The Irish-language movie An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) has been selected by the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) as Ireland's entry for the Best International Feature Film at next year's Academy Awards.

Based on the short story Foster by Claire Keegan, An Cailín Ciúin stars newcomer Catherine Clinch as a young girl sent to live with relatives in rural Ireland in 1981, where she is welcomed with open arms.

The film, directed by Colm Bairéad, made history in Ireland as the first Irish-language film to win the Irish Film and Television Academy Award for Best Film in March.

"It's a film that Irish audiences and audiences around the world have taken to their hearts," Bairéad told Morning Ireland. "It's been an extraordinary whirlwind since the film made its premiere in Berlin back in February."

He added: "It's exceeded all of our expectations. You never quite know when you set out to make a film, how it's going to be accepted - critically, or by the audiences. On both fronts the film has blown us away in terms of how it's been received . . . it's really struck a chord with audiences."

Its other awards on the night included Director, Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Original Score, and Rising Star.

The film was also honoured at the Dublin and Berlin film festivals earlier this year.

Catherine Clinch and Carrie Crowley in An Cailín Ciúin

The CEO of IFTA, Aine Moriarty, said An Cailín Ciúin is a unique and beautiful film that captures viewers' hearts and leaves them profoundly moved. She said she is sure the story will resonate with international audiences.

On Morning Ireland, she said: "This film, An Cailín Ciúin, definitely has everything that you could possibly want - a film that touches the heart, it's a universal story of any childhood, and any country would really embrace it.

"It transcends any language boundary, so it has a great opportunity."

Fifteen international films will now be selected for the next stage of the Oscars process on 21 December and a shortlist will be revealed in January. The 95th Academy Awards will take place next March in Hollywood.

An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) was produced by Cleona Ní Chrualaoí as part of the Cine4 funding scheme for Irish-language film, in partnership with Screen Ireland, TG4, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). The film is also in receipt of the Government's Section 481 tax incentive.

Colm Bairéad - "We have always believed in the idea that an Irish-language film could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of world cinema"

Commenting on his film moving forward in the Oscars race, director Colm Bairéad said the cast and crew are "honoured beyond words" to represent Ireland.

"We have always believed in the idea that an Irish-language film could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of world cinema and we feel so proud to be representing our country and our language in this way," he continued.

"It has been an extraordinary privilege adapting Claire Keegan's Foster to the big screen and we can't wait to introduce our film to more and more members of the Academy as The Quiet Girl continues its roll-out on the international stage."

TG4 has said it is delighted that IFTA has selected An Cailín Ciúin as Ireland's entry for the Oscars in the 'Best International Feature Film' category.

This is the third year in a row that IFTA has selected a film from the CINE4 scheme from TG4, Screen Ireland and the BAI.