Belfast school documentary ‘Young Plato’ wins top prize

A groundbreaking documentary about a Belfast school that still bears the scars of Northern Ireland’s difficult past has won the Irish Academy of Film and Television (IFTA) Award at a gathering of students. star in Dublin last night.

Young Plato received the George Morrison Outstanding Documentary Award in a virtual event on Virgin Media One for observational film at Holy Cross Boys Primary School in North Belfast.

The school made international headlines 20 years ago when loyal protesters tried to block the road as Catholic students and their parents walked to class.

The documentary by filmmakers Neasa Ní Chianáín and Declan McGrath, which premiered last week, explores principal Kevin McArevey’s vision of empowering his students through philosophy, critical thinking and pastoral care. It notes how philosophy can encourage children to question the myths of war and violence.

Oscar Winning Documentary Michael Moore Presents Young Plato co-director Declan McGrath with the award and spoke about the importance of making non-fiction films, especially in light of the current situation in Ukraine and global politics.

“We are living in a dark age right now and the authoritarians around the world – we’ve had experience with him before – are not telling the truth. All of you are documentary filmmakers, carry on,” he said.

The event was hosted by comedian Deirdre O’Kane, who paid tribute to the president of Ukraine and the former comedian. Volodymyr Zelensky and featured a host of celebrities, including Chris Pine, Colin Farrell, Roma Downey, Fionnula Flanagan, Chris O’Dowd and Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan.

Kenneth Branagh, who is filming Christopher Nolan’s biopic J Robert Oppenheimer in New Mexico, won Best Screenplay for BelfastHis touching semi-autobiographical drama in which he starred Outlanderby Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan.

“I am incredibly grateful for this recognition and would also like to say hello to my nominees and their incredible work,” he said.

Actress Victoria Smurfit presented two awards to Ciarán Hinds – both for Best Supporting Actor for Kin and also Best Supporting Actor Film for his role as Pop in Belfast. Belfast school documentary ‘Young Plato’ wins top prize

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