CIFF2024 | Announcing Solas Nua's 18th Capital Irish Film Festival Audience Awards

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CIFF2024: Announcing Solas Nua's 18th Capital Irish Film Festival Audience Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Solas Nua announces the 2024 Capital Irish Film Festival Audience Awards - Best Irish Feature and Best Irish Short - based on filmgoers’ feedback and reviews from the screenings at the 18th edition of the festival presented in partnership with the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD. 

Both of these winning CIFF 2024 films have just been nominated for Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) Awards in Ireland.

Best Irish Feature: Lies We Tell 

Best Irish Short: Two For The Road



LIES WE TELL key image with audience award laurels

The 2024 Capital Irish Film Festival Feature Audience Award goes to LIES WE TELL. Irish director Lisa Mulcahy’s critically acclaimed gothic drama opened the 2024 festival to resounding applause from an audience of more than 350 people. This award-winning psychological thriller, adapted by Elisabeth Gooch from the revered Sheridan Le Fanu novel, Uncle Silas, held the audience in suspense throughout! The visceral response to the film was reflected in the engrossing talkback that followed the post-screening Q&A with Lisa Mulcahy and Elisabeth Gooch, moderated by Sky Sitney, professor in the Film and Media Studies Program at Georgetown University and Co-Founder & Festival Director, DC/DOX. The audience was united in their enthusiasm: "LIES WE TELL looks like a prestigious British period drama that cost millions. It was phenomenal;" "The opener (Lies We Tell) was a winner and an excellent choice to kick it all off;" Brilliant;" and "Absolutely fantastic." 

LIES WE TELL was developed through Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland's POV film production and training scheme for female talent, established in 2018 to address gender parity in the Irish screen industry by supporting and enabling women-led film productions. Awards include Best Cinematography in an Irish Feature, Galway Fleadh 2023 and the 2023 Bingham Ray New Talent Award for lead actor, Agnes O'Casey.

On learning of the award, screenwriter Elisabeth Gooch shared: "Thank you so much for this incredible honour. It was an absolute delight to share LIES WE TELL with such a wonderful, engaged audience in the spectacular AFI Silver cinema - and the thoughtful Q&A and conversations afterwards made the evening even more special!"

Director Lisa Mulcahy shared her reaction below in response to the award:

Lisa Mulcahy and Elisabeth Gooch at opening night of CIFF24
Elisabeth Gooch (Screenwriter) and Lisa Mulcahy (Director) at the CIFF 2024 opening night screening of LIES WE TELL. 📷 Ryan Maxwell.
CIFF24 opening night marquee
CIFF24 opening night theatre screening
Lisa Mulcahy speaking on stage CIFF24
Elisabeth Gooch speaking on stage CIFF24
LIES WE TELL theatre side angle shot ciff24 opening night

📷 Ryan Maxwell.



TWO FOR THE ROAD key image with audience award laurels

The 2024 Capital Irish Film Festival Short Audience Award goes to TWO FOR THE ROAD. Lochlainn McKenna's Oscar-qualifying short film explores life through the eyes of 10-year-old Oscar as he navigates a weekend of adventure, fun, and chaos with his Dad, Hugh. This tender and complex drama was adapted from McKenna's award-winning memoir of his childhood entitled Guinness and Coke (RTÉ Francis McManus Short Story competition), and features newcomer Ewan Harris as Oscar and Steve Wall as Hugh.

Written and directed by Lochlainn McKenna, the film was produced by Gráinne Dwyer and Natalie Britton for Heritage. Awards include Best Short Film – Galway International Film Festival 2023, Best Cinematography – Galway International Film Festival 2023, Best In Kerry – Kerry International Film Festival 2023, Audience Award – Best Narrative Short – Newport Beach Film Festival 2023, Best Cork Short – Cork International Film Festival 2023 and most recently an honorable mention for the film as well as the Discover Award for Lochlainn McKenna and composer, Joe Robbins at the 2024 Dublin International Film Festival. 

The audience loved it: "Fantastic story. Tight script. Excellent production and tender and sensitive performances. Memorable;" "Deceptively complex story, rendered beautifully by two fantastic and believable performances;" "The script was superb." TWO FOR THE ROAD was awarded funding through Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland's Focus Shorts scheme which supports the making of live-action fiction films that act as a proving ground for Irish creative talents aspiring to write, direct, and produce films for the cinema.

