An amateur Belfast filmmaker has said he was “shell-shocked” today after being nominated for an Oscar.
Father-of-three Michael Creagh, 37, from Belfast, is up against four others in the short film category for his 15-minute feature 'The Crush'.
“I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet, I think it will take a while,” said Creagh. “I feel a bit shell-shocked. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, it’s a bit surreal.”
The Crush tells the story of an eight-year-old schoolboy – played by Creagh’s son Oran – who is so besotted with his teacher that he challenges her boyfriend to a duel to the death.
“I don’t know how much a 10-year-old knows about the whole Oscar thing, but Oran seems to be getting that it’s pretty big,” said Creagh.
The film was shot in Easter 2009 in Skerries, north Dublin, where he lives with his wife and children.
The freelance art director, who has worked with several advertising agencies, financed the film himself along with help from his father and a bank loan.
It was his first attempt at a film and was put forward for Academy Award consideration after winning Best Irish Short at the Foyle Film Festival in Derry.
“I had to just go ahead and do it,” said Creagh. “I thought ’I’m not getting any younger, I need to get off my backside and get it done’.”
'The Crush' is the seventh Irish short film to be nominated for an Oscar since 2002.
Written and directed by Creagh, it was produced by Damon Quinn for Purdy Pictures.
Teresa McGrane, deputy chief executive of the Irish Film Board, described the nomination as fantastic.
“This is a huge achievement and is an indication of the high level of new talent we have working in the Irish film industry,” she added.
Pat Moylan, chairman of the Arts Council, said she was delighted for Creagh.
“The nomination of an Irish director for such a prestigious international honour shows the high esteem in which Irish artists are held around the world,” she said.
“Such recognition is a tribute to our creative, vibrant and innovative society.”