President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina this afternoon hosted a St Patrick’s Day reception at Áras an Uachtaráin in celebration of members of the Irish film, audio-visual and performing arts communities.
The reception took place following a record 14 Irish nominations at the Academy Awards, as a gesture to all that has been achieved and the important contribution of the film and related industries to Irish life.
Director Ross White and actor James Martin from An Irish Goodbye were in attendance, along with Best Supporting Actor nominee Brendan Gleeson; fellow actors Bríd Ní Neachtain, Jon Kenny and Sheila Fitton; Location Manager Eoin Holohan from multiple Oscar nominated The Banshees of Inisherin.
Director Colm Bairéad, actors Catherine Clinch and Andrew Bennett, Producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoí and Director of Photography Kate McCullough from An Cailín Ciúin also enjoyed the company of the President and Mrs Higgins.
A host of other representatives from across the Irish film industry, including Oscar-winning producer David Puttnam were in attendance.
Speaking at the event, President Higgins said it gave him “great joy and pleasure to witness the attention that is being given to the hard-earned success of our film community, an attention that was generated in a special way by a record 14 Oscar nominations having been secured this year.”
“May I take this opportunity to warmly congratulate the recipients of Oscars at this week’s Academy Awards for their exceptional achievements. I was so moved by the warmth conveyed in An Irish Goodbye. The relationships presented with superb acting, pace and direction had a ring of authenticity.
“Film production requires the assembling of so many skills. In winning his second Oscar for Best Visual Effects, Richard Baneham draws attention again to the often under-recognised technical achievements that have developed in Irish film-making,” President Higgins said.
Mr Higgins also congratulated those who received “so many nominations” – Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal, Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Jonathan Redmond.
“To all involved with ‘An Cailín Ciúin’ which made history as a full length feature in Irish, this is of such importance for work in the Irish language. I congratulate ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ for the exceptional recognition of their work which receiving so many nominations constitutes. May I also take the opportunity to recognise the performance of Jessie Buckley in ‘Women Talking’, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay.
“This recent success of Irish film may be a surprise to some, but for those working in film it is welcome recognition of what they have been building towards over recent decades with the aid of Government policies and artist support.
“It is a community that was sustained heroically and is being pushed ever forward creatively. More and more Irish films, including animated films, are receiving recognition and critical acclaim abroad.
“That Ireland is now correctly regarded as an important hub for film-making, including post-production activities, is a real achievement by all those in the different generations who have worked to bring it about,” Prescient Higgins said.