 2017 Mexico International Film Festival.

It has recently shown at Asbury Park Music & Film Festival New Jersey and is next showing at San Francisco DocFest 2017

Filmed in 2008 over three days in the Rif Mountains of Morocco as the Sufi Master Musicians of Joujouka perform their Rite of Boujeloud and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the recording of the 1968 album Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka.

Daragh McCarthy explains that The Master Musicians of Joujouka Morocco are Sufi trance musicians, “or perhaps a four thousand year old rock and roll band, who were introduced to the West by Paul Bowles, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Rolling Stone Brian Jones and Free Jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.

“They have acquired almost mythic status for their “panic music” playing for hours on end deep into the night. Music they say that can “heal crazy minds”

“This observational documentary is shot in the village of Joujouka during the Boujeloud festival, reputed to be a continuation of the ancient rites of Pan.

“The Master Musicians of Joujouka have been comprised of the Attar and other families from a village in the Rif Mountains of Morocco for several thousand years in a continuous tradition with the music passed from fathers to sons.

“I was invited to the village of Joujouka in the Rif Mountains of Morocco for the first truly public performance of the Boujeloud ritual in 2008 commemorating the 40th anniversary visit of Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones to the village in 1968 to record his album “The Pipes of Pan” with the Masters.

“I lived and ate in the house of musician Abdeslam Errtoubi shooting continually for three days capturing the intense music, milestone celebration and daily life of the village”.

“Boujeloud, corresponding perhaps to the Greek god Pan, is a half man half goat who originally gave the gift of music to a young shepherd from the village called Attar. In tandem with the gift of music came fertility for the crops. In return for these gifts Boujeloud was promised a wife.

“Each year Boujeloud returns to the village coming down from the mountain to steal a girl from the village to be his young bride. Distracted by the wild playing of the musicians and dancing boys who masquerade as girls he returns to his cave empty handed and exhausted next morning.


Daragh McCarthy produced, directed and shot the 27-minute documentary. Ronan O’Muirgheasa edited the project.

Daragh McCarthy is a previous winner at MIFF 2015 when the short doc Harvey Pekar’s Teo Macero received a Sliver Palm.



Tom Ryan Wins Best Young Director @ Irish Film Festival Australia

Tom Twice Shy


Filmmaker Tom Ryan has won the award for Best Young Director at this years Irish Film Festival Australia for his current feature film Twice Shy.


Twice Shy follows the story of young Irish couple as they embark on a road trip from Ireland to the UK as a result of an unplanned pregnancy. The film stars Shane Murray-Corcoran and Iseult Casey in the lead roles of Andy and Maggie, with support from A-List Irish actors Ardal O’Hanlon and Pat Shortt, and was produced by Fionn Greger.


Twice Shy is the 2nd feature film from the 30 year old Tipperary writer/ director following on from the success of his award winning debut movie Trampoline,  which is available to stream on Amazon.


The film screened as part of the Irish Film Festival Australia in Sydney on Sunday April 2nd. On winning the award Ryan said “It’s such a thrill to win an award like this. There was some fantastic competition at the festival so it’s a huge privilege to be this year’s recipient and it’s great to see that the film, with such an important message, is making an impact on audiences worldwide.”


The film’s producer Fionn Greger added “It’s a fantastic achievement for Tom to win this award and it’s a credit to him as the director of the film. I hope this continues to progress the film as we now prepare for our next screening, which will be at the marche in Cannes in May.”


Zoe Kavanagh Wins at Horrorhound Weekend Film Festival


Zoe Kavanagh won Best Director in the US at the Horrorhound Weekend Film Festival (17 – 19 March) one of the biggest horror conventions in America.

Demon Hunter was also nominated for Best Feature, Best Director and Best SFX at the festival.

Lurking in the shadows of society within the rich and powerful is the true essence of evil. A young girl, Taryn Barker, descends into this dark underworld to search for her sister, Annabelle. But when Annabelle is raped and murdered, Taryn vows to take revenge. She survives a demonic possession that should have killed her during a satanic ritual and is rescued by a team of demon hunters who train her to fight evil. Years later, Taryn is detained by police and questioned over the murder of a man who she believes to be a demon. As the bodies pile up, Detective Beckett is forced to seek Taryn’s aid in rescuing his daughter from a demonic cult. Running against the clock, Taryn must venture into the darkest depths of the city to save Beckett’s daughter and prevent a potential Hell on Earth.
Demon Hunter has won over 15 awards from multiple film festivals around the world including Grand Jury Prize Best Picture, Best Actor for Michael Parle, Best Actress for Aisli Moran at the Fight Night FIlm Fest, Best Martial Arts Film, Best Actress in a Martial Arts film for Niamh Hogan at the Anti Hero Genre Production Fest, and Best Director at Horrorhound Weekend.


2017 Irish Animation Awards’ Shortlist



The Irish Animation Awards’ shortlist has been published in advance of the awards which are taking place on Saturday 25th March in Dingle.

The awards, which are sponsored by RTÉjr, the Irish Film Board and Philip Lee, acknowledge the outstanding creative talent within the Irish animation, visual effects and gaming industries.

