Irish actor, Emmett Scanlan – Brendan Brady in Channel 4’s teen-saga Hollyoaks – has won the ‘Best Film Actor Award’ at the prestigious ECU European Independent Film Festival for his performance in Irish film Charlie Casanova.

Written, produced and directed by Terry McMahon, Charlie Casanova had its European Premiere in Paris where it was the only Irish film selected for the Best European Dramatic Feature competition and Emmett Scanlan is the first Irish actor to win this award. In a series of firsts, Charlie Casanova had its World Premiere in Austin, Texas last month at the SXSW Film Festival, where it was the first non-American film selected for the Narrative Feature Competition in six years and the first Irish film ever selected for the competition.

The controversial film, shot in Dublin, details the spiraling events of a ruling class sociopath who knocks down a working class girl in a hit-and-run and uses a deck of playing cards to determine his fate, and has already divided American critics at its three SXSW screenings, with Variety describing the central character as “intolerable,” whereas The Austin Chronicle feels Scanlan’s characterization is “played with chilling ferocity” and Reel Distraction describes it as “brilliant” suggesting his work is “reminiscent in many ways of Tom Hardy’s performance in Bronson.”

Also selected for the Independent Film Festival in Krakow, Poland, Charlie Casanova will compete for the coveted Off Camera Plus Award, where Tim Roth will also screen his 1999 directorial debut, The War Zone. Simultaneously, Charlie Casanova will screen at The Indie Spirit Film Festival in Colorado Springs while several other festivals have already invited the film but have asked wrier-director Terry McMahon to hold off on announcing until they make their own official announcements.

The European Independent Film Festival, held in Paris every year, is described by ECU President, Scott Hillier as, “being at the centre of discovery, promotion and projection of the very best independent filmmaking talent from around the world, ÉCU will showcase filmmakers whose films demonstrate quality, innovation and independence in both form and content in this highly esteemed competitive festival.”

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