IFTA announces GAZA as Ireland’s entry for Oscars 2020

Posted October 4, 2019 by Suzanne Murray in News
GAZA documentary
GAZA documentary

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) announced today that the feature documentary GAZA directed by Garry Keane (Deafening, The Writing in the Sky) and award-winning conflict photographer Andrew McConnell has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category (formerly Best Foreign Language category) at the 92nd annual Academy Awards 2020.

Bringing us to a unique place beyond the reach of television news reports GAZA reveals a world rich with eloquent and resilient characters, offering us a cinematic and enriching portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives against the rubble of perennial conflict.

GAZA was chosen by IFTA’s special Selection Committee, which this year included writer/director Neasa Hardiman (Sea Fever, Jessica Jones, Happy Valley), writer/actor Mark O’Halloran (Viva, Garage, Adam & Paul), editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle (Stan & Ollie, Rosie, The Crown), writer/director Frank Berry (Michael Inside, I Used to Live Here), actress Fionnula Flanagan (The Guard, The Others) and director/producer Tom Collins (Kings, Aithrí (Penance), An Bronntanas). The Committee was chaired by Academy CEO Áine Moriarty.

Speaking about the selection of GAZA, Áine Moriarty – IFTA Academy CEO said: “These brilliant Irish filmmakers have delivered a very beautiful film and risked their own lives in the process, to capture a very honest, moving and human story from within GAZA, bringing us a rich cinematic portrait of its people.”

Since its world premiere at the renowned Sundance Film Festival earlier this year GAZA has been selected for some of the top documentary and film festivals nationally and internationally including the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival where it picked up the Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Documentary and the inaugural Docs Ireland festival where it was awarded the Pull Focus Award for Best New Irish Documentary.

The film was directed and produced by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell for Real Films and Brendan J. Byrne (No Stone Unturned, Bobby Sands: 66 Days) for Fine Point Films alongside Paul Cadieux (P.S. Jerusalem, The Settlers). It was funded by Screen Ireland, Filmoption International, ZDF/ARTE with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

A shortlist of ten films for the Best International Feature Film Oscar will be announced in December, while the final 5 nominees will be revealed on Monday, January 13th. The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony (the Oscars) will honor the best films of 2019 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on February 9th 2020.