There are 12 categories to be awarded and there will also be the prestigious Murakami award on the night. Winners will receive a statuette, designed by animator, filmmaker and teacher Eimhin McNamara, which resembles a Phenakistoscope which was an early animation device used to create an illusion of motion.


IAA 2017 – Nominees

(listed alphabetically by show)


1. Best Animated Preschool Series (up to 6 years) ‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’ – Production Team
‘Little Roy’ – JAM Media Production team
‘Puffin Rock’ – Maurice Joyce: Director
2. Kid’s Choice Award For Best Animated Series ‘Danger Mouse’ – Peter Lewis
‘Roy’ – JAM Media Production team
‘Wander over Yonder’ – Peter Lewis: Producer, Gillian Comerford: Director, Pete Slattery: Animation Director
3. Best Animated Short Film ‘City of Roses’ – Andrew Kavanagh: Director
‘Geist’ – Alex Sherwood: Director, Ben Harper: Director, Sean Mullen: Director
‘Second to None’ – Vincent Gallagher
4. Best Writer for Preschool Animation (up to 6 years) ‘Doc McStuffins: Welcome to McStuffinsville’ – Chris Nee, Kent Redeker
‘Octonauts: The Great Swamp Search’ – Stephanie Simpson
‘Puffin Rock: The First Snow’ – Davey Moore, Sara Daddy
5. Best Writer for an Animated Series ‘Brain Freeze: (DNA): Is Every Human Being Unique?’ – Colm Tobin & Aidan O’Donovan
‘Roy: Karma Chameleon’ –  Dave Rice
‘Roy: ROY 2.0’ – Mark Hodkinson
6. Best VFX as part of Animated TV Series or Film ‘Brain Freeze’ – Ian Benjamin Kenny
‘Go Jetters’ – Rob Fletcher, Mario Bortas, Rodrigo Rocha
‘Wander Over Yonder’ – Peter Lewis: Producer, Gillian Comerford: Director, Deirdre Behan: FX Lead
7. Best Animation for Apps and Gaming ‘Her Majesty’s SPIFFING’ – Production Team, William Barr & Alan Martin
‘The Little Acre’ – Pewter Games Production Team
‘Little Roy’s Wonder Doodler’ – Niall Mooney: Director, Will Wivell: Animator
8. Best Design and Art Direction ‘Bernard Dunne’s Mythical Heroes’ – Ian Benjamin Kenny
‘Octonauts’ – Stephen O’Connor
‘Puffin Rock’ – Lily Bernard, Stefano Scapolan
9. Best Director of an Animated TV Series ‘Danger Mouse’ – Rob Cullen
‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’ – Tim Harper, Colin Williams
‘Little Roy’ – Alan Shannon
10. Best Animation ‘Puffin Rock’ – Animation Team
‘The Day Henry Met a Camera’ – Gilly: Director, Susan Broe: Producer, Andrew Dawson: Animation Director
‘Two by Two – Oops! The Ark Has Gone’ – Moetion Films Animation Team
11. Best Music and Sound Design ‘Brain Freeze’ – Stephen Kelly, Steve Lynch and Giles Packham
‘Danger Mouse’ – Dominic Lawrence: Supervising Sound Editor & Dubbing Mixer, Sol O’Carroll: Sound Editor, Andy Kirwan: Sound Editor
‘Go Jetters’ – Carl Cullen: Supervising Sound Editor & Dubbing Mixer, Edward Costello: Sound Editor
12. Best Irish Feature Film or Special ‘Song of the Sea’ – Tomm Moore
‘Two by Two – Oops! The Ark Has Gone’ – Moetion Films Team
‘Wander over Yonder: My Fair Hatey’ – Producer: Peter Lewis, Director: Gillian Comerford, Animation Director: Pete Slattery/Stephen McGann






Cardboard Gangsters’ Wins @ Manchester International Film Festival



Cardboard Gangsters by Mark O’Connor has won three awards at Manchester International Film Festival, Best Actor for John Connors, Best Feature Film and Film of the Festival. It also received special jury mentions for Original Screenplay, Directing and Cinematography.

Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe cardboard gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, Dublin, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex. Jay Connolly is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer in North Dublin, an area victimised by gangs, drugs and social problems. When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.

Starring John Connors (King of the Travellers, Love/Hate), Fionn Walton (Out of Here, What Richard Did), and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, Eastenders) and directed by Mark O’Connor and produced by Richard Bolger, the screenplay was co-written by Mark O’Connor and John Connors.

Cardboard Gangsters will be released in Irish cinemas on 5th May by Wildcard Distribution.

Cardboard Gangsters was produced for Five Knight Films and Stalker Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Egg Post Production and TV3.



‘Lily’ Success @ Santa Fe Film Festival


Lily has won the award for Best Narrative Short at the Santa Fe Film Festival. Directed by Graham Cantwell, Lily was made in conjunction with the students on The Filmbase Masters programme.

The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.


Lily was executive produced by Film Venture, Filmbase and Powerscourt Pictures and was shot on several locations in and around Dublin.