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'I missed out on star-studded Baftas party...but pals used my name and gatecrashed bash', says Northern Ireland director

By Laura Abernethy

Published 16/02/2016

Stephen Fingleton
Stephen Fingleton
Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio at the Baftas
Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke on the red carpet

Northern Ireland film director Stephen Fingleton missed out on one of the most exclusive Bafta parties after his friends gatecrashed using his name.

The Londonderry-born director was up for the outstanding debut award for his film The Survivalist at the British Academy Film and Television Awards on Sunday night.

He spent the evening rubbing shoulders with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but as other nominees and award-winners partied, he went home around 3am as he wasn't sure he'd gain access to the VIP Weinstein Company's after-party.

He said he "didn't rate his chances of getting in", and as he had been partying since 5pm, he decided to head back to his hotel.

He later got a text from one of his friends saying that they had gatecrashed the exclusive bash using his name.

Local producer Brian Falconer, the man behind the 2015 Bafta-winning short film Boogaloo And Graham, got a taxi to the exclusive event and used Stephen's name to get inside and celebrate with everyone from Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke to ceremony host Stephen Fry.

Stephen explained: "I got a text from my lead actress Olwen Fouéré and she told me they were in the Weinstein party but by that stage I had already decamped to bed and I couldn't join them. I wasn't too bothered, though, by that point." Despite missing out on the gong at the star-studded ceremony, Stephen said that the night at the grand Royal Opera House in London was still one to remember.

He said: "It was a fantastic experience. I was in the same room as some of my greatest idols, including Steven Spielberg. The venue was beautiful and there was plenty of Champagne.

"The important thing for me is that being nominated is a tremendous accolade. To craft a film which gained recognition across the industry is a very useful metric for knowing that you are doing things right and being in the room with the films that were in the main categories is the aspiration."

The Survivalist was the 32-year-old's first feature film, but he had previously been nominated for the best live action short film category at the Oscars.

His new movie, which was released in the same weekend as the ceremony, tells the story of a self-sufficient survivor who forms an uneasy bond with a mother and daughter after society collapses.

The film was shot in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, and had a budget of just £1m but it has already caused quite a stir, including at the Sitges Film Festival in Catalonia, where Stephen won the Citizen Kane Award for best newcomer.

The up and coming director promised that although he was disappointed this year, he'll be back at the award ceremony in years to come.

He said: "It's an experience I could get used to. This won't be the last time I'll be there."

The Survivalist (18) is in cinemas now. Visit for details of how to watch it on demand.

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