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AWARDS Ireland

Sundance audiences warm up for Once

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The Irish film Once, directed and written by John Carney (On the Edge), has won the World Cinema Audience Award in the dramatic category at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

Discovered by Sundance programmers at the Galway Film Festival last year, Once [+see also:
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is a modern-day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard from Irish band The Frames, the film tells the story of a busker and an immigrant who fall in love over an eventful week, as they write, rehearse and record a number of songs. It was produced by Samson Films with support from the Irish Film Board.

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Martina Niland, producer at Samson Films, said: "We're overwhelmed at the response of Sundance audiences to our film Once, all week. We have received over 150 positive reviews for the film in both the film and music press. Winning this award has capped off what has been an amazing experience for us, in particular watching the festival embrace our film so positively".

Simon Perry, chief executive at the IFB, also said: "For a such a personal Irish film to break through and win such an important award is real recognition of original and independent film-making. John Carney is clearly one of Ireland's most gifted film directors and we look forward to working with him again in the future".

Once was one of eight films to be granted support from the MEDIA Programme European Film Promotion’s sales support scheme ahead of its presentation at Sundance. It was then picked up for international sales by Summit Entertainment during the festival.

Irish audiences will be the first to have the opportunity to view it as part of the Dublin International Film Festival on February 19. Buena Vista will handle domestic distribution in Ireland next March.

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