Irish Screen America, the organisation which promotes Irish filmmakers in the U.S., has named the recipients of their Rising Star Awards, ahead of their annual festival. The Irish Screen America festival is a bi-coastal event, taking place in New York from 19th – 21st October and in Los Angeles from 26th – 28th October. The festival also announced actor and director Hugh O’Conor as the second ever recipient of the Jim Sheridan Award for Achievement in Irish Filmmaking.

Jim Sheridan is a patron of the festival and was one of the earliest directors to work with the young Hugh O’Conor as an actor. The two have enjoyed a long history, since O’Conor played the young Christy Brown in Sheridan’s Oscar® winning debut film, My Left Foot. O’Conor went on to star in many more films over the years, including Chocolat (2000), Handsome Devil (2016) and Mary Shelley (2017) and has broken out as a director in his own right, having directed many short films over the years. This year, O’Conor completed his first feature film as a director, a coming-of-age dramedy called Metal Heart, which will open the 2018 Irish Screen America festivities in Los Angeles, as a members-only gala screening.

Jordanne Jones in Metal Heart

Jordanne Jones in Metal Heart

Since its inception, Irish Screen America has grown in tandem with the Irish film industry and connected Irish films with audiences and distributors in the U.S., and promoted upcoming Irish talent within its North American creative network. Previous recipients of Irish Screen America’s Rising Star Award include actors Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) and Nika McGuigan (Can’t Cope Won’t Cope) and directors Cathy Brady (Can’t Cope Won’t Cope) and Tom Ryan (Twice Shy) among others.

The recipients of this year’s Irish Screen America Rising Star Awards are:

  • Director Donal Ó Céilleachair, whose sea voyage documentary The Camino Voyage opens the New York leg of the festival
  • Screenwriter Máire Campbell, whose Northern Irish family drama Grace & Goliath will premiere in both New York and Los Angeles
  • Director Vincent Lambe, whose true crime drama Detainment has picked up awards in Poland and Denmark
  • Actor/producer Natalie Britton, who produced two of the selected shorts, the dark comedies Egg Day and Sam Did It

Detainment plays as part of an Irish short film showcase. Other selected short films include Take Me Swimming (Director Claire Dix), My Future Self (Director Jake McKone), Smoked Mackerel​ / Ronnachaí Buí (Director Ciarán Charles), Wave (Directors Benjamin Cleary & TJ O’Grady-Peyton), Troubles (Director Jonathan Harden) and Sister (Director by Aoife Duffin).

Egg Day and Sam Did It will screen as part of a short film programme showcasing films made by Irish filmmakers living in Los Angeles. Other selected films include: Tae Talk (director Liam Alex Heffron), No Irish Need Apply (director Bill Fitzpatrick), The Beast (director Lorcan Fox), Bless Me Father (director Paul Horan), The Owl (director Neil Winterlich) and Sucking Diesel, the first episode in a new web series (director Maurice O’Connell). Filmmakers will be in attendance for a group Q+A after the screenings.

Emmet Kirwan in The Owl

Emmet Kirwan in The Owl

These mixed media collections of short filmmaking showcase the wealth of Irish talent working on both sides of the Atlantic. A highly anticipated part of ISA’s annual festival, they will screen in addition to the previously-announced feature film line-up, which includes Metal Heart, The Camino Voyage, Grace & Goliath and coming-of-age prison drama, Michael Inside.

Irish Screen America is sponsored by Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Culture Ireland, Tourism Ireland, the Irish Film Institute and Aer Lingus. Irish Screen America: Los Angeles takes place in conjunction with Ireland Week.

Irish Screen America: New York takes place from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st October at NYU’s Cantor Film Center. Irish Screen America: Los Angeles takes place from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th October at Loyola Marymount University.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit irishscreenamerica.com.

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