Tale of a busker makes it to US film industry fame as Irish movie wins Sundance award

AN Irish film has won an award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the US.

Once, directed and written by John Carney of Bachelor’s Walk fame, took the World Cinema Audience Award in the dramatic category.

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 the film and music press.”

Starring Frames lead singer Glen Hansard and Czech singer Marketa Irglova, the movie 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 — which provided funding for the film — said: “For a such a personal Irish film to break through 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, 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. Irish film Bloody Sunday won the Audience Award in 2002.

Irish audiences will have a chance to see Once when it premieres at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival on February 19.

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