The Irish-language Foscadh (Shelter) has been chosen as Ireland's entry for the Best International Feature Film category at next year's Academy Awards.

The film, written and directed by Seán Breathnach, was chosen by the Irish Film and Television Academy's (IFTA) 2022 selection committee, which included actors Fionnula Flanagan and Owen McDonnell, Cartoon Saloon CEO Paul Young and director Aisling Walsh.

Based on the Donal Ryan novel The Thing About December, Foscadh (Shelter) is billed as "a poignant meditation on isolation, neurodiversity, and letting go of the past, set in the wild mountains of Connemara".

It tells the story of John Cunliffe (played by Dónall Ó Héalai) who reaches a crossroads in his life following the deaths of his overprotective parents.

Having inherited mountain land that is in the way of a wind-farm development, John "is forced to navigate the choppy waters of romance, trust and vengeance for the first time". The cast also includes Fionnuala Flaherty and Cillian O'Gairbhí.

Foscadh (Shelter) won Best Irish First Feature at this year's Galway Film Fleadh. It will now join submissions from other countries in the competition for a place in the Best International Feature Film category - formerly Best Foreign Language Film - at next year's Academy Awards.

Fifteen films will be selected for the shortlist before five Oscar nominees are chosen. The list of 15 will be announced on 21 December, with the Oscar nominees announced on 8 February. The Oscars take place on Sunday, 27 March 2022.

Dónall Ó Héalai in Foscadh (Shelter)

"It truly is both an honour and a privilege to be chosen by IFTA to represent Ireland in the Academy Awards Best International Film category," said writer-director Seán Breathnach.

"We are beyond thrilled that Foscadh (Shelter) is garnering such a positive reaction from critics and festivals alike, following on from its Best First Film award at the Galway Film Fleadh.

"I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to our wonderful cast and crew agus ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil lenár lucht maointhe, TG4, Fís Éireann, agus Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann."

Foscadh (Shelter) was backed by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), and TG4 as part of the Cine 4 scheme.

Its producer, Paddy Hayes, has Oscars pedigree in his family - his filmmaker father Tom was an Oscar nominee in 1961.

"I think Foscadh (Shelter), with its searing tale of a young recluse overcoming personal adversity, will really resonate with Academy members and has a real shot of making the shortlist," said Hayes.

"The film will get its international premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in LA in October and I look forward to building an Oscar campaign around it in these coming months.

"My own father Tom Hayes was Oscar-shortlisted in 1961 for his film Cradle of Genius so it would be great to finally live up to his expectations 50 years later!"

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