The celluloid celebration kicks off this evening with the premiere of Made In Belfast, the debut feature from Northern Ireland writer and director Paul Kennedy. It stars Fermanagh actor Ciaran McMenamin and is being screened at the Movie House, Dublin Road.
Across town at St Anne’s Cathedral this evening there’s a big screen presentation of Franco Zeffirelli’s majestic version of Verdi’s La Traviata in St Anne’s Cathedral which will also feature a live performance by members of Northern Ireland Opera’s Young Artists’ Programme.
Running until Sunday 21st April, the festival will shine a spotlight on both local and global talent.
Over the next 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.
Festival Director Michele Devlin explains: “We are very excited to be showcasing home-grown work and international film-making talent from more than 30 countries. 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.”
Among the special events this year are a number of site specific screenings. The horror blockbuster The Evil Dead 2 will be screened in the city’s Ormeau Park and the Paul Newman classic Cool Hand Luke and other prison-themed movies at Crumlin Road Gaol.
Local theatre group Skewiff are teaming up with the Film Festival to bring festivalgoers the hilarious Same Time, Next Year. The specially commissioned Marilyn Monroe Songbook, performed by Katie and the Carnival, is among the special events, too.
The closing night premiere, on 21st April, is being billed as perhaps the greatest movie ever made. That’s because Final Cut, by Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi, is composed of scenes from the greatest movies ever made. Palfi spent over three years in the editing room collecting scenes from more than 450 international films and assembled them into a narrative.
Among the special guests at the festival this year is novelist Jonathan Coe, who will be introducing one of his favourite films, Billy Wilder’s take on Sherlock Holmes, and also introducing the films of BS Johnson.
Tony Grisoni, screenwriter of Red Riding Trilogy, is jetting in to talk about his work, while film critic and journalist Mark Kermode will be choosing his favourite films in conversation with Brian Henry Martin at the festival’s Desert Island Flicks event.
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 the setting of Belfast Inst’s library, a Twin Peaks Night and Faraway, a story of intrigue and misadventure set in contemporary Northern Ireland.
Full information is now available through the 13thth Belfast Film Festival Programme, distributed at key venues around the city, or online at www.belfastfilmfestival.org
Ticket sales are already strong and the festival director is encouraging local film fans to buy their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Tickets for the festival are available online at www.belfastfilmfestival.org, by phoning the Festival Box Office on 028 9024 6609 or from the Belfast Welcome Centre at 47 Donegall Place, Belfast.