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IFTA Rising Star Award Nominees Announced - Special Focus on New Talent

1st Feb 2011 Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) and the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) are delighted to announce the Rising Star Award nominees for 2011, the winner of which will be announced at the Irish Film and Television Awards ceremony on 12th February 2011.

Sponsored by the IFB and selected by a special jury, the Rising Star Award is a unique IFTA Award in that it aims to highlight exceptional new and breakthrough talent working in all areas of the Irish film industry.

The 2011 nominees are:
  • Antonia Campbell Hughes (Actress) Bright Star, When Harvey Met Bob
  • Domhnall Gleeson (Actor) True Grit, Sensation
  • Ian Power (Writer/Director) The Runway, The Wonderful Story of Kelvin Kind
  • Juanita Wilson (Writer/Director) As If I Am Not There, The Door

The 2010 Rising Star Award was won by Tomm Moore, writer/director of the Oscar nominated feature animation The Secret of Kells. Tomm has since begun working on his second feature length animation Song of the Sea.

Centurian and Hunger actor Michael Fassbender received the Rising Star Award in 2009, whilst young actress Saoirse Ronan was named the winner of the first Rising Star IFTA in 2008 for her breakthrough performance in Atonement.

Commenting of the nominations Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said:

"New and emerging talent is the life blood of the Irish film industry and this year's Rising Stars nominees have already been receiving international recognition for their work. Developing new talent is a core objective of the Irish Film Board. We are delighted to sponsor this award and look forward to working with the nominees in the future."

Áine Moriarty, Chief Executive of the Irish Film and Television Academy said:

"This important Award puts the spotlight on great Irish talent making a significant mark in the film industry at large. These four exciting Irish stars have shown themselves to be world class talents in their respective fields and I have no doubt that they will be counted among the wealth of leading Irish talents over the coming years. IFTA is proud to put the international spotlight on Irelands Rising Stars and acknowledges the Irish Film Boards on-going support of new Irish industry talent."

The 8th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards will take place at Dublin's Convention Centre on Saturday, 12 February 2011. The ceremony will broadcast live on RTE One at 9.30pm.

More about the 2011 Rising Star Award Nominees

Antonia Campbell Hughes (Actress)

Antonia Campbell Hughes is best known in the UK as Sam Spleen, daughter of Rick Spleen (Jack Dee) in BBC's popular comedy series Lead Balloon, about to start filming its 4th series. After the success of the first series of Lead Balloon, Antonia went on to be cast in a variety of comedy shows on British television alongside the likes of Jennifer Saunders and In The Thick of It's Alex McQueen, to her own one man show Bluebell Welch for MTV. Coming from an artistic/fashion background, Antonia continues to involve herself in other areas including writing and art, with a comedy series in the pipeline and her first art exhibition in a London group show set for December.

After gaining praise in a Vanity Fair review (amongst others) for her supporting role in Jane Campion's Bright Star, this past year she has turned her focus more to drama in film work, taking a break from comedy. She has just completed three feature films; The Other Side of Sleep, a psychological thriller from Cannes residency graduate Rebecca Daly, where Antonia leads the cast as reclusive sleepwalker Arlene; in When Harvey Met Bob she plays Marsha Hunt, Bob Geldof's Girl Friday in his campaign for Africa; and again leading as ex-model/ aspiring actress drifting through hedonistic ostentatious London trying to find her path in Alexandra McGuiness's Lotus Eaters.

Commenting about her Rising Star IFTA nomination, Antonia Campbell Hughes said:

"It's been a wonderful experience being a part of the vibrant energy of Irish film industry. Creative collaboration is something I have always believed in strongly, and the talent in Ireland is truly inspiring."

Domhnall Gleeson (Actor)

Domhnall Gleeson began 2011 in South Africa shooting the feature film, Judge Dredd. He has also been recently selected as one of the Berlin International Film Festival's Shooting Stars.

Domhnall earned an Irish Theatre Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Bob in American Buffalo, and his performance as Davey in Lieutenant of Inishmore earned him a Tony Award nomination, a Lucille Lortel Nomination and a Drama League Citation for his performance.

