Rising star from city is up for BAFTA award

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Rising Londonderry directorial star Stephen Fingleton, has received a BAFTA nomination just in time for the release of his critically-acclaimed first feature, the post-apocalyptic, The Survivalist, which received rave reviews at several film festivals throughout 2015.

He’s been nominated for the BAFTA for ‘Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.’

“It’s a huge honour to be nominated for this award. So many of its past recipients are filmmakers I deeply admire. I think it’s a huge credit to my to my wonderful cast and team who were so generous and creative in helping me make the film.”

The ceremony will be held on February 14, 2016 at the Royal Opera House in London.

The Survivalist, set in a bleak future after the implosion of civilisation, is set for an exclusive run in Belfast in the run up to the awards, as Stephen explains.

“We have a Belfast exclusive run from the February 5, at the Queen’s Film Theatre, before we open nationwide in Britain and Ireland in select cinemas and premium video-on-demand (VOD) on February 12.”

The film, which features Foyle School of Speech and Drama graduate and Londonderry native Andrew Simpson alongside an impressive cast including Olwen Fouéré, Mia Goth and Martin McCann, was well-received when it opened at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival last year, receiving a special mention from the jury in the ‘Best New Director’ category.

“We must acknowledge with a Special Jury Mention a director who was able to keep intensity and tension suspended in a single location. Through gripping performances and artful shooting, he created a film world we couldn’t wait to get out of, but felt compelled to stay in,” they said.

It received a five star review from Time Out New York which called it a “masterful, uncompromising debut.” Screen International said “all three performances are superb”.

But Stephen says his favourite comment was from a website called Birth Movies Death, which described it as “Interstellar Meets Cabin in the Woods”.

Although the up-and-coming director now lives between London and Fermanagh, he’s from Londonderry originally.

“I was born in Derry and my parents lived around there when I was very young,” he explained. “Enniskillen is where my family is based now, and I divide my time between London and Enniskillen.”

Stephen’s short film, SLR, was shortlisted for an Oscar and his screenplay for, The Survivalist, was voted onto Hollywood’s Black List and topped the UK Brit List for the year’s best unproduced scripts.

Time Out New York’s film critic, Joshua Rothkopf, described it as a must-see when it was screened at Tribeca.

“A true festival discovery and a film that will shake you for days, Stephen Fingleton’s masterful feature debut, a post-apocalyptic drama, has no charming heroes, quips, romance or leather outfits. It’s a tense chamber piece set in a European forest 10 years after the fall of civilization. (We learn from an elegantly simple graph only that demand overtook supply.) What plays out is brutal, arresting and, yet, essentially about the undying nature of hope and human contact. Fingleton’s world is a lushly green universe of ruined people trapped in the psychology of survival. You’ll leave completely rapt.”