Can't Cope, Won't Cope star Seána Kerslake has said the film industry in Ireland is "getting better" for female actors but admits "there are a million miles to go still".
Speaking to RTÉ News at the Screen Ireland 2019 programme launch on Thursday, the 28-year-old actress commended the Irish film industry's development agency Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland on its efforts to increase participation in film, but said there is still a lot of work to be done.
"I think in the whole screen industry they are looking for more diversity - whether that's gender or race," she said.
"It's getting better but there are a million miles to go still."
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"It starts with instilling confidence in young people to know that your voice is important, your stories are important, and that we want to see them. We should encourage people to be confident with their writing and to go for it," Kerslake continued.
Kerslake is currently promoting Lee Cronin's new horror film The Hole in the Ground, which was co-written with Stephen Shields, and shot on location in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.
Cronin's feature debut also stars James Quinn Markey (Vikings), James Cosmo (T2 Trainspotting), Simone Kirby (Resistance), Steve Wall (An Klondike), and Kati Outinen (Le Havre).
Kerslake plays Sarah O'Neill, who is building a new life on the fringes of a small rural town with her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey).
A disturbing encounter with a mysterious neighbour lures Sarah into a terrifying nightmare. She attempts to uncover if the changes in her little boy's character are linked with a baleful-looking sinkhole in the forest close to their home.
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Director Cronin also praised Screen Ireland for its consistent support with helping and nurturing Irish talent, saying: "I've had support through the short films that I've made over the years with Screen Ireland, along with the development support needed to develop projects, that you in turn take into production.
"There has to be some misfires along the way. Nobody is perfect, certainly not in the film business.
"It's long-term support, developing talent and keeping their shoulder behind you, and then when you get into the position of making a movie, it's great to have their resources and their strength and connections there. They are pushing all of the time."
The filmmaker applauded recent Irish releases for making waves around the globe, adding: "I think what's great about Irish film at the moment is just the international reach.
"I feel Irish audiences are also really excited by Irish film. So we're playing really well at home and abroad, which is great."
Cronin previously directed the award-winning festival favourite short horror Ghost Train.
Super to be part of @ScreenIreland ‘s catalogue launch for 2019 this morning. There is some serious talent bringing homegrown cinema to global audiences in 2019. #LoveIrishFilm pic.twitter.com/y3fiy0IXkm— Lee Cronin (@curleecronin) January 17, 2019
The Hole in the Ground has its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the US next week and will arrive in Irish cinemas on March 1.
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