Carmel Winter’s second feature film Float Like a Butterfly has won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme at the Toronto International Film Festival. Watch her full amazing acceptance speech below.

Set in 1960’s/70’s Ireland, the film stars Hazel Doupe (Into the Badlands, Michael Inside) and Dara Devaney (Grace Harte, An Klondike) in the leads of Frances and Michael respectively. The story sees Frances, a young Irish Traveller, fighting for the right to pursue her passion…boxing. She is determined to make her idol Muhammad Ali proud, as well as her father who has recently been released from prison. But when she wants to show him just how tough she is, she soon comes to realise he’s got other plans for her.

The cast also includes a host of talented new and established Irish screen actors, including Lalor Roddy (Maze, Michael Inside), Hilda Fay (Fair City, Kisses), Aidan O’Hare (Resistance, Maze), Lisa Lambe (Olive, Bachelor’s Walk), Aaron Monaghan (Striking Out, Maze), and introducing Johnny Collins.

The jury called the film “a pastoral and traditional bucolic film, capturing the familiar angst and anxiety a young adult woman undergoes in order to have her say in the scheme of things in a predominately male-driven patriarchal society.”

“Through her spectacular and deft narrative, nuanced understanding of the dilemmas women face, and a pitch-perfect performance by Hazel Doupe, this film is a triumph of free spirit.”

Float Like a Butterfly has been long gestating for writer/director Winters. Her debut feature, Snap, was released in 2011 and won awards both home and abroad, including Best Film and Best Director from the Dublin Critic’s Circle at the Dublin International Film Festival. In the interim, she has worked in theatre and was Film Artist in Residence (Screenwriter) from 2014 to 2015 at University College Cork.

The film is produced by Martina Niland and David Collins for Port Pictures and Samson Films and co-produced by Cathleen Dore. It has received financial support from Screen Ireland / Fís Éireann and The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Post-production took place at Egg Post Production with editor Julian Ulrichs (Sing Street). DoP on the film is Michael Lavelle (Patrick’s Day).

Last week Winters got married to her production designer Toma McCullim at City Hall before their premiere. So this win caps a great week for her.

We couldn’t have wished for an audience more capable to opening their hearts and witnessing our film… I can’t believe the jury choose to see our film in such a loving way as to give us this recognition today. I am so grateful to you all. To the travelling women of Ireland, the travelling people of Ireland, thanks for trusting me with your story.
Carmel Winters

We are delighted to see ‘Float Like Butterfly receive such strong international praise at TIFF. We are very proud of Carmel, Hazel and the entire team behind the film. An international accolade such as this makes a big difference for an independent film, raising the profile of the team, and ensuring audiences around the globe will have an opportunity to see the film in the coming months.
James Hickey, CEO – Screen Ireland

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