Critically acclaimed actor John Connors made a poignant speech about how acting and creativity saved him when he was contemplating suicide.
Known to tv fans for his role as Patrick Ward in "Love/Hate", the actor is working prolifically to end the stigmatization of Irish travelers.
At the Irish Film and Television Awards, Connors received the award for Best Actor for his role in "Cardboard Gangsters" and his powerful speech (below) proceeded to go viral.
The Dublin native took to the stage to "thank the BAI, TV3, and The Irish Film Board" before revoking his praise.
“The Irish Film Board didn’t fund us. You turned us down! What was it? Oh wait. You didn't understand our approach," he jabbed.
"Cardboard Gangsters" directed by Mark O'Connor was one of 2017's biggest box office hits. The film centers on a young group of Dubliners in pursuit of a glorified gangster lifestyle.
In fact, "Cardboard Gangsters" is one of the rare films ever released that received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Due to its success, it has now been picked up and is available to stream on Netflix.
Just watched #cardboardgangsters
Best film I've seen in a long while.
Outstanding. @johnconnors1990— Mark W (@Renegadegrafter) February 15, 2018
Take a bow.
We all really need to see @johnconnors1990 in more Irish Dublin big hit Movies ever since @CardboardGangs was a massive big hit here in dublin and abroad winning awards in manchester filmfestival & in LA Newport beach for the first time back in 2017 we need another Irish hit ??— Paul Smith (@PaulSmithDublin) February 14, 2018
Connors further criticized the film board for their unwillingness to work with the project, and proved that the "Cardboard Gangsters" cast and crew are having the last laugh.
"Well we kind of had an interesting approach winning awards all across the globe and being the biggest box office hit of the year. Not that it matters to me - but it matters to you [Irish Film Board] and you can't get credit for that," he said.
A lack of diversity in the Irish arts is no secret, and Connors poignantly told the audience of industry heavyweights what a big moment this is not only for him, but his community.
"This is still a huge moment for me. Seven and a half years ago, I was sitting in my house in Darndale in a little box bedroom in the darkness contemplating suicide. That's no mess. And I thought there was no way out until my brother Joe reached out to me...He said I need something to latch on to. He suggested acting, and I don't know why, but it was a lightbulb moment."
Connors is also behind the RTE2 documentary "Race Matters: John Connors' America" in which the 27-year-old travels to areas in Chicago and Dallas to uncover violent gang crime and its affects on desolate communities.