‘Arracht’ has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category.
Arracht is an Irish-language feature film from the Cine4 initiative has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category at the upcoming 93rd annual Academy Awards.
Cine4 is a partnership between TG4, Screen Ireland, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to develop original feature films in the Irish language.
Arracht was written and directed by Tom Sullivan and starring Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2020 Dónall Ó Héalaí, alongside Dara Devaney, Michael McElhatton, and newcomer Saise Ní Chúinn.
Arracht premiered to critical acclaim at the Tallinn Black Nights Festival in 2019.
Set in Ireland in 1845, Arracht centres on Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, a father, a husband, who takes in a stranger at the behest of a local priest.
Patsy, a former soldier arrives just ahead of ‘the blight,’ a crop disease that caused the Great Famine, killing and displacing millions of Irish people.
As the crops rot in the fields, Colmán, his brother and Patsy travel to the English Landlord’s house to request a stay on rent increases that Colmán predicts will destroy his community.
His request falls on deaf ears and Patsy’s subsequent actions set Colmán on a path that will take him to the edge of survival, and sanity. It is only upon encountering an abandoned young girl that Colmán’s resolve is lifted. Just in time for the darkness of his past to pay another visit.
“Too often, great creative talent in Irish is invisible in Ireland, solely because they create, act or broadcast in the country’s minority language,” said Alan Esslemont, Director General of TG4.
“Thus when TG4, Screen Ireland and the BAI launched the Cine4 scheme, we said that we chose to go, not to the moon, but to the Oscars. The vision was to seek international validation for cultural and creative works in the Irish language. We want to see Irish language cinema develop, be recognised nationally and grow a global footprint of appreciation.”
Arracht was selected by IFTA’s special Selection Committee, which this year included Director Lenny Abrahamson (Normal People, Room, Frank), Actor Ciarán Hinds, (Munich, The Woman in Black, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Composer, and the first female conductor at the Oscars, Eímear Noone, Producer Macdara Kelleher (Foundation, The Green Knight, Black ’47), actress Fionnula Flanagan (The Guard, The Others) and David Flynn (Exec VP of International Strategy at Paramount TV).
The Committee was chaired by Academy CEO Áine Moriarty.
The Irish language film Arracht won two IFTA Awards at this year’s Awards Ceremony along with 9 other IFTA Nominations.
Since its premiere, Arracht has won accolades at other festivals including the Dublin International Film Festival, The Galway Film Fleadh, and the Glasgow Film Festival.
The Best International Film contenders will next be shortlisted to 10 international finalists which will then be ultimately shortlisted to the final 5 Oscar Nominees in that category in advance of the Oscar ceremony which was originally scheduled for 28th February but has been shifted out to April 2021, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Where can I watch Arracht?
Break Out Pictures will be releasing the full movie in cinemas, Spring 2021.