It’s never too early to chat Oscars talk right?
Especially when the Irish are involved!
Good, because a documentary by Irish filmmakers, Stephen Gerard Kelly and Garry Keane has just been chosen as Ireland’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the upcoming 96th annual Academy Awards.
The documentary which is called, In the Shadow of Beirut, has already won a number of awards and is described as “a searing, cinematic portrait of modern-day Lebanon as seen through the eyes of four families living in the city”.
Co-director Kelly spent five years living among the film’s protagonists in the Sabra and Shatila neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Beirut, a city engulfed in economic and political crisis.
However, it wasn’t until three years in that he decided to pick up his camera and begin documenting their lives.
Speaking to Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One, Kelly explained how he spent his days learning Arabic and immersing himself in a culture that is very different from where he is from.
“Each day is a mammoth fight for survival. Just to put food on the table for your family. Despite all that, people have immense love, ” he shared.
“The overarching feeling that I always get when I’m in Sabra and Shatila is incredible love… the importance of family, of sharing and supporting when you have nothing but you still reach out a hand to a neighbour who’s in more need than you in that moment”.
Speaking about the selection Áine Moriarty, the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) CEO, said: “This is such an important film for a global audience to connect with. This raw storytelling on screen is delivered with such heart-breaking honesty.
The film was selected by IFTA’s 2023 Selection Committee. After each country has selected its official entry for the Best International Feature Film category, all films will be screened and fifteen will be chosen for an initial shortlist.
A second committee narrows down the final five nominees and final voting for the winner is restricted to active and life Academy members who have attended screenings of all five nominated films.
The 96th annual Academy Awards will take place on 10 March 2024 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.