Gleesons feature film credits include the Coen Brothers' Oscar nominated True Grit , Tom Hall's Senstaion, Ian Fitzgibbon's Perrier's Bounty, George LaVoos A Dog Year, Paul Mercier's Studs and Eoghan Kidneys Stars, to name a few. On television Gleeson's credits include When Harvey Met Bob, The Last Furlong and Rebel Heart. Domhnall has also been nominated in the main IFTA Awards categories for his lead performance in When Harvey Met Bob.

Ian Power (Writer/Director)

Ian Power began directing short films with Buskers, which won Best Irish Short awards at the Galway Film Fleadh, the Cork Film Festival, and the Foyle Film Festival, and was nominated for a Turner Classic Short award at the London Film Festival. His next short, The Wonderful Story of Kelvin Kind won Best Short Drama at the Celtic Film and TV Festival and received a nationwide theatrical release from Warner Bros. His most recent short, Dental Breakdown was an Irish Film Board Short Short. This comedy-musical has won numerous festival awards including a Remi Award at the Houston Film Festival, the Award of Excellence at the LA Film Awards, and Best Short Comedy at the Fastnet Film Festival.

In 2009, Ian wrote and directed The Runway, his first feature length film, which starred Demin Bichir (Che, Weeds),Kerry Condon (The Last Station), and James Cosmo (Braveheart). The Runway is inspired by the true story of a South American pilot who crashed his plane in Co. Cork in 1983. Against all odds, the locals came together to build a runway to get him home.

The Runway premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2010 and picked up the award for Best Irish Feature. It has also screened at the international festivals including Rome, Palm Springs, Pusan and the Doha Film Festival. In July, The Runway was selected for the Director's Guild of America's Finders Series in conjunction with the SDGI enjoying a successful screening at their headquarters in Los Angeles. Most recently The Runway received four IFTA nominations including Best Film and Best Director.

Commenting about his Rising Star IFTA nomination Ian Power said:

"It's a real honor to have been nominated for the IFTA Rising Star Award and I'm delighted to be recognised as part of an energetic new wave of Irish filmmakers and actors whose momentum is as infectious as it is encouraging. I'm already overwhelmed by IFTA's response to The Runway and the addition of this nomination is really icing on the cake."

Juanita Wilson (Writer/Director)

Before she started directing, Juanita Wilson jointly developed and produced two award winning feature films; H3, written by surviving Irish hunger striker Laurence McKeown about his prison experience; and Inside I'm Dancing, starring James McEvoy.

Juanita's debut short film The Door was shot on location in Pripyat and Kiev in the Ukraine and so far has received worldwide critical acclaim both for its moving story and its cinematic imagery. The short received an Oscar nomination in March 2010 followed by a number of awards at international festivals including; Bilbao, Foyle, Cork, Warsaw, The Birds Eye Festival and the Rome Irish Festa. The Door has screened in the official selection of film festival's including Edinburgh, Telluride and Munich. At the Sarajevo Film Festival in August 2009 Stellan Skarsgard awarded Juanita the prestigious Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Bursary.

Juanita then directed the equally hard hitting feature film from the Bosnian War, As If I Am Not There, based on Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulics book of the same name. The film shot in Sarajevo, Macedonia and Sweden, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win the prestigious Silver Pyramid at the Cairo International Film Festival. Most recently it was selected to screen at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011 and received six IFTA nominations including Best Film and Best Director.

Juanita was named among Variety's Top Ten Directors to Watch for 2011 and has just optioned the Daniel Woodrell (Winters Bone) novel, The Ones You Do which she will adapt for the screen this year with filming planned for Spring 2012 in the US.

Commenting about her Rising Star Award nomination Juanita Wilson said:

"All I can say is that I am truly delighted to be chosen to be honoured in this way and I'd like to thank IFTA and the Irish Film Board for this recognition of my work and for all their support. It sounds especially nice - both the rising and the star! What an unexpected honour!"

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