Belfast Telegraph

Meet the Northern Irish star whose name will soon be on everyone’s lips

By Patrice Dougan

You might not have heard of her, but she is certainly turning heads in international movie circles.

Northern Irish actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes (29) is set to receive a prestigious gong for her work at the forthcoming Berlin Film Festival.

The young starlet will be recognised by many as Sam from the BBC sitcom Lead Balloon, starring Jack Dee.

Originally an up-and-coming fashion designer, the actress of English and Irish descent has appeared in a number of hit television programmes including When Harvey Met Bob, Casualty, Spooks and Silent Witness.

Since moving full-time into acting in 2005 she has turned all the right heads in the film industry, being named a Star of Tomorrow by Screen International and securing a Rising Star nomination at the 2011 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards.

Topping those accolades, Antonia will now receive the Shooting Star award at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival in February.

She follows in the footsteps of James Bond star Daniel Craig and his wife, Oscar winner Rachel Weisz, to be celebrated by the European Film Promotion jury.

Antonia won the award over a long list of hopefuls from over 25 European countries to be selected for the title.

Her performance in new film The Other Side Of Sleep was praised by the EFP jury, who said her acting was "seductively minimalistic but demonstrates magnificent charisma at the same time".

"In The Other Side Of Sleep, her character's inner solitude and sadness are conveyed with haunting, empathetic power," the EFP website states.

"She is a performer of wonderful soul and depth."

In the film the petite blonde takes on the role of a chronic sleepwalker from a small Irish town who finds herself drawn to a murdered girl's family. Deprived of sleep and full of emotional turmoil, her sleeping and waking realities begin to blur as she is reminded of her own mother's disappearance 20 years ago.

Now all eyes will be on the future star as she receives her award at a lavish ceremony at the Berlinale Palast next month.

And it's sure to be something the Ulster girl will have to get used to as her career looks set to take her to new heights.

She has already tasted fame after starring alongside veteran Hollywood actress Glenn Close in her latest film Albert Nobbs, and taking a lead role in Alexandra McGuinness' comedy drama Lotus Eaters.

Antonia will also hit the big screen in two new films due to be released later this year, Storage 24 and Kelly And Victor.

Her television appearances on Lead Balloon and Jennifer Saunders' show - The Life And Times Of Vivienne Vyle - received praise from critics, earning her a one-woman show, Bluebell Welch on MTV, which she wrote and starred in.

Before venturing into acting Antonia had already achieved success as a fashion designer, running her own clothing label since she was a teenager.

The clothing line sold internationally, and even had a diffusion range for high street store Topshop.

She is also a regular model for French fashion label, Devastee.

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