Irish director Carmel Winters’ film Float Like A Butterfly has won a major international award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The film has picked up the accolade from the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme.
The jury called the film “a pastoral and traditional bucolic film, capturing the familiar angst and anxiety a young adult woman undergoes in order to have her say in the scheme of things in a predominately male-driven patriarchal society. Through her spectacular and deft narrative, nuanced understanding of the dilemmas women face, and a pitch-perfect performance by Hazel Doupe, this film is a triumph of free spirit.”
Commenting on Float Like A Butterfly’s accolade at TIFF, Screen Ireland Chief Executive James Hickey said: “We are delighted to see Float Like A Butterfly receive such strong international praise at TIFF. We are very proud of Carmel, Hazel and the entire team behind the film. An international accolade such as this makes a big difference for an independent film, raising the profile of the team, and ensuring audiences around the globe will have an opportunity to see the film in the coming months.”
Accepting her award in Toronto, director Carmel Winters said: “We couldn’t have wished for an audience more capable to opening their hearts and witnessing our film… I can’t believe the jury choose to see our film in such a loving way as to give us this recognition today. I am so grateful to you all. To the travelling women of Ireland, the travelling people of Ireland, thanks for trusting me with your story.”
Filmed on location in West Cork, Float Like A Butterfly is a powerful and timely story of a girl’s fight for freedom and belonging. In a gender-reversal of classic film Billy Elliot, 15-year-old Frances (played by up-and-coming Irish actress Hazel Doupe) has to fight for the right to fight back. Raised in roadside camps in rural Ireland, Frances wants to champion her people inside the boxing ring and out, like her idol Muhammad Ali, but society is determined to break her spirit and destroy her way of life.
Float Like A Butterfly stars Hazel Doupe, Dara Devaney, Johnny Collins, Aidan O’Hare, Lalor Roddy, Hilda Fay and is produced by Martina Niland (Sing Street) for Port Pictures and David Collins (A Dark Song) for Samson Films. The film was supported by Screen Ireland with Culture Ireland providing funding support for talent to attend the festival.