Irish film director Ben Cleary won an Academy Award at last night‘s ceremony and declared ‘every day is a proud day to be Irish’.
The director from Rathmines, Co Dublin was nominated in the Best Live Action Short Film category for his movie ‘Stutterer’.
As you might gather from the film’s title it follows the story of a man who speaks with a stutter and the challenges he faces interacting with others. It was inspired by a childhood friend of Cleary.
Stutterer was Cleary’s first film and he took on several positions to make it including writer, director and editor.
It starred Matthew Needham and Chloe Pirrie and has already won several awards at film festivals throughout last year – now it has scooped the biggest one of all.
On receiving the award Cleary said: “You know when you make your first film you’ve got to convince a lot of people to jump on board and take a risk with a first time director so to every single member of the cast and crew of Stutterer for jumping on board and taking a risk with me I’m forever grateful.
“To the academy for this award, it’s such a huge honour, thank you so much. To my amazing parents for all the support, thank you. Chloe Pirrie you’re amazing wherever you are up there, to the wonderful Matthew Needham, you are this film brother.
“Every day is a proud day to be Irish but today more so than usual so everyone for all the support back home thank you so much.”
Cleary had previously spoken about a childhood friend who had provided inspiration for his film.
He said: “I had a friend growing up who had a severe stutter – that must have stuck with me.
“I initially saw something online about a gentleman who had a severe speech impediment. He managed to get to the point just fine – when speaking face to face. But when he got on the phone his stutter came back quite badly.
“This image struck a chord with me – an extreme close-up of his mouth struggling to speak. I had an idea to investigate how (a stutterer) navigates through today’s world.
“So I thought about doing a voiceover of what his inner thoughts would be like – the dichotomy between the witty eloquence of his inner voice compared to the reality of being unable to communicate.”
Sadly for fans of Saoirse Ronan, the Brooklyn star missed out on the Best Actress award. However, she earned critical acclaim and a legion of new fans following her performance which is sure to stand her in good stead for future awards and, more importantly, more great roles in the coming years.
Take a look at the full list of winners at the 2016 Academy Awards
Take a look at Cleary’s acceptance speech below.
Take a look at the trailer for The Stutterer.