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Casting Directors in Ireland to be Recognised annually with New Dedicated IFTA Award

Ireland is one of the first countries in the world to recognise the enormous contribution of Casting Directors with the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) not only establishing a dedicated Academy Chapter for Casting but also announcing the first IFTA Casting Director Award to be presented at the 2025 annual IFTA Awards, with submissions taking place in September 2024.

The news comes at a time when the Irish screen industry is experiencing substantial growth with major Irish and international production activity taking place throughout the country. Irish location studios are busy with big named TV Drama and Film projects and more sound studios in various stages of development. Streamers such as Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Apple TV+ are shooting in Ireland with some of their most popular shows. The Irish government's extension of the Section 481 tax credit from €70m to €125m has significantly incentivized large-scale projects to choose Ireland, and Irish casting directors are busy finding local and international acting talent for key roles.

IFTA has also launched a series of special Casting Conversations events that bring Actors, Casting Directors & Talent Agents together to discuss all aspects of casting, which in turn will feed into the casting Award process later in 2024. This month saw the first IFTA Casting Conversations forum, bringing together a panel of Ireland's top casting directors: Louise Kiely (Emmy nominee for Normal People, The Banshees of Inisherin), Carla Stronge (3 X Emmy Award Winner for Game of Thrones), Frank Moiselle (Emmy nominee for The Tudors, Vikings), Ali Coffey (Michael Inside, Fate: The Winx Saga), Amy Rowan (Flora & Son, My Name Is Emily), Barry Coyle (The Dry, Barber), Emma Gunnery (Baltimore, Finding Joy), Karen Scully (Normal People, The Green Knight), Maureen Hughes (That They May Face The Rising Sun, Love/Hate) and Thyrza Ging (The Tourist, The Hole in the Ground).

Louise Kiely, the new Chair of IFTA’s Casting Chapter and a Primetime Emmy Nominee for Normal People, said:

"Being a member of the first Irish Film & Television Academy Casting Chapter is a huge honour & a privilege. As a community who love what we do, we are thrilled to join the Academy & be recognised for our work. This is a momentous time in our history and we are immensely grateful. Go raibh míle maith agaibh, IFTA."

The introduction of the Casting Director Award in Ireland is a natural progression for the Irish Academy, having previously honoured two Veterans of Casting with IFTA Lifetime Awards; Nuala Moiselle (Vikings, The Secret Scripture) back in 2007 and Ros Hubbard (The Commitments, Far & Away) back in 2018.

Áine Moriarty, Chief Executive of IFTA, said:

“Irish Casting Directors have shown themselves to be amongst the most skilful professionals in the world, and their contribution and uncanny ability to source and identify the right actors for key roles has been instrumental in the success of so many Irish and international films and TV Dramas in recent years. The Irish Academy wants to ensure that their work and their incredible skill is recognised alongside other craftspeople and filmmakers at our annual Awards Ceremony. We are delighted to have established a dedicated Academy Casting Chapter, and to be working closely with the enormously talented casting community across all of Ireland, North & South.

Actress Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) said:

“Thrilled to hear the IFTAs will now have a category for casting. It’s about time the casting director is recognised for their work in the industry worldwide ..... So many talented actors were given their first opportunity because of the advocacy of a casting director”.

Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton, Derry Girls) reacting to the news said:

“I’m delighted to hear that IFTA have added an award to honour the brilliant Casting Directors of Ireland. In my experience, Casting Directors are the biggest champions of actors; opening the doors to an industry that is so difficult to break into, and providing support on the often terrifying audition process. Carla Stronge changed my life by auditioning me for Derry Girls seven years ago, and the casting directors of Ireland continue to change people’s lives every day, and for that I, and so many actors, are so grateful”.

Daisy Edgar Jones (Normal People, Where the Crawdads Sing) said:

“So thrilled that such wonderful and talented casting directors like Louise Kiely will be able to get the recognition they deserve with this new awards category. Louise has been at the forefront of discovering so many new and exciting performers, and has such a skill at providing the perfect conditions for actors to feel able to do their best work in an audition room”.

Nina Gold, Casting Director (Game of Thrones), said:

“It is brilliant that IFTA are recognising talent in casting which the Irish Casting directors are demonstrating so much in their outstanding work”

Orla Brady (Rose Plays Julie, Into The Badlands) said:

“All actors start out unknown and unproven - and there are many of us. It takes a lot of committed work on the part of a casting director to get to know an entire community of young actors and to believe in some individual to the extent that they are given a chance, a start, the beginning of a career. 
Also, it is a given that the right casting can make or break a script - witness this generation of Irish film and its young breakout stars. I’m delighted to see an award that reflects this important contribution”

Colin Morgan (Merlin, Belfast) said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to hear the news that our talented casting directors of Ireland will be included in the IFTA awards as of 2025. The work these incredibly talented people do is a true art and a long unsung one. I couldn't be more delighted to hear this news and look forward to seeing that first IFTA award held high in 2025”

Fionn O'Shea (Normal People, Dating Amber) said:

“I’m thrilled to hear the Irish Film & Television Academy are recognising the incredible work of our amazing casting directors here in Ireland. They are the foundation of every production and nothing would be possible without them. Louise and her wonderful team completely changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful to them. They create the most welcoming, warm, and safe environment giving every actor the best possible opportunity to show their work and it’s always a complete joy being in the room with them."

Seana Kerslake (Ballywalter, A Date for Mad Mary) said:

“It’s great news to hear that Casting Directors in Ireland will be recognised for their hard work in finding the right talent to make a production come to life. I am hugely grateful for all the support they have given me in my career so far. Having them root for you in the room and making you feel at ease may seem small but is beyond big"

Danielle Galligan (Lakelands, Obituary) said:

“I'm so delighted to hear that IFTA will be including our wonderful Irish Casting Directors with an award from 2025. It's so important that their consistent hard work be honoured alongside the rest of the community. A director once told me that 70% of making a piece sing is all down to casting and I agree. They're a vital creative cog in the machine that gets our stories to their audiences and it's lovely to see them finally being recognised”

The inaugural IFTA Casting Award will be awarded at the 2025 IFTA Film & Drama Awards Ceremony, with submissions opening in autumn 2024.