Local filmmaker Ian Hunt Duffy is in contention for an Oscar after his short film ‘Gridlock’ won the Best Irish Short Award at both the Cork Film Festival and the Foyle Film Festival on the very same night.
As both Cork and Foyle are Academy Award Qualifying festivals, winning these awards means that ‘Gridlock’ is now on the longlist for an Oscar in the Live Action Short Film category next year.
“We were up in Derry for the Foyle Film Festival when I got the news about the win in Cork, and I couldn’t believe it” says Ian, “It was a huge surprise and I was disappointed that I wasn’t there to receive it. So to then go on and win again at Foyle on the same day was amazing. They are both fantastic festivals, and to win at them is an incredible honour.”
Funded by Kildare County Council, and produced by Ian’s own Dublin based production company Fail Safe Films, ‘Gridlock’ is a thriller set during a traffic jam on a country road. When a little girl goes missing from one of the cars, her father forms a desperate search party to find her and soon everyone is a suspect.
The film stars some of the best new acting talent in Ireland, such as Moe Dunford (‘Patrick’s Day/‘Vikings’), Peter Coonan (‘Love/Hate’) and Steve Wall (‘Vikings’/Moone Boy’) and has already garnered rave reviews from audiences at both home and in America, where it screened at the LA Shorts Fest and the Rhode Island International Film Festival, taking home the Youth Jury Award for Best Short Film.
“I was eager to direct something in the style of the movies I grew up watching. I love genre films with high concepts, plot-driven stories that grip you and keep you guessing throughout” says Ian, “Gridlock was my attempt at an American style thriller but with a distinctly Irish feel. So I’m delighted to hear that American audiences are responding to it”
For Ian, finding the right cast was crucial to the success of the film. “Gridlock was always going to be an ensemble piece, so I needed a group of actors who were excited by the material and who could work well as a team” says Ian, “My producer, Simon Doyle, and I really strived to get the best cast possible and in the end I think it really elevated the whole film.”
On the back of ‘Gridlock’, Ian is currently developing his first feature film project, and is once again collaborating with ‘Gridlock’ writer Darach McGarrigle. ‘We’re working together on a thriller in a similar vein to Gridlock. We’re both big fans of ‘siege’ style movies- films where a group of people are trapped in one location and must fight to survive- so we’re working on our own version of that now. We’re really excited about it.”
‘Gridlock’ will next screen at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival on Sunday 19th February. This will be its Dublin Premiere, and the show starts at 4pm in the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin. Tickets are available at: www.diff.ie/festival/film/adiff-shorts-1
For more information about ‘Gridlock’, and to view the trailer, visit: facebook.com/gridlockfilm