Irish Film: Tom Collins' An Bronntanas in contention for Oscar glory

An  Bronntanas, the film version of TG4’s new 5 part contemporary thriller, which premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh, has been chosen as Ireland’s official nomination for Best Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards.

An Bronntanas faces some stiff competition to make the nomination list, with Xavier Dolan’s Cannes Jury Prize Mommy winner the frontrunner. The category has received a recod 83 nominations from around the world, with three countries (Kosovo, Mauritania, and Panama)  submitting films for the first time.

The Irish Film & Television Academy’s Committee to put forward the film included Oscar nominated director Jim Sheridan, Oscar nominated actress Saoirse Ronan, Emmy Award winning director Dearbhla Walsh, renowned international casting director Ros Hubbard and two-time Oscar winning make-up artist Michele Burke.

The film, which is directed by Tom Collins, stars Dara Devaney (Na Cloigne), Owen McDonnell (Single Handed) alongside veteran American Irish TV and theatre actor John Finn (Cold Case). Collins’ film Kings was selected in 2007 as Ireland’s contender for the 80th Academy Awards, but missed out on a final nomination.

Speaking to the Derry Journal, the Derry born filmmaker said: “It’s very hard to get an Oscar, but being put forward for this means that the film is taken more seriously across the world and it opens up the chances of the film doing well internationally. It’s always good to see your work being seen.”

[quote]I’m delighted that the film is getting recognition outside Ireland, specially for the actors and crew. When I had the idea to do a Irish based Celtic Noir the support of our funders was clear and immediate. As we strive to build an indigenous film and TV industry, it’s crucial to show the breadth of talent we have here to the outside world.[/quote]

The film follows the rescue crew of a local independent lifeboat crew working off  the coast of Connemara, Co. Galway, who receive a distress  call on a stormy night. On discovering an abandoned fishing boat with a cargo of over a million euros worth of drugs the crew is challenged with a moral dilemma. Do they hand over the drugs to the authorities or sell them and save their struggling village. It’s a decision that will change their lives forever.

The original Irish language film and show was developed by Galway-based production company ROSG and Northern Ireland-based De Facto Films. It is directed by Tom Collins (Kings) who also produced with Ciarán Ó Cofaigh. The series was shot in various locations in Connemara, with Cian de Buitléir as the DoP.

On Jan 15 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will announce which five films have been nominated from all of the international entries to go forward in the final line-up to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Academy Awards will take place on Feb 22nd 2015 in the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood.

An Bronntanas, the TV series, will air on Thursdays at 9.30pm from October 23rd, on TG4.