- 24 Nov 20
The Irish language film is set to be released in cinemas in Spring.
The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced that Irish language film Arracht has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category, at the upcoming 93rd annual Academy Awards.
The film was selected by IFTA’s 2021 Selection Committee, which included director Lenny Abrahamson, actor Ciarán Hinds, composer Eímear Noone, producer Macdara Kelleher, actress Fionnula Flanagan and David Flynn. The Committee was chaired by IFTA's CEO Áine Moriarty.
Arracht, which is told almost entirely in the Irish language, is set in 1845, on the eve of The Great Famine. Written and directed by Tom Sullivan, Arracht won two Irish Academy Awards at this year’s virtual IFTA ceremony, along with multiple IFTA Nominations. The film stars Dónall Ó Héalai who is a ‘Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2020’, alongside Dara Devaney, Michael McElhatton, and newcomer Saise Ní Chúinn.
Arracht joins an impressive list of Irish-made films that have been selected by IFTA’s panel to represent Ireland at the Oscars in recent years. Last year, IFTA submitted the Arabic language documentary Gaza to represent Ireland, and previous selections have included Viva (Spanish language); Song of Granite (Irish language); As If I Am Not There (Serbo-Croatian language), and Kings (Irish language) among others.
“What an honour to have Tom Sullivan’s remarkable film Arracht represent Ireland," Áine Moriarty commented, "with its powerful and striking cinematic visual from DOP Kate McCullough, who brings the audience into the heart of Ireland’s famine history. Dónall Ó Héalai’s brilliant and poignant central performance brings a gothic humanity to the storytelling that will resonate with audiences of any language”.
Director/writer Tom Sullivan noted that he was "overjoyed with the news".
"This is recognition of the team's work and dedication and to be considered on this level is a huge honour and beyond exciting," he continued. "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.”
The Best International Film Oscar contenders will next be shortlisted to 10 international finalists – which will then be ultimately shortlisted to the final five Oscar Nominees in that category. The Oscar ceremony was originally scheduled for February 28 2021, but has been moved to April 25, due to the ongoing pandemic.
Break Out Pictures will be releasing Arracht in cinemas in Spring 2021.
In the current issue of Hot Press, featuring flip covers stars Philip Lynott and Denise Chaila, we speak to Arracht star Dónall Ó Héalai, who discusses his breakthrough role in the gripping feature. Pick up a copy in shops now, or order below: