Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival announces Aer Lingus Discovery Award and Shorts Awards recipients

Now in its 19th year, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival continues to roll out a packed programme of online screenings, celebrity interviews, industry events and so much more. Highlights over the opening weekend included the Virgin Media Opening Gala of Supernova with a post screening discussion with Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, and ended with Tucci presenting Firth with the Festival career achievement award the Volta. Other exclusive events included conversations with international mega-talent Colin Farrell and award-winning director Steve McQueen.


Along with celebrating these wonderful artists, the Festival is delighted to profile and recognise the new generation of filmmakers through both the Aer Lingus Discovery Award and the Shorts Awards. The awards aim to identify, champion, support and encourage new and emerging talent from both in front of, and behind the camera.


The judges of the Aer Lingus Discovery Award noted that “the future of Irish cinema is safe” and that “the talent we have witnessed has been incredible,” when selecting director Rachel Carey, director of photography Burschi Wojnar, actor Hazel Doupe and costume designer Saileóg O’Halloran as this year’s recipients.


“I'm so grateful and honoured to have my work recognised by VMDIFF and the Discovery Award judging panel, it's a welcome boost in pandemic times and a huge encouragement for my next projects.”  Rachel Carey, director


“I’m honoured to be awarded amongst such incredible Irish talent. It is incredibly special to be recognised  by your peers for your craft and I hope I can collaborate and inspire my fellow filmmakers for years to come.” Burschi Wojnar, director of photography


“I was so humbled and excited when I discovered I was nominated, but to have won this award is absolutely nuts. Thank you so much to the judging panel.”  Hazel Doupe, actor


"I'm extremely thrilled and honoured to be a recipient of this year's Discovery Award. It's so amazing to get good news and have something to celebrate after such a weird year. It's also excellent that VMDIFF celebrates artists behind the camera and in front of the camera equally, and this year's nominees were a great reflection of that." Saileóg O’Halloran, costume designer


The newly titled Sue Bruce-Smith Award for Best Irish Short was awarded to Her Song by Éabha Bortolozzo and Jack Kirwan.


The jury said “This year the Best Irish Short award is now named after Sue Bruce Smith, a valued friend and long-time board member of the festival who unfortunately passed away this year. Sue loved discovering new filmmakers and was a voice for championing emerging talents within the Irish film community and beyond. We all agreed it was a beautiful and utterly engaging short. We loved how this story was revealed, weaving between myth and reality, it is a thoughtful, well-paced piece about the tragedy that is the mother and baby homes.”


Special Mentions were given to Kathleen was Here by Eva Birthistle. Best International Short was awarded to Anita (Sushma Khadepaun), with Special Mentions given to Omé (Wassim Geagea) and I am afraid to forget your face (Sameh Alaa).


The 2021 Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival box office is at


The Festival would like to acknowledge the continuing support of the Arts Council and Screen Ireland.


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Twitter: @DublinFilmFest 

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