Belfast Film Festival kicks off in just over two weeks time. If you haven’t already perused the programme and booked your tickets, now is the time. I attended a few films and events last year and am hugely looking forward to this year’s selection of cinematic treats.
The programme is brimming with tantalising treats. I’ve split the post in two – this one covers my highlights from the 50 or so films being shown in the first week of the festival. I hope I catch at least a few. Update - Part two now posted too.
Friday 16 April
7pm, QFT – Empire (PG) – Based on the Greek myth Orpheus and set in Belfast where a wandering fool meets a vaudevillian can-can dancer. World premiere.
Saturday 17 April
3pm, QFT – Mia and the Migoo (U) – Animated fantasy adventure based around a young girl’s mission to protect a sacred tree that is threatened by the construction of a lavish island resort. Can the Migoo creatures help Mia save her father, the tree and the future of the earth?
9pm, Menagerie Bar - Cinema Sports screening – See the results of that day’s film-making competition where teams have 11 hours to make a film that includes three specified themes or elements. Smell the last minute nerves as the lights go down and the film rolls. (Open to the public to take part - £5 per team – sign up in advance.)
Sunday 18 April
3pm, QFT – Mia and the Migoo (U) – see Saturday 17 April.
8pm, Bff Beanbag Cinema – Mix Up (PG) – Based on the true story of two babies switched at birth and brought up by the wrong parents. Twenty years the two women discover. Never mind the original mix up, the film promises a mixed up bag of styles, cultures and footage.
Monday 19 April
7pm, QFT – Bluebeard (Barbe Bleue) (15) – A tale within a tale. Two sisters sneak up to the attic to read a fairytale. But inside the fairytale, one sister is compelled to marry Bluebeard to lift her family out of poverty.
9.15pm, QFT – The Living Room of the Nation – Seventy five minutes of observing different Finnish living rooms. Could be tedious? Or it could bring you hilarity, danger, commitment and love, as well as an insight into Finnish life.
Tuesday 20 April
8pm, Culturlann – The Puzzles of Paisley and The Two Traditions: Myths & Fears– Authors and journalists comment on the “Ian Paisley phenomenon with the help of RTE archives” followed by a 1991 film that depicts the “cultural fears and stereotypes that existed at that time”. Followed by a Q&A.
Wednesday 21 April
7pm, Dublin Road Movie House – Cup Cake – Shot in Ballymoney, this ultra-low budget film looks at a bakery inherited by a son who isn’t a natural baker; building robots; a foreign love interest; and a promise kept and a heart followed.
7pm, QFT – Lebanon (15) – Four Israeli soldiers in a claustrophobic tank sent to rescue a group of paratroopers during the First Lebanonese War in 1982. Fear, survival and the spiralling chaos of war. [Update - quick review]
8pm, Spectrum Centre – The Puzzles of Paisley – Authors and journalists comment on the “Ian Paisley phenomenon with the help of RTE archives”. Followed by a Q&A.
Thursday 22 April
9.15pm, QFT – Mickey B (15) – An adaptation of Macbeth cast by prisoners serving in HMP Maghaberry. The three witches are bookies. Followed by a Q&A with the Director and one of the cast.
8pm, Spectrum Centre – Change of Address – 1975 BBC NI documentary about the proposed Belfast Urban Motorway around the city that never went ahead. The problems of Divis Flats, Shankill Road depopulation and Springmartin discussed. Followed by a Q&A.
Friday 23 April
7.15pm, QFT – Hamely Tongue / Cultúr Ceilte (Hidden Culture) – Puts forward a “more nuanced perspective on the language and culture of Ulster Scots” and tries to find common ground between Ulster Scots and Irish. Followed by Q&A.
9pm, QFT – Last Train Home – Imagine leaving your children in rural China with a grandparent while you go and work hundreds of miles away in an industrialised city, only returning once a year at Chinese New Year to see them. But feeling abandoned, your teenage children may rebel. This is the story of over 100 million Chinese workers.