You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Irish Film and Television Academy Unveils Rising Star Award Nominees

Rebecca Daly's 'Mammal' made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival

CANNES — The Irish Film and Television Academy has revealed its Rising Star Award nominees, who are writer-directors Rebecca Daly, Alex Fegan and Stephen Fingleton, and actor Barry Ward. The winner will be announced at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards ceremony on April 9.

The award, sponsored by the Irish Film Board, puts a spotlight on Irish professionals who have “not only honed their crafts in the formative years of their career, but who have also excelled in their respective fields.” Previous recipients include Saoirse Ronan, Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, John Michael McDonagh and Jamie Dornan.

Daly made her feature debut “The Other Side of Sleep,” written with Glenn Montgomery and starring Antonia Campbell-Hughes, in 2011. The film was selected for the Cannes Résidence du Festival and premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.

She followed that with the “powerful and morally complex” feature “Mammal,” starring Rachel Griffiths in the lead role alongside up-and-coming Irish actor Barry Keoghan. It made its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Variety described it as an “elegant, elliptical character study of a shuttered divorcee and a feral delinquent.”

Fegan’s 2009 no-budget sci-fi feature called “Man Made Men” premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh to rave reviews. His debut feature documentary “The Irish Pub” secured a general release in cinemas across Ireland in 2014, and played in 2015 on Irish TV channel RTE One, and the History Channel in Australia and New Zealand, and sold to Netflix.

In 2015, Fegan directed “Older Than Ireland,” which looks at the lives of 30 people in Ireland aged 100 years of age or older. The film won best Irish documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh, and he was nominated for the Bingham Ray New Talent Award. It was picked up by Element Pictures Distribution and went on theatrical release in September, becoming one of Ireland’s most successful documentaries of all time.

Northern Irish writer/director Stephen Fingleton’s screenplay for “The Survivalist” was voted by Hollywood film executives onto the Black List and topped the U.K. equivalent, the Brit List, for the year’s best unproduced scripts in 2013.

“The Survivalist” premiered last year at the Tribeca Film Festival to critical praise. Fingleton won a special jury mention in Tribeca’s best new narrative director category, a British Independent Film Award for debut feature, and the Citizen Kane award for new director from the Sitges Film Festival. He was nominated for an outstanding debut by BAFTA as well as being recognized as a BAFTA Breakthrough Talent. The film has been nominated for four IFTA Awards, including film and director.

Ward began his career at the age of 14 in Roddy Doyle’s BBC drama “Family,” and by the age of 16 he had completed a BBC six-part series “Plotlands.” His first feature, “Sunburn,” shot in the U.S., featuring Cillian Murphy. Eclectic roles across film and television followed including “The Claim” (opposite Peter Mullan), “Watchmen” (opposite Murphy) and “City of Vice” (opposite James McEvoy).

A big break for Ward came in 2013 when he was cast in the lead role in Ken Loach’s “Jimmy’s Hall.” Ward received rave reviews for his performance as Jimmy Gralton in the period drama, which premiered at Tribeca 2013 and went on to screen in cinemas around the world.

This year Ward has had starring roles in three television and film projects, and cemented his status as one of Ireland’s rising stars. In Paul Mercier’s “Pursuit,” an adaptation of Irish classic “Diarmuid and Grainne,” Ward took the lead in the film opposite Ruth Bradley, with a cast that also included Brendan Gleeson and Liam Cunningham. In RTÉ drama series “Rebellion,” Ward was one of five leads playing soldier Arthur Mahon opposite Ruth Bradley, Brian Gleeson, Charlie Murphy, and last year’s Rising Star winner, Sarah Greene. In Declan Recks’ political thriller “The Truth Commissioner,” which received an Irish cinema release as well as being broadcast on BBC in the U.K., Ward played ex-IRA man Michael Madden opposite Roger Allam, Simone Kirby and Sean McGinley.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • In ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ Edward Norton Takes

    In ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ Edward Norton Takes on Timeless Power Struggles

    In Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” the ‘50s-set New York noir detective story he produced, directed, wrote and stars in, politics are never far from the surface. But they’re not the obvious parallels to any racist autocrats from New York of modern times, but instead focus on more timeless politics – the way disabled people and [...]

  • 'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at

    'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at EnergaCamerimage Film Festival

    “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s bid, along with director Todd Phillips, to try something “perhaps even a bit artful” won big Saturday in Torun, Poland as he took the top prize at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival. The Golden Frog for cinematography, along with the audience prize, went to his work filming Joaquin Phoenix in the [...]

  • Roberto Schaefer

    Netflix Image Enhancement Rules Take Cinematographers by Surprise

    A Netflix requirement that cinematographers capture films in HDR, or high dynamic range, has taken many by surprise, filmmakers say, but those at the 27th EnergaCamerimage festival in Poland seem increasingly accepting of the change. DP Roberto Schaefer, whose “Red Sea Diving Resort” screened at the cinematography fest in the historic city of Torun, said [...]

  • Lech Majewski and Josh Hartnett

    Lech Majewski on ‘Valley of the Gods,’ Navaho Mythology, Josh Hartnett, Keir Dullea

    TORUN, Poland – In his latest work, “The Valley of the Gods,” director Lech Majewski explores the ancient mythology of a downtrodden people and the absurd wealth of the world’s richest man in a surreal vision of modern America. The film screened at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival as part of special showcase honoring Majewski, [...]

  • The Red Sea Diving Resort

    Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer on Gideon Raff's Thriller ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’

    TORUN, Poland – While Gideon Raff’s Netflix thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” shot largely in South Africa and Namibia, the project was a welcomed opportunity for cinematographer Roberto Schaefer due to his own memorable travels through Ethiopia. The film, which screened in the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section, is loosely based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content