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Ballymena star Claudia Beatty walks the red carpet at Dublin International Film Festival

Ballymena teen Claudia Beatty

Ballymena teen Claudia Beatty

The Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF) launched this week with much fanfare, and along with other stars attending from across the island was young Claudia Beatty from Ballymena.

The up and coming actress proudly walked the red carpet as Ireland’s premier film event returned Monday (22nd January) to present the best in contemporary and classic world cinema. The annual festival brings the world to Ireland and showcases Ireland to the world.

For the 17-year-old Broughshane lass, this week offered well-deserved recognition and reward for her hard work and dedication in carving out a career as an actress on the big screen, after she landed a role in Irish movie 'King Frankie'.

King Frankie movie poster

Directed by Dermot Malone, the movie is the story of Frankie (Coonan), a humble Dublin taxi driver who runs his own tiny taxi firm. On the day of his father’s removal, he comes face to face with something that happened ten years ago, and the first thing that he must do is forgive himself. Malone’s debut film is about those who not only make promises but also keep them.

Claudia features in the movie as Grainne, Frankie's most loyal and favourite customer. The young girl has down syndrome, and Frankie collects and drops her to school five days a week. Claudia was perfectly cast for the role of playing the young teenager who is described as 'a beautiful soul, always laughing and messing with Frankie in the car, naturally curious with a beaming smile'.

Claidia pictured with fellow stars, cast in King Frankie

Claidia pictured with fellow stars, cast in King Frankie

Starring as Grainne in King Frankie has been Claudia's biggest role to date. The young talent was previously cast in a BBC Newsround documentary called ‘Thirteen...A Day In The Life Of', that aired in March 2020.

Claudia is a student of Castle Tower School in Ballymena, and she attends Starburst Drama School in Antrim. Whenever the role came up to play a teenage girl with Down Syndrome in the movie, Claudia's drama teacher encouraged her to apply. After submitting a self-tape for an initial audition for the part, she was invited to the Ali Coffey casting office in Dublin, and was soon celebrating when she was offered the role.

Claudia filmed her part in 'King Frankie' back in March 2022 in Dublin and has enjoyed meeting Irish stars Aine Cooney, Alan Mahon, Ally Ní Chiarain, Conor MacNeill, Emman Idama, Fergal Titley, Lynn Raferty, Olivia Cafrey, Owen Roe, Peter Coonan, Rejjie Snow, Rob Malone, Ross Gaynor, and Ruairi O'Connor.

Proud mum, Cheryl Beatty, described her daughter's casting in the movie as a "great opportunity". She said:

“This has been such a great opportunity for Claudia to be involved in her first acting role. To be part of a film and star alongside Peter Coonan and work with the most amazing and supportive cast and crew was an incredible experience for her. We are very proud of her achievement”

Claudia pictured with Dermot Malone, writer and director of King Frankie.

Claudia pictured with Dermot Malone, writer and director of King Frankie.

The talented Claudia reflected on her part in the movie and attending this week's red carpet event and said, “I was so excited to attend the red carpet launch for Dublin Film Festival and King Frankie. It felt amazing to be part of it and I’m really looking forward to watching the film on the big screen”.

King Frankie is being premiered at the Lighthouse Cinema during the festival in Dublin on 24th February 2024, when Claudia will be back on the red carpet for the evening, alongside the director and cast.

The Dublin film festival runs from 22nd February to 2nd March.


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