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IFTA announces Gaza as Ireland’s entry for Oscars 2020



Date Posted: October 4, 2019

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced that the feature documentary GAZA has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category (formerly Best Foreign Language category) at the upcoming 92nd annual Academy Awards.

GAZA, which is predominantly filmed in the Arabic language, is a beautiful and poignant documentary made from inside the Gaza strip and brings the audience into a unique place beyond the reach of TV news reports to reveal the humanity within a world rich with eloquent and resilient characters.  The film is a cinematic portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives against the rubble of perennial conflict.  This intimate film depicts people plagued by conflict but not defined by it, and journeys through a physically broken and battered landscape, leaving its diverse cast of real characters speak for themselves.

Gaza was produced by Brendan J. Byrne (No Stone Unturned, Bobby Sands: 66 Days) for Fine Point Films, along with Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell for Real Films and Paul Cadieux (P.S. Jerusalem, The Settlers).  It was funded by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Filmoption International, ZDF/ARTE with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

GAZA was chosen by IFTA’s special Selection Committee, which this year included writer/director Neasa Hardiman (Sea Fever, Jessica Jones, Happy Valley), writer/actor Mark O’Halloran (Viva, Garage, Adam & Paul), editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle (Stan & Ollie, Rosie, The Crown), writer/director Frank Berry (Michael Inside, I Used to Live Here), actress Fionnula Flanagan (The Guard, The Others) and director/producer Tom Collins (Kings, Aithrí (Penance), An Bronntanas).  The Committee was chaired by Academy CEO Áine Moriarty.

Speaking about the selection of GAZA, Áine Moriarty – IFTA Academy CEO said:

These brilliant Irish filmmakers have delivered a very intimate and beautiful film, risking their own lives in the process, to capture an honest, moving and very human story from within GAZA, bringing us a rich cinematic portrait of its people.”

From Garry Keane & Andrew McConnell, co-directors of GAZA said:

“It is a huge honour for us that GAZA has been chosen by the IFTA selection committee as the official Irish entry.  It was a privilege for us both to share the lives of so many extraordinary citizens of GAZA on the big screen to help promote a deeper appreciation and understanding of this unique and vibrant place. It has truly been a career high, a journey that started at the world famous Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and which could yet end up at the Oscars in Los Angeles.”

Since its premiere at Sundance, GAZA has been selected for some of the top documentary and film festivals around the world including the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival and the Docs Ireland festival in Belfast.

A shortlist of 10 will be announced in December, while the final 5 nominees will be revealed on Monday 13th January 2019. The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony (the Oscars) will honor the best films of 2019 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on Sunday 9th February 2020.

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