Yesterday, the nominations for the Irish Film and Television Academy’s (IFTA) Film and Drama Awards 2018 were announced.

Some were left cold by the nominations which stuck the public as imbalanced in relation to gender. This was particularly evident in the Best Lead Actress in Film category, which had only three nominations (Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird, Sarah Bolger in Halal Daddy and Ann Skelly in Kissing Candice.

The Irish Film Board has since released a statement congratulating the nominees and praising the importance of the IFTA awards.

Dr Annie Doona, Chair of the IFB, penned the statement, which read: “We are all aware that there is a gender imbalance within the industry and we at the IFB remain steadfastly committed to addressing this issue. Achieving 50/50 gender equality within the sector remains an utmost priority for the IFB and we have undertaken a number of measures to ensure that Irish female talent is encouraged and visible within the industry.”

Doona gave the example of their 2015 Six Point Plan on Gender Equality as one of the initiatives that aims to enhance gender representation in Irish film, though she also acknowledged: “We acknowledge that this shift cannot happen overnight and it is important to remember that we can only fund what we receive. We must continue to implore and encourage Irish creative female talent to apply so that these goals can be achieved.”

Doona also indicated that Irish female filmmakers are gaining traction, giving the examples of Nora Twomey with her Golden Globe-nominated animated feature The Breadwinner and Emer Reynolds with her highly acclaimed documentary The Farthest. Meanwhile, female-led Irish films will also feature highly in 2018, examples of which include Float Like a Butterfly, Kissing Candice, A Girl From Mogadishu, Vita & Virginia and A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot.