Irish Film in 2016

#IrishFilm: The Irish Film Board looks back at phenomenal 2016

The Irish Film Board has issued a new release looking back at a phenomenally successful year for Irish Film at home and internationally. 2016 began in unprecedented Oscar glory for Irish film talent and continued to be a phenomenally successful year for Irish film with major international exposure for major titles and breakout hits with local audiences.

Building on the success achieved through films like Room, Brooklyn, The Lobster, Love and Friendship, The Young Offenders and A Date for Mad Mary, actors, directors, producers and animators have continued to be recognised for their work by both audiences and critics at home and abroad throughout 2016.

In recognition of the success of Irish film talent, and of the phenomenal growth potential for film and TV content globally,  the audio-visual sector is identified as a priority area by Government in its ‘Action Plan for Jobs’, and throughout 2016 Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ Irish Film Board has been working with partners in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the IDA to drive and support sustained growth in the industry, and to promote Ireland internationally as a premier film location.

James Hickey, CEO, of the Irish Film Board said:

Established and emerging Irish film talent have been making their mark in both the international and domestic markets in 2016. The success is not only measurable in box office figures and awards, but also in deserved recognition from critics and industry peers. Much has been achieved in 2016 and in our five-year strategy which we launched this July, we remain ambitious in our plans and aspirations for industry.

 2016 – Month by Month Highlights


  1. Saoirse Ronan wins the Best Actress award for Brooklyn at the New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards.
  2. Room and Brooklyn receive a total of seven Academy Awards® nominations. Both films are nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, whilst Brie Larson and Saorise Ronan are also nominated for the Best Actress award for their respective roles in each film. Lenny Abrahamson also receives a Best Director nomination for Room.
  3. Saoirse Ronan is awarded British/Irish Actress of the Year at the London Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance in Brooklyn.


  1. Brooklyn is awarded Best Film award at the Evening Standard Film Awards whilst Emma Donoghue wins Best Screenplay for Room. Brooklyn also receives the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film.
  2. Room is a major hit, taking €1.3 million at the Irish box office.
  3. Irish animated series Puffin Rock, wins Best Animated Series and Best New Series at the Kidscreen Awards.
  4. IFB and the IDA collaborate to harness international focus on Ireland in the run-up to the Oscars, promoting Ireland as a production and innovation destination.
  5. Benjamin Cleary wins the Academy Award® for Best Short Film for Stutterer and actress Brie Larson picks up the Academy Award for Actress in a Leading Role Room.
  6. Viva wins the publicly-voted AUDI-ence award at ADIFF 2016 and takes home Best Irish Film at the Dublin Film Critics’ Choice Awards, where writer Mark O’Halloran also receives the George Byrne Maverick Award. Geist is named Best Irish Short whilst Atlantic wins Best Irish Documentary.



  1. I Am Not A Serial Killer receives its world premiere at the prestigious SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas with How Was Your Day? winning Best Narrative. Sing Street and Geist are also screened.
  2. Bobby Sands: 66 Days, Mattress Men and The Land of the Enlightened all have their world premieres at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
  3. The Hallow wins Best Horror at Empire Awards.



  1. Room and Brooklyn are the big winners at the 2016 IFTA Film & Drama Awards
  2. My Name is Emily, Love & Friendship and You’re Ugly Too all feature as part of the Irish Spotlight line-up at Newport Beach Festival, California.
  3. Irish film One Million Dubliners wins the Silver World Medal at the 2016 New York Festival’s World’s Best TV & Film Awards.
  4. The Wall Street Journal calls Irish film Viva a “perfect film and a testament to the portability, not to mention the universality, of talent” and it is a critic’s pick in the New York Times.


  1. Irish actress Ruth Negga is a major hit at the Cannes Film Festival, walking the red carpet for Loving.
  2. The Lobster and Love & Friendship top the US independent box office.



