Meet Jordanne Jones - nominated for Best Actress IFTA at just 14
'I'm loving it. Some of my friends were like, 'aw I'd hate to give up my weekends', but I love this, so I didn't mind." Jordanne Jones is talking about her new-found career as an actress. At 14, she is this year's youngest Ifta nominee, nominated in the category of Actress in a Lead Role in Film, for her part in Frank Berry's I Used to Live Here. The movie, set mostly around her native Killinarden Estate in Tallaght, examines how a community deals with suicide.
"She's got what others spend years trying to learn,'" says Maureen Hughes, a leading casting director, and one of the founders of the Bow Street Young Filmmakers Academy, where Jordanne is now studying. "She's currently testing very positively for a major new television series. I will be very surprised if offers don't pour in." In terms of natural talent, Maureen compares her to Eamonn Owens, whom she cast as the lead in Neil Jordan's The Butcher Boy.
Before I Used to Live Here, Jordanne had appeared in school plays. Her mum spotted the notice for auditions in the local community centre on Facebook. "My ma knows that I love acting. She just told me to go for it. So I went down with a couple of my friends. We went in and Frank told me he didn't want any acting at all. That he just wanted it to be realistic and stuff. At first I wasn't sure, I was like 'what, no acting?'" she laughs. "But as it went on, I knew what he was talking about. He didn't want it too dramatic or forced. He wanted it more natural. So I got it as it went along.
"When doing the school play I noticed she was really professional" says her mother, who is Lynn Ruane, President-elect of Trinity College Students' Union.
"She's very emotionally mature," Lynn remarks. "I think because the two of us have grown up together. I was only 15 when I had her. She would know the hard teenage years I had. I was always really honest with her. And I showed her how you could flip that."
Lynn grew up in Killinarden, in the same house that they live in to this day. "I was very protective of her growing up. I suppose I wanted her to have a different experience to me. She's very, very soft, and she has empathy for people. If something's going on around her she really feels it." It's an emotional maturity that stands her in good stead with her acting.
"I wasn't told what was going on," Jordanne says of I Used to Live Here's narrative. "Every weekend I would show up and Frank would give me my script. And it wasn't filmed in order. So I didn't really fully get the movie until I sat down and watched it. I got the feeling that it was so it wouldn't be rehearsed, so it was more natural. And it got us more into the moment, instead of thinking about it."
She didn't find this approach challenging. "I thought it was a good idea. And we'd add our own bits in. There's a bit where me and my dad are at the table where I'm actually getting quite cheeky with him and that wasn't really in the script. It was more just what I thought was right."
Both Lynn and her mother Bernie will accompany Jordanne to the Iftas ceremony next Sunday. "Very emotional", says Lynn, of finding out about the nomination. "Happy that her life is taking a positive path. It's more than just acting or the Iftas for us. It's a really content feeling that these things are happening for her."
Come July 1, Jordanne, Lynne and Jordanne's eight- year-old sister Jaelynne will move into rooms in Trinity for the duration of Lynn's presidency. Jaelynne would like to learn German, and Jordanne would like to get involved in the acting society. They'll be lucky to have her.
Bow Street Young Filmmakers Academy run acting and film-making courses for 12-17-year-olds. Based in Smithfield they have a series of 2 week summer camps this June, July and August. For more information or to book a place call (01) 521-0929 or see www.bowstreet.ie
The Iftas will be broadcast on TV3
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