The O’Kalem Award

In 2013, the Film Selection Committee of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival decided it was time to highlight Irish short films in the festival lineup.  In years prior, short films were presented before or between full-length offerings during the festival, but the team decided it was time to put these amazing shorts into the spotlight.  Thus was born the “Wee Irish Film Night”, an entire night dedicated to Irish shorts, in which the audience has the opportunity to pick their favorite short film of the night.  That winning short is awarded the O’Kalem Award for Audience Favorite Short Film, and the award is presented to the filmmakers.

  • 2013 O'Kalem Award
    2013 O'Kalem Award
    The 2013 inaugural O'Kalem Award of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival
  • 2013 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: El Toro
    2013 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: El Toro
    El Toro director Tomás Seoighe accepts the 2013 inaugural O'Kalem Award via video message to the audience
  • 2014 O'Kalem Award
    2014 O'Kalem Award
    The 2014 O'Kalem Award of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival
  • 2014 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: Rúbaí
    2014 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: Rúbaí
    Rúbaí­ writer-director Antoin Beag ó Colla accepts the 2014 O'Kalem Award via video message to the audience
  • 2015 O'Kalem Award
    2015 O'Kalem Award
    The 2015 O'Kalem Award of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival
  • 2015 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: Deadly
    2015 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: Deadly
    Deadly writer-director Aidan McAteer accepts the 2015 O'Kalem Award via video message to the audience
  • 2016 O'Kalem Award
    2016 O'Kalem Award
    The 2016 O'Kalem Award of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival
  • 2016 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: The Immaculate Misconception
    2016 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: The Immaculate Misconception
    The Immaculate Misconception cowriter-director Michael Geoghegan accepts the 2016 O'Kalem Award via video message to the audience
  • 2017 O'Kalem Award
    2017 O'Kalem Award
    The 2017 O'Kalem Award of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival
  • 2017 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: Gridlock
    2017 O'Kalem Award Acceptance: Gridlock
    The 2017 O'Kalem Award made its way safely to Gridlock director Ian Hunt Duffy

The O’Kalems, as they were known in Ireland, were director Sidney Olcott and screenwriter and actress Gene Gauntier, of the New York based Kalem Film Company.  Between 1910 and 1914, the O’Kalems, based in Co. Kerry, made films with strong Irish themes and local Irish locations.  Their first film, The Lad from Old Ireland (1910), was the first major film produced in Ireland and one of the first American films shot overseas.  The award is constructed with distinctive top and bottom halves: The native wood base represents our Louisiana roots and heritage, and the emerald green glass “flame” represents the artistic achievements of the Irish filmmakers.  Every year the judged short films change, and so does the glass portion of the award, which is created each year by local Baton Rouge glass artist Nick Oldenburg.

Past O’Kalem Award winners of the Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival:

2017:  Gridlock, accepted by Director Ian Hunt Duffy
2016:  The Immaculate Misconception, accepted by Cowriter-Director Michael Geoghegan
2015:  Deadly, accepted by Writer-Director Aidan McAteer
2014:  Rúbaí, accepted by Writer Antoin Beag ó Colla
2013:  El Toro, accepted by Director Tomás Seoighe