An Irish film has won an award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the United States.
Once, directed and written by John Carney of Bachelor’s Walk fame, took the World Cinema Audience Award in the dramatic category at the prestigious event.
Martina Niland, the producer with Samson Films, said: “We’re overwhelmed at the response of the Sundance audiences to our film Once all week. We have received over 150 positive reviews for the film in both the film and music press.
“Winning this award has capped off what has been an amazing experience for us, in particular watching the festival embrace our film so positively.”
The film Once, starring Frames frontman Glen Hansard and Czech singer Marketa Irglova, is a modern-day musical which tells the story of a busker and an immigrant who fall in love over a week as they record a number of songs.
Arts Minister John O’Donoghue said: “The Sundance Film Festival is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. I wish to offer my congratulations to John, Glen and the rest of the cast and crew on this a marvellous achievement. This is yet another great day in the continued growth of the Irish film industry.”
Simon Perry, chief executive of the Irish Film Board, said: “For a such a personal Irish film to breakthrough and win such an important award is real recognition of original and independent film-making. John Carney is clearly one of Ireland’s most gifted film directors and we look forward to working with him again in the future.”
The annual Sundance Film Festival, originally founded by Robert Redford, is world-renowned as a showcase for the best in new independent cinema.
This year’s programme included 82 world premieres, among the 122 feature titles selected from 25 different countries. The films were chosen from among 1,435 entries from countries outside of the US.
Samson Films produced Once with funding from the Irish Film Board.
Other Irish films which have been shown at the festival include Song for a Raggy Boy directed by Aisling Walsh in 2003 and Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday, which scooped the Audience Award in 2002.
Irish audiences will have a chance to see the film when it premieres at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival on Monday February 19 next.