Irish language film selected as Ireland’s entry to 2021 Oscars

by Rachel Darcy

An Irish language film has been selected by the IFTA as Ireland’s entry to the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category for the upcoming 93rd annual Academy Awards.

Arracht was written and directed by Dubliner Tom Sullivan and stars Dónall Ó Héalaí alongside Dara Devaney, Michael McElhatton, and newcomer Saise Ní Chúinn.

Arracht was produced by Cúán Mac Conghail for Dublin-based Macalla Teoranta with executive producers Brendan McCarthy and John McDonnell of Fantastic Films. Arracht premiered to critical acclaim at the prestigious Tallinn Black Nights Festival in 2019.

Set in Ireland in 1845, Arracht centres on Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, a father, a husband, who takes in a stranger at the behest of a local priest.

Tom Sullivan, writer/director of Arracht said: “I am overjoyed with the news that Arracht has been chosen by the IFTA selection committee to represent Ireland in the Oscar’s Best International Film category.

“This is recognition of the team’s work and dedication and to be considered on this level is a huge honour and beyond exciting. It’s been a funny old year to be in the film business but the support Arracht has received from everyone has really kept us going.

“Thank you to our funders Screen Ireland, BAI, and TG4 and thank you IFTA for all your support.”

Arracht was selected as this year’s nomination by IFTA’s special Selection Committee, which this year included director Lenny Abrahamson, actor Ciarán Hinds, composer Eímear Noone, Producer Macdara Kelleher, actress Fionnula Flanagan and David Flynn. The Committee was chaired by Academy CEO Áine Moriarty.

Arracht won two IFTA Awards at this year’s Awards Ceremony, along with 9 other IFTA Nominations. It premiered in 2019 in Tallinn, and has won accolades at other festivals including the Dublin International Film Festival, The Galway Film Fleadh, and the Glasgow Film Festival.

The Best International Film contenders will next be shortlisted to 10 international finalists, which will then be ultimately shortlisted to the final 5 Oscar Nominees in that category ahead of the Oscars ceremony in April 2021.

Break Out Pictures will be releasing Arracht in cinemas, Spring 2021.

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