2017 Ifta Awards: ‘A Date for Mad Mary’ claims best picture

Statuettes also handed out for ‘The Siege of Jadotville’ and ‘The Young Offenders’

Official trailer for ‘A Date for Mad Mary’ featuring Dublin actress Seána Kerslake. The film is directed by Darren Thornton and on general release from September 2nd. Courtesy: Element Pictures

 

Darren Thornton’s A Date for Mad Mary has won best picture at the Irish Film and Television Awards (Ifta) for film and TV drama. The statuettes were handed out to a well-behaved audience at the Mansion House in Dublin.

A serious comedy concerning a young woman settling uneasily in Drogheda after a spell in prison, A Date for Mad Mary had won rave reviews since its premiere at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival last summer. Darren Thornton, who co-wrote the script with his brother Colin, seemed sincerely surprised by the victory. “To our mam, who was our inspiration and continues to be our inspiration,” he said.

There had been fears that, following the annus mirabilis of 2015, when Irish films garnered multiple Oscar nominations, the industry would suffer a creative hangover.

Colm Meaney with his wife Ines Glorian at the Mansion House.
Colm Meaney with his wife Ines Glorian at the Mansion House.

But 2016 also delivered such admired domestic films as Richie Smyth’s The Siege of Jadotville, a Netflix production concerning a heroic moment for the Irish army, and Peter Foott’s hugely successful, eye-wateringly hilarious Cork comedy The Young Offenders. The Academy voters ended up spreading the love evenly between those and a number of other films.

The Siege of Jadotville won best director, best visual effects and, for Jason O’Mara, best supporting actor. Charleigh Bailey, who offers spirited back up to lead Seana Kerslake in A Date for Mad Mary, took best supporting actress. Peter Foott won best screenplay for The Young Offenders.

“We thought the language and the accents would be a problem,” Foott told The Irish Times. “But then we found that wasn’t a problem. We got a few bites from outside Ireland and we thought maybe this could go a bit further. Netflix bought it. They knew something we didn’t know.”

Colm Meaney won best actor in a film for his performance as the late Martin McGuinness in Nick Hamm’s The Journey. The Dubliner, who campaigned for McGuinness in the 2011 presidential election, was there to receive his award.

“Every once in a while we get to do something significant,” he said. “This was one of those projects. It meant a lot to me. To recognise and celebrate a significant event in our history.”

The Journey fictionalises the conversations between McGuinness and Ian Paisley that led to the setting up of the Stormont Assembly. “I was very moved when Martin died. I think we lost a great Irishman,” Meaney continued.

In a slightly eccentric construction, this phase of the Ifta awards honours both film and television drama. The hugely ambitious Irish-language western series An Klondike was the most nominated entertainment of the night and it ended up grabbing best TV director for Dathai Keane and best supporting actor for the long-ubiquitous Ned Dennehy. The legendary producer Morgan O’Sullivan accepted best drama series for the hairy, decapitation-friendly Vikings.

Deirdre O’Kane, hosting for the second time, remarked of one award winner: “We do love it when they win if they’ve travelled.”

Ifta were a little unlucky when, due to prior engagements, a few of the flashier winners were unable to attend. Oscar nominee Ruth Negga was awarded best actress in her absence for a beautifully subtle performance in Jeff Nichols’s civil rights drama Loving. Cillian Murphy was not there to pick up his best TV drama actor award for Peaky Blinders.

Elaine Crowley, Clara Harte and Denise McCormack at the Ifta Awards.
Elaine Crowley, Clara Harte and Denise McCormack at the Ifta Awards.

Most disappointing of all, Sir Michael Gambon, due to receive a lifetime achievement award, had to cancel his trip after being taken to hospital earlier in the week. The great actor, who was born in Dublin, has since been released from care, but his doctors felt it unwise for him to travel.

For all that, the ceremony was carried off with efficiency and quiet flair. The hiccups that have marred previous Ifta bashes look to have been left behind.

This year, before a Mansion House painted in warming spring sun, the organiser erected a 360-degree camera podium to examine fashion in the manner of a Golden Globes broadcast.

In admirably progressive fashion, both men and women were subjected to spinning analysis. Jimmy Nesbitt and the stars of The Young Offenders, Alex Murphy and Chris Walley, were among those allowing radial examination of their dinner jackets.

Michael Flynn, the divan salesmen immortalised in Mattress Men, which won best documentary, wandered amiably about the pavement like an everyday movie fan. “None of us ever thought it would get to this stage,” he told me.

O’Kane kept the jokes flowing and – happy to relate – didn’t forget to get in the essential reference to an already legendary error at another awards ceremony.

“Sorry lads there’s been a mistake,” she said as Thornton and colleagues left the stage.

It had to be done.

