'Warrior,' Documentary About Current Student Orla Tinsley, Finalist for New York Film Award 2020

Audrey Deng
March 11, 2020
Headshot of Orla Tinsley

Current student Orla Tinsley, who studies writing at Columbia University, is the subject of an Irish-production documentary titled Orla Tinsley: Warrior. This documentary, which followed Tinsley as she goes through the process of a double lung transplant in New York in 2018, is a finalist for the New York Film Award 2020.

According to Production Hub, “Over 200+ award-winning Grand Jury members from prominent international broadcast and film companies selected this year’s Finalists selected from entries submitted from over 50 countries.”

The effectiveness of this documentary proved enormous: “[...] in the days following Warrior’s television debut [in Ireland], requests for organ donor cards across Ireland increased by almost 10,000%,” writes Columbia University in an article about the documentary’s screening at Columbia University. Afterwards, Professor Phillip Lopate held a discussion with Tinsley.

Tinsley is an award-winning journalist, author, and health activist. A native of Ireland, she moved to New York City in 2014 to pursue an MFA in creative writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, after having already revolutionized healthcare in Ireland as an advocate for fellow sufferers of cystic fibrosis. By early 2017, her own health was rapidly declining, and she was placed on the organ transplant list. On December 21st of that year, just days away from dying, she finally received a life-saving double lung transplant at Columbia University Medical Center.

The Irish Examiner writes, “The documentary Orla Tinsley: Warrior was filmed over 14 months and documented her failing health, the excruciating six false alarms, and the lucky seventh transplant call which arrived at the 11th hour, just in time to give her a new chance at life.”

Medalists of this award are announced on an ongoing basis.