Five Foyle Film Festival Success Stories

The North West's yearly showcase of cinema has long been a launch pad to wider renown for filmmakers far and near

Foyle Film Festival returns to Derry for a remarkable 28th year this November 18-22 and with it comes another instalment of its Light In Motion (LIM) competition. 

For 16 years now the annual awards have recognised emerging and established filmmakers, giving them a unique platform to showcase their work, network with industry professionals and gain access to the international market.

As Northern Ireland's only Oscar-affiliated film festival, Foyle Film Festival offers winners of the Best Short Film category a fast track to the Academy Award longlist without needing to have had the standard commercial run in theatres.

Filmmakers still have the opportunity to submit work to this year's Light in Motion competition, ahead of the deadline of Friday, October 9.  For some inspiration, we look back on previous winners.

Terry George 

Previously twice Oscar-nominated – for Hotel Rwanda in 2004 and ten years earlier in 1994 for his In the Name of the Father screenplay – the Belfast filmmaker finally scooped the industry's top prize in 2012 for The Shore, having qualified through a win at Foyle the previous year.

Stephen Fingleton

Having qualified through a Best Irish Short LIM award win in 2013, the Fermanagh filmmaker was unlucky not to make the subsequent final shortlist of Academy Award nominees. This year's feature-length debut The Survivalist has already drawn huge acclaim from within the industry and at one time was one of the most sought after scripts in Hollywood.

Martin McDonagh and Mia Bays

London-born director Martin McDonagh's Six Shooter went on to pick up a raft of awards and nominations following its success at Foyle Film Festival in 2004, including the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. He would later continue his winning partnership with Brendan Gleeson with In Bruges and The Guard, as well as working with Christopher Walken among others in 2012's Seven Psychopaths.

Six Shooter producer Mia Bays delivered a case study of the film as part of last year's two-day From Shorts to Features conference for emerging filmmakers.

Andrea Arnold

Oscar-winner Arnold was 'In Conversation' as part of the same industry event in 2014, sharing her expertise after the Academy were as impressed with her 2005 short The Wasp as the Light In Motion awards panel. Red Road, Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights were among the acclaimed feature-length works to follow.

Laurent Witz

The beautifully animated Mr Hublot proceeded to Oscar glory having captured the hearts of the Foyle Film Festival audience last year and being duly recognised with the Light In Motion award for Best Animated Short, a category alongside Best Documentary which is open to international submissions.

The deadline for this year's Light In Motion competition is Friday, October 9. Entries must be submitted through For further information and detailed guidelines go to