On learning of the CIFF audience award, director and screenwriter Lochlainn McKenna shared: "We are absolutely thrilled to accept the Audience Award for Best Short Film from the Capital Irish Film Festival, what an honour! Audience awards hold a really special place in my heart; to have connected with an American audience in this kind of way really means the world to me - thank you. This film is deeply personal to me and the greatest highlight of this entire process has been seeing how many people have connected with the film on a deeply emotional level and seeing audiences connect with Oscar and Hugh and their relationship. Or, to put it another way, connected with the chaos of my relationships with my Dad."

Lochlainn McKenna
Lochlainn McKenna, director/writer of TWO FOR THE ROAD
TWO FOR THE ROAD screenshot


Solas Nua’s Capital Irish Film Festival has been showing the latest Irish dramatic and documentary features, shorts, art films, and animation releases by Irish films, and films by and Ireland-based filmmakers annually since 2005 and it represents one of the largest programs of Irish cinema in North America. The four-day festival provides a US platform that amplifies the work of independent filmmakers working in Ireland and beyond and celebrates the great cinematic culture of Ireland. The festival highlights the rich cultural heritage of Ireland but also fosters an inclusive and diverse community of Irish filmmakers. The program spotlights emerging voices on Irish screen, showcases the exceptional talent and passion in Irish filmmaking, and reflects the robust and vibrant screen industry that has grown in Ireland in recent years. 

The festival accepts short film submissions via Film Freeway, and filmmakers are encouraged to share their unique stories and perspectives. All short film submissions from Northern Ireland or Northern Ireland filmmakers are automatically entered into consideration for the annual Norman Houston Short Film Award.


The 2024 Solas Nua Capital Irish Film Festival took place February 29 - March 3, 2024, in partnership with AFI Silver at the AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center.  The 18th edition of the festival was the largest, most ambitious, and most successful to date - with 37 titles including 20 shorts and 17 features, 14 women directors and 18 women screenwriters3 North American and 9 regional premieres, 6 feature debuts, 13 visiting artists, along with 7 Q&A events and audience talkbacks! The festival also featured Academy Award winners, animation, family programming, and gala screening receptions with visiting dignitaries and special guests.

This year’s program highlighted the work of Irish women in film - 10 of the 17 features have either been written or directed by women. 14 titles screened were directed by women (7 features and 7 shorts) and 18 titles have been written or co-written by women (10 features and 8 shorts). The program centered exciting, new, and emerging voices in Irish cinema, with 6 Irish directors making feature film debuts - including 3 women, as well as Irish language titles, animation and family programming in the lineup this year. Films exploring power, misogyny, survival, belonging, and heroism, shocked, thrilled, inspired, entertained and enlightened. Themes of compassion, resilience and hope and the indomitable Irish spirit echoed throughout the program.

CIFF expanded on strategic partnerships with Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland - the Irish national body for film, television and animation; Northern Ireland Screen, the national screen agency for Northern Ireland and the Irish Film Institute’s IFI International programme supported by Culture Ireland. The festival presented 18 film titles (10 features and 8 shorts) funded by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland and 10 film titles (4 features and 6 shorts) funded by Northern Ireland Screen. The relationships and support reflect the increasing platform and profile the festival offers filmmakers and productions from the entire island of Ireland in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

The Capital Irish Film Festival is supported by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme, Culture Ireland, Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Embassy of Ireland, Northern Ireland Bureau, Northern Ireland Screen, and the Irish Film Institute’s IFI International Programme supported by Culture Ireland. Solas Nua is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.


Solas Nua - ‘new light’ in Irish, is a leading multi-disciplinary arts organization that is dedicated exclusively to bringing contemporary Irish arts to Washington, D.C. Solas Nua acts as an ambassador and advocate for Irish arts in the U.S., promoting multi-disciplinary Irish arts and culture. Solas Nua presents, produces, and commissions thought-provoking and ground-breaking work across the arts, and is recognized for making a substantive, unique contribution to the artistic and cultural richness of the city of Washington, DC and beyond. Support and follow Solas Nua via their newsletters, on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


A program of the American Film Institute (AFI), AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center offers a year-round program of the best in American and international cinema, featuring a dynamic mix of retrospectives, special events, tributes, on-stage guest appearances, specialty first-run movies, festivals, premieres and education and community-based programs in a theatrical setting of the highest standards. Anchored by the stunningly restored 1938 Silver Theatre, the three-screen AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a state-of-the-art film and digital media exhibition venue that serves as a national model for preserving and honoring our shared film and film-going heritage. Read about all of these programs and more at, and follow AFI Silver on social media at, and follow AFI Silver on social media at FacebookYouTubeTwitter and Instagram.