2017 Nominations & Winners

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Michael Gambon

BEST FILM
A Date for Mad Mary
Love & Friendship
The Secret Scripture
The Siege of Jadotville
Tomato Red
The Young Offenders

ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE FILM
Jamie Dornan - The Siege of Jadotville
Michael Fassbender - The Light Between Oceans
Colm Meaney - The Journey
Alex Murphy - The Young Offenders
Mark O’Halloran - History’s Future

ACTRESS IN A LEAD ROLE FILM
Caoilfhionn Dunne - In View
Seana Kerslake - A Date for Mad Mary
Aisling Loftus -Property of The State
Ruth Negga - Loving
Catherine Walker - A Dark Song

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE FILM
Colin Farrell - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Brendan Gleeson - Trespass Against Us
Ciaran Hinds - Bleed for This
Jason O’Mara - The Siege of Jadotville
Chris Walley - The Young Offenders

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE FILM
Charleigh Bailey - A Date for Mad Mary
Simone Kirby - Notes on Blindness
Susan Lynch - Bad Day for the Cut
Hilary Rose - The Young Offenders
Fiona Shaw - Out of Innocence

DIRECTOR FILM
Peter Foott - The Young Offenders
Jim Sheridan - The Secret Scripture
Richie Smyth - The Siege of Jadotville
Darren Thornton - A Date for Mad Mary

SCRIPT FILM
Kevin Brodbin - The Siege of Jadotville
Peter Foott - The Young Offenders
Darren Thornton & Colin Thornton - A Date for Mad Mary
Juanita Wilson - Tomato Red

GEORGE MORRISON FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
Atlantic - Risteard O Domhnaill
Bobby Sands 66 Days - Trevor Birney
In Loco Parentis - Neasa Ní Chianáin
It’s Not Yet Dark - Lesley McKimm & Kathryn Kathleen Kennedy
Mattress Men - Dave Clarke & Ciarán Deeney

SHORT FILM
Animal - Niall Owens
Baring Arms - Colm Quinn
Gridlock - Ian Hunt Duffy
Heartbreak - Dave Tynan
Lily - Graham Cantwell
Terminal - Natasha Waugh

ANIMATION
Define Intervention - Sean Cunningham
Don’t Forget the Bread - Gary Gill
The Lost Letter - Kealan O’ Rourke
Second to None - Vincent Gallagher

DRAMA
An Klondike
The Fall
Game of Thrones
Smalltown
Striking Out
Vikings

ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE IN DRAMA
Dara Devaney - An Klondike 02
Cillian Murphy - Peaky Blinders
James Nesbitt - The Secret
Aidan Turner - Poldark
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor - Trial of the Century

ACTRESS IN A LEAD ROLE IN DRAMA
Caitriona Balfe - Outlander
Elaine Cassidy - No Offence
Anne Marie Duff - Murder: The Lost Weekend
Amy Huberman - Striking Out
Ruth Negga - Preacher

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN DRAMA
Liam Cunningham - Game of Thrones
Ned Dennehy - An Klondike
Moe Dunford - Vikings
Andrew Scott - The Hollow Crown
Robert Sheehan - Fortitude

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN DRAMA
Ruth Bradley - Humans
Sinead Cusack - Call The Midwife
Dominique McElligott - House of Cards
Charlene McKenna - Ripper Street
Charlie Murphy - Happy Valley

DIRECTOR DRAMA
Anthony Byrne - Ripper Street
Ciaran Donnelly - Vikings 4
Neasa Hardiman - Z: The Beginning of Everything
Dathai Keane - An Klondike

SCRIPT DRAMA
Gerard Barrett - Smalltown
Barry Devlin - My Mother and Other Strangers
Marcus Fleming - An Klondike
James Phelan - Wrecking the Rising

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Seamus McGarvey - Nocturnal Animals
Piers McGrail - Tomato Red
Robbie Ryan - American Honey
Cathal Watters - An Klondike 2

EDITING
Colin Campbell - Young Offenders
Dermot Diskin - The Secret Scripture
Nick Emerson - I am Not Serial Killer
Una Ni Dhonghaile - The Crown

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mark Geraghty - Vikings Season 4
Mark Kelly - An Klondike 2
Anna Rackard - Love & Friendship
Derek Wallace - The Secret Scripture

COSTUME DESIGN
Joan Bergin - The Secret Scripture
Consolata Boyle - Florence Foster Jenkins
Triona Lillis - An Klondike
Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh - Love & Friendship

MAKE-UP & HAIR
An Klondike
Love & Friendship
Vikings
Wrecking the Rising

ORIGINAL MUSIC
David Holmes - The Fall
Steve Lynch - An Klondike
Patrick Cassidy - Smalltown
Brian Byrne - The Secret Scripture

SOUND
Game of Thrones
The Siege of Jadotville
Tomato Red
Without Name

VFX
Black Sails
Game Of Thrones
Ripper Street
The Siege of Jadotville

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