The 22nd Chicago Irish Film Festival Award Winners Are…

Festival Award

These films were chosen from the hundreds of submitted films and the more than 40+ official selections by the 2021 CIFF Jury for outstanding filmmaking. Congratulations!

Festival Award - 2021
How to Fall in Love During a Pandemic

Director: Michael-David McKernan

A romance accelerates dramatically against the backdrop of the pandemic as two filmmakers who met on-line are forced to move in together; and it all began in Chicago!

The 21st CIFF congratulates director Michael-David McKernan for the courage to film such a personal event as it was unfolding perfectly blending the beauty and isolation of the Irish countryside with the intimate space between two people with a truly short personal history.

Honorable Mention—Cost You Nothing

Director: Patricia Kelly | A mother’s fractious relationship with her son disintegrates when she cannot accept the man he has become.

The 21st CIFF congratulates Jack Murphy for an extraordinary performance.


Ascending Grace | Claire Byrne
Operator | Jonathan Hughes 
Christy | Brendan Canty

Consulate of Ireland Awards

The award was established by former Consul general, Aidan Cronin, to honor a short film that captures Ireland, it’s spirit, history, or culture. The winner will be selected the current Consul General of Ireland–Chicago, Mr. Kevin Byrne. This year’s nominees represent Irish folklore, Irish adventure, a moment in Irish sport’s history, a lost Irish heritage and faith in Irish luck. 

Consulate of Ireland Award

Director: Abaigeal Collins

A small four-leaf clover named Lucky is companion to an old Irish man in downtown Chicago, but there are some things that luck just can’t fix.

Congratulations to Abaigeal Collins for a wonderful story that highlighted Chicago and her Irish history


Fisherman | Narae Kim and Lewis Barfoot
The Mountain Keg | Justin Stevenson and Diarmuid Connon
An Irish Underdog Story | Johnathan Farrelly
At Heart and Soul | Greta Steinberg and Jorinde Weinmann

One Minute Irish Shorts Awards

There is something truly remarkable about a film that lasts only a minute but perfectly captures a moment of national sentiment, advice, reflection, or say a bright object. 

One Minute Irish Award
Lockdown Upside-down

Director: Barbara Soares | Lockdown in Dublin—a teeny tiny doc in 60 seconds.

Congratulations to Barbara Soares for a wonderful collage of life in 60 seconds.

Back Home
Honorable Mention—Back Home

Directors: Luca Di Bartola | How big is our vital space? What shapes, sounds and colors can it acquire?

Congratulations to Luca Di Bartola for excellence in cinematography.

Morning Murder
Mourning Murder | Liam Fahy
Sign of the Times
Signs of the Times | Amy-Joyce Hastings

2021 Special COVID-19 Awards

One of the unexpected effects of Covid-19 was a worldwide creative response to the pandemic, in music, poetry, art and of course film.

COVID-19 Award
COVID-19 Award
Shielding Nico

Director: Maire Campbell

Matt opens the door to find his young son Nico has come to live with him. Reclusive and depressed Matt struggles to cope, but Covid-19, the lockdown and shielding Nico changes his outlook on life.

Congratulations to Maire Campbell for capturing the many difficult sides of Covid including parenting, isolation, and re-evaluating what is truly important in each of our lives.

Honorable Mention—Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Sane?

Directors: Nick Hales | The slow decline of a worker over lockdown. A story that may, or may not echo my own days of the Covid pandemic in front of the computer screen…

Congratulations to Nick Hales for amazing animation and for finding humor in a time of great anxiety and too many Zoom calls.

The Final Performance
The Final Performance

Director: David Phillips

A man gives his all in a performance in front of a captive audience.


Director: Mark Jackson

A child goes on an extremely scary adventure.

60 Days of Hell

Director: Sohaila Lindheim

Lockdown in Dublin—a teeny tiny doc in 60 seconds.


Audience Awards

Everyone who has an individual ticket or a pass for this year’s amazing Shorts Programs 1–5 and the shorts presented in our partnership programs, Dublin Animation Film Festival and Green Ray Agency, and will be able to vote for their favorite short. Just click the stars below the film title you want to vote for, submit your vote. Voting is only available on a mobile device not on your TV. Watch our social media pages to find out the 2021 audience award Winners! 

Crown Laurels
A Better You

Eamonn Murphy

Set in a dystopian Neo-Steampunk World, Douglas a shy introvert enlists the help of “A Better You” a customizable carbon clone to help him win the girl of his dreams. A futuristic Cyrano?

Honorable Mentions
The Yellow Dress | Deborah Grimes

To help her mother regain her joie de vivre after having breast cancer Aisling, 14, sets her up on what she believes will be the “perfect date”.

We Don’t Choose How | Natasha Waugh

A homeless artist struggles with a tragic loss, and uses his talent to overcome grief.