TV presenter Laura Whitmore has won her first award for acting - after making her debut in a self-written film.
The former MTV star received the Ros Hubbard Award for Acting at the Irish Film Festival London Awards 2019.
The award is chosen and presented by the legendary casting director Ros Hubbard, who is a supporter of the IFFL and its original patron.
Ms Hubbard, who is responsible for the discovery of such acting talents as Colin Farrell, Jonathon Reese Meyers and Keira Knightley, flew in from her home in Dingle to present the award personally to Ms Whitmore, who, in turn, flew from New York to receive it.
The awards night took place at the Irish Embassy in London, on November 12, and was hosted by Irish Ambassador Adrian O’Neill.
Wicklow-born Whitmore made her acting debut in Sadhbh, a short film, which she also wrote, about a young mother struggling to keep things together under challenging personal circumstances.
Previous winners of the Acting award include Young Offenders stars Chris Walley and Alex Murphy, Jacob McCarthy (The Drummer and the Keeper, AP Bio) and Sarah Greene (Rosie, Dublin Murders).
Elsewhere on the night, Bronagh Gallagher’s raucous, sassy comedy A Bump Along the Way - a tenacious, heart-warming comedy about a middle-aged single mother who finds herself pregnant again, picked up the Best Feature Film Award, in association with HUNCH Poitin.
The film is directed by Shelley Love, produced by Louise Gallagher, and stars Derry born star Bronagh Gallagher (The Commitments, Pulp Fiction, The Personal History of David Copperfield) and Lola Petticrew (Here Are the Young Men and The Return of The Yuletide Kid).
The Suil Eile Award, in association with Corrigan’s of Mayfair, is the festival’s ‘wildcard’ award, presented every year to a film or a filmmaker that it is felt deserves recognition outside of the regular awards.
The award this year went to Extra Ordinary, directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, a comedic horror film about a small-town driving instructor with psychic powers.
The Best Documentary Award, in association with Tourism Ireland, was won by Cumar: A Galway Rhapsody.
The feature length film is a visual love poem to the city and its artistic legacy, and features contributions from Tommy Tiernan, Mike McCormack, Rita Ann Higgins, Róisín Seoighe, Noeline Kavanagh, Pádraic Reaney, Máirtín O’Connor.
It is directed by Aodh Ó Coileáin and produced by Paddy Hayes.
The Best Short Film Award, run in association with Cara Personnel and CKO, was won by Cynthia, a drama set across one fraught evening among friends, which stars Moe Dunford, one of the rising names of Irish film and recently announced as a new patron for the IFFL.
Cynthia is directed by Jack Hickey and produced by Lara Hickey who attended to receive their award on awards night.
For the second year running, the festival has teamed up with The Irish Jam team for the Best Irish Music Video Award, which this year went to the video for The Young People from the band Lankum and directed by Bob Gallagher.
Kelly O’Connor, Founder and Director of the IFFL, said: “The judges this year had a really tough time deciding on their final choices, just because of the sheer quality of the films. We are proud to once again be the showcase for such a brilliant and unique display of Irish screen talent here in the UK.”
All of the award-winning films feature in the line-up for the 2019 Irish Film London Festival, which kicks off tomorrow.
The festival, now in its ninth year, returns to its established home, the Regent Street Cinema, and runs from Wednesday 20 November to Sunday 24 November.
Find more details here