IFTA Rising Star Nominees Announced

Sarah Bolger, Lance Daly, Michael Fassbender and Enda Walsh all up for Irish Film & TV Award

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) and the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) today announced the Rising Star Award nominees for 2009, the winners of which will be announced at the Irish Film and Television Awards Ceremony on February 14th.

Selected by a special jury and sponsored by the IFB, the Rising Star Award aims to highlight exceptional new talent working in all areas of the Irish film industry. The 2009 nominees are; Sarah Bolger (Actress, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Tudors); Lance Daly (Writer/Director, Kisses); Michael Fassbender (Actor, Hunger) and Enda Walsh (Writer, Hunger).

The 2008 Rising Star Award was won by actress Saoirse Ronan following her breakthrough and Oscar nominated performance in Atonement. This year Ronan is nominated for two IFTA Awards for her roles in City of Ember and Death Defying Acts, and most recently she is currently making Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones.

Simon Perry, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said “Nurturing new talent is a key objective of the Irish Film Board and the Rising Star Award acts as an excellent showcase of talent both in front of and behind the camera. This year’s nominees have all broken through in significant films and we are delighted to see their talent and recent achievements recognised in the award.”

About the 2009 Rising Star Award Nominees

Sarah Bolger – Actress

A native of Dublin, 17 year old Sarah Bolger’s debut movie role came in 1999 starring alongside Liam Cunningham and Orla Brady in A Love Divided. She followed that with a role in A Secret Affair (1999) and Jim Sheridan’s In America (2002), which also co-starred her younger sister Emma. Sarah has more recently appeared in feature films Tara Road (2005), Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker (2006).

In 2008 she starred alongside Freddie Highmore in The Spiderwick Chronicles, for which she is nominated for the Best Supporting Actress IFTA this year.  Her television appearances include The Clinic and the IFTA winning drama The Tudors. Sarah has also been selected as Ireland’s Rising Star at the Berlin Film Festival (5 – 15 February 2009).

Lance Daly – Director

Lance Daly wrote, directed and produced his first feature, Last Days in Dublin in 2001, with a shoestring budget on the streets of Dublin, Paris, New York and Cairo. His second film, The Halo Effect, released in 2004, starred Stephen Rea and was nominated for five IFTAs, including Best Script.

Kisses is Lance’s third feature and was released across Ireland in November 2008 – winning critical acclaim. It won Best Irish Feature at Galway Film Fleadh in 2008 and screened at the Toronto, Locarno, Telluride and Cairo film festivals amongst others.

Michael Fassbender – Actor

Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father and Irish mother. They moved to Killarney in Ireland after he was just a few years old, where he was raised before attending London’s Drama Centre.

His first major role was as Sergeant Burton Pat Christenson in Steven Spielberg’s award-winning Band of Brothers.  The big-screen adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, 300, gave Michael his first movie role and numerous others have followed, including Francois Ozon’s Angel, Joel Schumacher’s Town Creek and James Watkins’ Eden Lake.  This year the actor has delivered critically acclaimed performances in the feature film Hunger and TV drama The Devil’s Whore, which have earned him two IFTA nominations.  His recent work includes Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank and he is currently shooting Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards, both due for release in 2009.

Enda Walsh – Writer

Born 1967 in Dublin, Enda Walsh is an award-winning writer for theatre. Winner of the 1997 George Devine and Stewart Parker awards, Walsh’s breakthrough, both in Ireland and internationally, was the multi-award winning Disco Pigs. Enda’s adaptation of the play, directed by Kirsten Sheridan and starring Eileen Cassidy and Cillian Murphy, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001.

In 2008, Enda co-wrote the screenplay for Hunger, a film which portrays the final 66 days in the life of hunger striker Bobby Sands, with director Steve McQueen. The film has received global critical acclaim and numerous international awards, including the Cannes Camera d’Or.  Hunger was recently nominated for Best British Film at the BAFTA Film Awards and Walsh has received an IFTA nomination for Best Script Film.

The 6th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards take place at Dublin’s Burlington Hotel on 14 February 2009.