The 13th Belfast Film Festival has begun today (Thursday).
Over a whirlwind 11 days, film fans will be treated to more than 110 screenings in a range of venues across the city as well as an eclectic mix of special events. The festival, which runs until April 21, will shine a spotlight on both local and global talent.
Among the highlights will be the premiere of Neil Jordan’s new vampire movie Byzantium starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton, site-specific screenings of Evil Dead 2 at Ormeau Park and Cool Hand Luke at Crumlin Road Gaol, and a big screen presentation of Franco Zeffirelli’s version of La Traviata in St Anne’s Cathedral.
Among the special guests at this year’s festival will be novelist Jonathan Coe, who will be introducing one of his favourite films, Billy Wilder’s take on Sherlock Holmes; Tony Grisoni, screenwriter of Red Riding Trilogy, who will talk about his work; and film critic and journalist Mark Kermode will be choose his favourite films in conversation with Brian Henry Martin at the Desert Island Flicks event.
Kicking off the celluloid celebration will be the premiere of Made In Belfast, the debut feature from Northern Ireland writer and director Paul Kennedy; local theatre group Skewiff bring audiences the hilarious Same Time, Next Year; and the specially commissioned Marilyn Monroe Songbook will be performed by Belfast band Katie and the Carnival.
The closing night premiere will be of Final Cut, by Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi, a film composed of scenes from the greatest movies ever made.
Other on-screen highlights include Jack Black as a funeral director in Richard Link’s latest film, Bernie; a screening of The Breakfast Club in Belfast Inst’s library; a Twin Peaks Night; and a screening of Faraway, a story of intrigue and misadventure set in contemporary Northern Ireland.
“We are very excited to be showcasing home-grown work and international film-making talent from more than 30 countries,” said festival director Michelle Devlin. “The programme is packed with well established, lesser-seen and exciting first time directing talent. From Iran to Japan, from Cuba to China, the world will be at festivalgoers’ fingertips.
“We are thrilled also that emerging local talent is well represented in the 53 shortlisted films from the hundreds of entries to the festival’s Short Film Competition. There is a lot to look forward to.”
Michele Devlin says festival events aimed at those working in the film industry will also be a big draw.
“With the profile of the Northern Ireland film sector at an all-time high and increasing numbers of aspiring film-makers, writers and producers needing to know about the business of film, the time is ripe for some serious industry insights.
“Northern Ireland Screen is bringing key players to Belfast as part of the festival’s Industry Days when sales agents, distributors, production companies, writing and development experts will participate.”
For full listings or to book tickets for the Belfast Film Festival, April 11-21, visit www.belfastfilmfestival.org or call 028 9024 6609. Tickets are also available from the Belfast Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, Belfast.