  1. After filming from Cork to Donegal along the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, the Irish leg of Star Wars: Episode VIII wraps.
  2. Two Irish short animations A Coat Made Dark and Geist are selected for the Grand Competition in the 26th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb.
  3.  The Edinburgh International Film Festival opens with nine Irish films in the selection including Mom & Me, History’s Future, The Last King, Moon Dogs, Tiger Raid, Viva, My Name is Emily, Mammal, and a world premiere for Lost in France.
  4. Room’s Lenny Abrahamson, Emma Donoghue, Nathan Nugent and Ed Guiney are invited to become members of The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences alongside Brooklyn’s John Crowley, Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey, The Shore’s Orlagh George and Stutterer’s Benjamin Cleary.


  1. Several Irish films win awards at the Galway Film Fleadh including The Young Offenders and A Date for Mad Mary for joint Best Irish Feature, Best International First Feature for Moon Dogs, Best Irish First Feature for Sanctuary and Best Cinematography for It’s Not Yet Dark, which also wins Best Irish Feature Documentary. Seána Kerslake (A Date for Mad Mary) is presented with the Bingham Ray New Talent Award.
  2. IFB launches a five-year strategy, Building on Success, following a year of unprecedented critical and commercial success for Irish film.
  3. Entertainment Weekly lists three IFB-funded films, Viva, The Lobster and Sing Street in their Top Ten Films of 2016.



  1. A Terrible Hullabaloo, The Party, A Coat Made Dark, City of Roses, Geist and How Was Your Day? are all selected for the prestigious Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol.
  2. Bobby Sands: 66 Days documentary breaks Irish opening weekend box office records, going on to take in over €260,000.


  1. Irish films Maudie and A Coat Made Dark have world premieres at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival.
  2. Darren Thornton’s A Date for Mad Mary is released in Irish cinemas to major acclaim for Seana Kerslake.
  3. An unprecedented eight Irish films are selected for the Toronto International Film Festival: The Secret Scripture, Maudie, Unless, Without Name, Handsome Devil, Brain on Fire, Second to None, and Forever Pure.
  4. Richie Smyth’s The Siege of Jadotville is released in Irish cinemas.
  5. Peter Foott’s The Young Offenders is released in Irish cinemas, going on to take in over €1.1 million at the Irish box office.
  6. Production begins on The Professor and the Madman starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn.
  7. I Am Not A Serial Killer wins the Silver Méliès – the top prize for best film – at Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival.


  1. Screen Training Ireland, IFB and Troy Studios host a special film industry open day in Limerick including panel discussions and seminars with leading industry professionals attended by over 1,000 people.
  2. The Secret Scripture, I Am Not A Serial Killer, Without Name, A Date for Mad Mary, The Young Offendersand A Dark Song all feature in the 60th edition of the BFI London Film Festival.
  3. Minister Humphreys announces an increase of €2 million in Budget 2017 for Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.
  4. Billy O’Brien wins the prestigious Audience Award at the Sitges Official Fantàstic Film Festival for I Am Not A Serial Killer.
  5. Without Name receives four awards at the Brooklyn Horror Festival including Best Feature, Best Director for Lorcan Finnegan, Best Cinematography for Piers McGrail and Best Editing for Tony Cranstoun.


  1. Two IFB films, The Lobster and Sing Street, listed among Vanity Fair’s top nine movies of 2016
  2. I Am Not A Serial Killer receives three major British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) nominations including Best Screenplay, Best Actor for Max Records and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Lloyd.
  3. Minister Heather  Humphreys commissions an economic analysis of Ireland’s screen-based creative industries.
  4. Room is nominated for two European Film Awards including European Film 2016 and European Screenplay 2016. The Land of the Enlightened is nominated for European Documentary 2016.
  5. Two Irish feature documentaries, Frankie Fenton’s It’s Not Yet Dark, and Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s In Loco Parentis, are selected to screen at the prestigious 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
  6. The Guardian lists Sing Street, Room and Love and Friendship in their best films of 2016

December (so far)

  1. Ruth Negga is nominated for ‘Best Actress’ for Loving in the US Broadcast Film Critics Association & the Broadcast Television Journalists Association 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, and Sing Street is nominated for ‘Best Song’.
  2. National Geographic lists Donegal as the top destination in the world to visit in 2017, citing its starring role in Star Wars as a contributing factor.