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Belfast actor with Down's Syndrome James Martin takes delivery of special prize from Hollywood

James Martin

Winners of acting awards in Hollywood normally receive their coveted gongs at glittering ceremonies in front of an A-lister audience.

But James Martin from Belfast, who has been honoured for his role in a TV drama produced in Northern Ireland last year, has got his prize from Tinseltown through the post.

James, who has Down's syndrome, was praised for his portrayal of Conal in his first short film Ups And Downs, which was written and directed by Eoin Cleland and broadcast on BBC NI.

The drama told the story of how Conal went on a road trip with his sister, played by Rosie Barry, to a concert in Belfast against the wishes of their mother, played by Newry film and TV star Susan Lynch.

James (28) was voted best actor in the New York City TV Festival in November but he said he was thrilled to hear that he has now won a similar award at the Hollywood International Diversity Festival in Santa Monica, California.

He was not in the States to collect the award in person but the trophy has since arrived out of the blue by special delivery to his home in south Belfast, a timely boost for James in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown. There could be more trophies on the way for James, who has been nominated for an award in the prestigious Okotoks Film Festival in Calgary, Canada, in June when the events will be streamed online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

James and Eoin have been invited to appear at the festival via video conferencing.

"That's a great honour for us," said James.

Later this year James will reach his biggest audience when he is seen in episodes of the ITV series Marcella, which stars Bafta award-winning actress Anna Friel and which was filmed in Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph