Aer Lingus Irish Filmmakers Competition

#IrishFilm: Aer Lingus announces winners of inaugral Irish Filmmakers Competition

Supernatural, stirring and the very sweetest seasonal scenes are coming to screens in the skies soon as the Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation announces the winners of the inaugural Irish Filmmakers Competition.

The winning entrants, upcoming Irish filmmakers Jonathan Farrelly, Maria Elena Doyle and Brian Willis, will now have their short films shown on Aer Lingus in-flight entertainment on all transatlantic flights for the next 12 months. The incredible prize means that the winners will have an estimated 2.5million sets of eyes on their winning entries over the next 12 months, as their films clock-up 192,000 kilometres every day, crossing the Atlantic 32 times.

In addition, the three winners each receive a €1000 cash prize, a feature in CARA – Aer Lingus’ in-flight magazine, and a bursary of roundtrip European and transatlantic Aer Lingus flights worth over €5,000, giving all winners the opportunity to visit international film festivals and promote their work abroad.

In June 2017, The Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation, in partnership with the Irish Film Board, encouraged budding and established filmmakers in Ireland to enter a piece of original work which was either live action or animation, was no longer that 15 minutes in length and was suitable for general audience (G-rating).

The winning entries, in no particular order, are:

Leap of Faith, Jonathan Farrelly, live action drama

Leap of Faith

A girl lives a lonely existence in Dublin until a new neighbour moves in across the road and she believes they have something in common.

The Lost Letter, Brian Willis, animation

The Lost Letter

A little boy tries to encourage his lonely neighbour to embrace Christmas but she has only sad memories of Christmas. When she discovers her Santa letter was never sent many years ago everything changes.

Goodbye Darling, Maria Elena Doyle, live action drama

Goodbye Darling

Nancy O’Reilly waits at home, playing piano, while her husband Michael fights in the 1916 Rising.  She receives the news that Michael has been killed.

The winning entries were chosen following a 3-month adjudication process overseen by a panel of expert judges – Neasa Hardiman, director and writer for film and television drama, recently awarded her second BAFTA as well as an IFTA for drama Happy Valley (BBC/Netflix); Dearbhla Walsh, Emmy, IFTA and BAFTA award-winning director, whose work includes Shameless for Channel 4, Penny Dreadful and The Tudors for Showtime and Fargo on Netflix; and scriptwriter and actor Mark O’Halloran, who is known for films including Adam & PaulGarage and Viva.

We are extremely proud to welcome the winners of the inaugural Aer Lingus Irish Filmmakers Competition, and their winning productions, aboard Aer Lingus flights. These works will make a very positive addition to the existing choice of movies on our inflight entertainment channels. The response to the first year of the competition has been phenomenal and the calibre of the more than 70 entries we received was extremely impressive. Already we feel confident that this competition will grow year on year, allowing us to showcase incredible Irish talent on an international platform.

We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our partner, The Irish Film Board, who has given us guidance, expertise and access to the Irish film industry. We also thank our panel of expert judges, on whom we have had to heavily rely, for their help in whittling down the shortlist. Our sincerest congratulations to those shortlisted, and particularly to our three winners – Brian, Maria Elena and Jonathan. We look forward to seeing more from all of them very soon.
Declan Kearney, Aer Lingus Director of Communications

The Aer Lingus TakeOff Foundation is the overarching corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme for Aer Lingus which encompasses all of Aer Lingus’ charity and CSR activities, including supporting Culture and the Arts in Ireland. For further information, visit

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