THE wealth of talent emerging from Kerry's film and TV stars was showcased to the nation on Saturday night, when some of our most talented stars from the industry were honoured at the prestigious Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs).
Knockanure man Gerard Barrett was a major winner on the night, picking up the coveted 'Rising Star Award' - an honour bestowed on Hollywood A-lister and Killarney man Michael Fassbender just two years ago.
The Knockanure film-maker was honoured for his work on his first film, Pilgrim Hill, which has received worldwide acclaim since its release. Speaking to The Kerryman after the awards, Gerard said he was honoured to be in such company as Michael Fassbender and dedicated the award to the entire Pilgrim Hill team (which also includes Killorglin actor Muiris Crowley).
He said he genuinely didn't expect to win the award, which made his acceptance speech all the more challenging.
"I had absolutely nothing prepared so what came out came out," he joked. "But as I said when I was first nominated, it's not for me it's for everybody involved in bringing the film to the screen. From Joe Mullins the lead actor to Mary Walsh in Ballylongford, who was so generous in allowing me to shoot some of the film on her farm and so many others too. I just want to say thank you to everybody who has helped me in my career along the way."
Also honoured on the night were Abbeydorney animator, John Rice, who picked up his third IFTA. John's Dublin-based company Jam Media won the Children's/Youth TV category for their popular series Roy, which also won a Children's BAFTA Drama Award in London last November.
Dingle woman Aideen O'Sullivan was also honoured on Saturday night for her work on When Ali Came to Ireland - a documentary about Muhammad Ali's famous visit to Ireland in 1972. The documentary, which Aideen co-produced, won the top award in the Sports TV programme category.
Castlegregory's Aoife Duffin also had plenty to celebrate on Saturday night, with TV series Moone Boy - in which she stars - taking the top award in the documentary series (entertainment) category. In the popular SKY1 series starring Chris O'Dowd, the young west Kerry actress plays the part of Trisha Moone, sister of main character, Martin.
Meanwhile, two Dublin actors with strong Kerry connections also took honours for their work on RTE's smash hit TV series Love/Hate. Actor Tom Vaughan Lawlor, whose father Tom is a native of Ardfert, was named best actor in a TV drama, while the series itself picked up five other awards including best tv drama, best script, best director, best actress and best supporting actress. Fellow Love/Hate star Robert Sheehan's father hails from Killorglin.