Arracht, an Irish-language feature film which was made in Connemara, has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category for 93rd annual Academy Awards.
Arracht was written and directed by Tom Sullivan, and features Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2020, Dónall Ó Héalaí, alongside Dara Devaney, Michael McElhatton, Seán T Ó Meallaigh, Pádraic Breathach, Eoin Ó Dubhgaill, Conall Ó Céidigh, and newcomer Saise Ní Chuinn.
Set in Ireland in 1845, Arracht centres on Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, father, and husband, who takes in a stranger at the behest of a local priest. Patsy, a former soldier arrives just ahead of the beginning of the Famine. As the crops rot in the fields, Patsy and his brother Colmán travel to the English landlord’s house to request a stay on rent increases that Colmán knows will destroy the community.
His request falls on deaf ears and Patsy’s subsequent actions set Colmán on a path that will take him to the edge of survival, and sanity. Only when he encounters an abandoned young girl does Colmán’s resolve lift.
Arracht was produced by Cúán Mac Conghail for Macalla Teoranta with executive producers Brendan McCarthy and John McDonnell of Fantastic Films. It premiered to critical acclaim at the prestigious Tallinn Black Nights Festival in 2019. It also won Best Irish Film at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, where Dónal Ó Héalaí won Best Actor.
“I am overjoyed with the news that Arracht has been chosen by the IFTA selection committee to represent Ireland in the Oscars,” said writer/director Tom Sullivan. “This is recognition of the team’s work and dedication. To be considered on this level is a huge honour and beyond exciting. Thank you to our funders Screen Ireland, BAI, and TG4 and thank you IFTA for all your support.”