Gibson to receive Outstanding Contribution Award at IFTA's

Hollywood veteran Mel Gibson is jetting into Ireland to receive a gong at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA's) next weekend.

Hollywood veteran Mel Gibson is jetting into Ireland to receive a gong at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA's) next weekend.

The Australian star will receive the inaugural 'Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Award' at the 5th annual IFTA's at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.

Gibson, 51, has starred in over 48 film and television productions, including 'Braveheart', which he shot in Ireland in 1994.

The movie was the first major international film to use Ireland as a location under new tax incentives and went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The Irish Film and Television Academy, which runs the Iftas event on February 17, said the actor, producer and director had many fans in Ireland.

Academy chief Aine Moriarty said: “We hope this award will take pride of place on his crowded mantelpiece.

“His drive, vision and determination have inspired so many young Irish filmmakers over the past three decades who have followed his creative journey in filmmaking, both in front of and behind the camera, moreover since he filmed the epic Braveheart here, which won five Academy Awards.”

Gibson has Irish connections on both his mother’s and father’s side.

His late mother, Anne Patricia Reilly, was born in Co Longford and his great grandfather on his father’s side was Patrick Mylott, who emigrated from Ireland to Australia during the Famine.

The actor first came to Ireland when he was 12, when his parents visited to trace the family’s Irish roots.

Mel’s name comes from the Church of Saint Mel, located in Co Longford, while his middle name, Colmcille is that of a well-loved Irish saint.

Braveheart, which boosted the careers of Irish actors such as Brendan Gleeson, also featured members of the Irish army reserve in battle scenes.

Gibson began his career on Australian TV but his breakthrough role in film was in 1979’s 'Mad Max'.

He achieved international stardom in 1987 as LAPD detective Martin Riggs in 'Lethal Weapon' – which later spawned three sequels.

In the years following 'Braveheart', he has starred in 'Ransom', 'Conspiracy Theory', 'The Patriot' and 'We Were Soldiers'.

His most recent works as a director were 2004’s controversial 'The Passion of the Christ' and 2006’s 'Apocalypto'.

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