Stars turn out for Irish Film Festival London awards ceremony

Stars turn out for Irish Film Festival London awards ceremony

FILM stars, directors and producers were out in force this week for the annual Irish Film Festival London award ceremony.

The red carpet event was hosted by Irish Ambassador to Britain, Martin Fraser at the Irish Embassy in London.

L-r Deirdre Fraser and husband, the Irish Ambassador to Britain Martin Fraser pictured with boxer Steve Collins and his wife Donna

There, the Irish Film & Television UK (IFTUK) organisation announced their 2023 winners, which were largely stories by and about women.

Director Patricia Kelly’s debut film Verdigris won the Best Feature Award on the night.

The film follows the unlikely friendship between Marian, played by Geraldine McAlinden, an older woman in a loveless marriage, and young sex worker, Jewel, played by Maya O’Shea.

Verdigris producer Paul FitzSimons and director Patricia Kelly

Best Documentary went to One Night in Millstreet, which tells the story of the legendary prize fight between underdog Steve Collins and undefeated world champion Chris Eubank in Millstreet, Cork in 1995.

Veteran independent filmmaker Joe Comerford, who has dedicated his 50-year career to giving marginalised people in Ireland a voice, was the recipient of The Súil Eile Award.

Joe Comerford won the Súil Eile Award

The award acknowledged his “outstanding contribution to the Irish film industry”.

A digitally restored 2023 Director’s Cut of Comerford’s 1988 classic Reefer and the Model, was screened during the Festival.

The renowned Irish casting director Ros Hubbard, who is also Patron and Advisor of IFTUK, sponsored two awards on the night.

The Ros Hubbard Award for Acting was awarded to Alison Oliver, who starred alongside Barry Keoghan in the recently released  Saltburn.

Award winners Alison Oliver and Éanna Hardwicke pictured with Daniel Hubbard (centre)

The Cork woman also previously starred in the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends and earlier this year appeared alongside Sharon Horgan and Martin Sheen in the BBC series Best Interests.

The Award for Acting was also given to Éanna Hardwicke, an actor and filmmaker who also hails from Cork and has starred in the likes of Normal People and The Sixth Commandment.

Judges Colm Bairead and Cleona Nì Chrualaoi, the husband and wife team behind Oscar-nominated Irish language film The Quiet Girl

The jury for the 2023 Irish Film Awards was headed by Festival Director Michael Hayden, and included Colm Bairéad and Cleona Ní Chrualaoí, the Director and Producer of The Quiet Girl, Anna Rodgers and Shaun Dunne, Director and Producer of How to Tell a Secret, Kelly Campbell, Director of An Encounter and IFTUK Board Members Peter Curran, Steven Greenfield and Tara Gaule.