Northern Ireland

Boogaloo and Graham: Film team not counting their chickens over Oscar bid

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Media captionChris Buckler went to meet the schoolboy stars of the film Boogaloo and Graham

You would think being the star of a Bafta-nominated movie would be exciting. But Riley Hamilton fell asleep before Boogaloo and Graham was declared best short film at the awards.

"I made it to about 15 minutes before it came on," says the 10-year-old who lost patience while watching the awards ceremony with his family at home.

"There were all was all sorts of categories like sound-mixing and best graphics.

"I just went up to bed."

Aaron Lynch who plays his brother in the short film was awake to see the announcement and it was difficult to get to sleep afterwards.

Image caption Aaron Lynch and Riley Hamilton show off the film's Baftas

"When it won the Bafta I was running about the house screaming," says Aaron who is 13.

"It was amazing."

Oscar nomination

Both Aaron and Riley are determined to stay up on 22 February to see if the film can repeat the success at the Oscars, where it is nominated in the best live action short film category.

That might require a nap.

The Academy Awards will be shown live overnight next Sunday in the UK - Riley barely made it to 22:00 GMT on the evening of the Baftas.

The boys' performances are at the heart of this low-budget film set in 1970s Belfast.

The years of violence known as the Troubles are a presence in the background, but this is a story about families, the facts of life and two chickens called, you guessed it, Boogaloo and Graham.

The short has already charmed many audiences, leading to requests from 80 film festivals around the world to show it.

But what all involved with the production are waiting to find out is whether it made an impression on members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who vote in the Oscars ballot.

There are already some indications that while the film tells a story firmly rooted in Belfast, it has international appeal.

"We were in a showcase in Washington last week and ambassadors and senators were laughing themselves sick at this film," reveals Ronan Blaney, who wrote the screenplay.

"It has something special."


Image copyright PA
Image caption Brian Falconer, Ronan Blaney and Michael Lennox received the Bafta award at the Royal Opera House in London

Three years ago, another short film made in Northern Ireland won the same category at the Oscars.

The team behind Boogaloo and Graham are hoping they can repeat the success enjoyed by The Shore. But they are not - if you will excuse the pun - counting their chickens.

"If you had asked me what our chances were for the Bafta, I would have said I don't think we were going to win it," says Brian Falconer, the producer.

"In the Oscars, we are the underdog. We are a small film with a small budget coming from Northern Ireland.

"What we have is an amazing writer and an amazing director in Michael Lennox."

The Oscar nomination puts the whole team behind the film in the spotlight, including the two young actors at the centre of the story.

Aaron Lynch may have only just become a teenager, but he already has an impressive showreel, which features a role in the critically acclaimed film '71, alongside Bafta-winner Jack O'Connell.

"I dance and sing as well, so I would like to be in musicals," he says.

"I want it to be a career."

Riley on the other hand is more interested in sport than cinema, for the moment at least.

With a smirk the 10-year-old says: "If I'm not a footballer, I've got a back-up job."

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