13th Belfast Film Festival launches

THEY say that 13 is an unlucky number, but those involved with this year’s Belfast Film Festival don’t appear to be paid much heed to such superstition. The annual event now in its 13th year continues to go from strength to strength.

Back to its regular spot in April the festival returns with the feel good attitude still hanging in air from last year, memories still fresh from the  buzzing opening night premiere of the Terri Hooley biopic, Good Vibrations last May. The film received critical acclaim from both audiences and critics and got last year’s festival off to a really positive start . Good Vibrations went on to take the worldwide film festival circuit by storm, and will soon be on general release across the UK later this month.

This year will see 110 different screenings taking place across a variety of venues throughout the city, featuring films and documentaries from over 30 different counties. There really is something for everyone during the festival’s 11 days. Michele Devlin the festival’s director described this year’s programme as being ‘truly diverse.’

Also speaking during the launch at the Black Box, the festival’s new chairman Kevin Jackson, taking over from the previous incumbent Brian Henry Martin said: “This year’s event has a real fresh dynamic feel, with a real international appeal.” Advising urging viewers to try something different this year he added: “Try something different, expand as an audience and sample something different, don’t just sample the festival’s bigger events.”

The programme continues to grow steadily, with an expanded short film selection in comparison to previous years, with 53 short films all in contention for awards within the festival’s short film competition. This year will also see the regular Belfast event, Film Devour taking place during the festival for the first ever time. The locally run event showcases local talent, with a night of short films produced by a variety of local filmmakers.

Also in attendance at the festival’s launch was Belfast’s Lord Mayor, Niall O’ Donnghaile, who himself is the subject of documentary included in this year’s programme. He proudly announced that Belfast City Council would commit to supporting the festival for the next three years.

No matter what tickles your fancy, this year there is a range of events that will cater to every cinematic taste. From the Screening of Evil Dead 2 in the darkness of the city’s Ormeau Park to an evening in Crumlin Road Gaol in the company of Cool Hand Luke. The event’s organisers continue to excel in creating unique cinematic experiences that take cinema outside of its normal setting and offer new viewing experiences.

Everything kicks off this year on Thursday 11 April with the opening night première of Paul Kennedy’s directorial début, Made in Belfast. Hungarian Filmmaker György Pálfi’s intriguing feature Final Cut will bring the curtain down on the festivities 10 days later at the Movie House on Dublin Road.

For a full breakdown of this year’s programme check out the festival’s website or lookout for their programme which is freely available from various outlets across Belfast. With only weeks to go until everything kicks off, festival organisers are advising people to book early to avoid disappointment.

By William McClean

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