Hugely-popular Irish-language film An Cailín Ciúin has been named as Ireland’s entry for the 2023 Academy Awards.

The feature film, which has many Donegal links, has been chosen by the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) or the Oscars in the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category.

An Cailín Ciúin is the first feature film from the Writer and Director Colm Bairéad and Producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoi of Inscéal, and is based on the book ‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan. It was awarded a total of eight IFTAs in March, including ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actress’.

There are a number of connections between the film and Donegal, as Producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoi’s mother Ellen Crowley is from Gaeltacht Ross Goill, near Downings, and her uncle Michael Doherty and family own and run The Singing Pub (An Síbín Ceoil, on the Atlantic Drive.

Actor Carrie Crowley’s mother Nodhlaig was originally from The Rosses, and her mother was also a teacher in Meenbanad.

Carrie, who plays the role of Eibhlín, spent many summers in Donegal and still goes there every year to visit family and friends on Cruit Island and Glencolmcille.

Speaking on the selection of the film from IFTA, Writer/Director Colm Bairéad and Producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoi said: “We have always believed in the idea that an Irish language film could stand shoulder with the best of world cinema and we feel so proud to be representing our country and our language in this way.

“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 An Cailín Ciúin continues its roll-out on the international stage.”

An Cailín Ciúin tells the story of Cáit (Catherine Clinch) – a nine-year-old girl from an overcrowded, dysfunctional family, who is sent away to live with her mother’s relatives for the summer. She is welcomed with open arms by Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley), but her husband (Andrew Bennett) keeps Cáit at arm’s length. Slowly, but surely, a warmth grows within this makeshift family and Cáit blossoms in their care. But in this house, where there are no secrets, she discovers one painful truth.

The film was funded by Screen Ireland, TG4 and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland as part of the Cine4 scheme. The film was released in cinemas, including Century Cinemas in Letterkenny, and on Curzon Home Cinema in the UK on the 13th of May.