Sunday, May 27, 2012

The 12th Belfast Film Festival, 31 May to 10 June 2012

Lights, camera, action! Belfast Film Festival is back, running between 31 May and 10 June with one hundred films and events crammed into their programme.

While the opening night première of Good Vibrations (Thursday 31 May) is sold out in both venues, the closing première – Whole Lotta Sole (Sunday 10 June) still has tickets available. A comedy directed by Terry George it tells the story of Jimbo who robs a Belfast fish market on a Friday in “a misguided attempt to protect his family and pay back gambling debts to the local Mobster”. (Terry George is also giving his insights into the film and TV business in the Black Box on Friday 8 June.)

Other highlights ...

Thursday 31 May

Urbanized – A feature-length documentary about the design of cities. Who shapes out cities and how do they do it? Exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world with comment from architects, planners, policymakers, builders and thinkers. Directed by Gary Hustwit. Supported by PLACE.

Friday 1 June

Test Pilota Pyrxa – “A gripping space adventure with a strong social undercurrent.” A Polish film in a crew made up of both humans and robots (“non-linears”) launch two satellites in a bid to prove whether humans or robots are safest and most cost-effective. Disaster strikes. Directed by Marek Piestrak.

Saturday 2 June

The Crying Game – Part of the festival’s spotlight on Stephen Rea.

Sunday 3 June

The Little Prince – Based on the story by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, this musical film follows the little boy from Asteroid B-612, the pilot who makes a forced landing in the desert, and stars Gene Wilder as the fox. This 1974 film promises to be better than Christmas 2011’s musical version in the Lyric!

King Curling – An OCD curling champion banned from the sport reforms his curling team to win the national championship and use its prize money to fund an operation needed by his old coach. A Norwegian knockabout with visual humour, middle aged men and deadpan humour. Directed by Ole Endresen.

Tuesday 5 June

Alive from the Divas Flats – A free documentary screening of the true story of Hugo Straney, an Irish Canadian from Belfast who now lives and performs in Toronto. With two record deals, weekly gigs and a radio show, it’s the honest story of an ‘everyman’ and his journey from “a disaster in social housing” to Toronto and beyond. Directed by Eleanor McGrath.

Wednesday 6 June

Shadow Dancer – Collette is a victim of the Troubles. Now caught up in the Republican movement and arrested she faces life in jail. Or she could return home as an MI5 spy. A psychological thriller. Directed by James Marsh.

Polisse – The daily routine for the Paris Police Department’s Juvenile Protection Unit is interrupted by the arrival of a photographer assigned to document the squad. Fighting to defend the defenceless, the film shows the growing effect of cases on the officers and the cost to their private lives. Crime drama with a touch of humour and humanity. Directed by Maiwenn.

11th Belfast World Pong Championships – The annual lo-res graphics alternative to Wimbledon takes place in the John Hewitt Bar. Commentators will guide you through the suspense, drama and clever technique of this machine-assisted tournament that surely should have included in the London 2012 Olympics.

Thursday 7 June

Toothbrush – Set in Belfast during a four week freeze in which it was cheaper to flush the toilet with lemonade than buy bottled water”, Bronagh is desperate to find a man before she’s thirty and adopts a friend’s persona as a mask to get counselling on the matter. But the doctor isn’t in and hew secretary is pretending to be the doctor. Directed by Michael McNulty.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces – An outdoor screening in Commercial Court car park, supported by PLACE. The film exploring the open spaces in cities, using time-lapse observation of how people interact with each other and the with public areas. Film written by urbanist and journalist William H Whyte.

Crulic – A Romanian/Polish animated documentary “recounting the Kafkeesque history of a Romanian man arrested in Poland and abandoned by everyone until his death following a hunger strike in 2008. Hand drawn images, collage, and cut out animation illustrating the miscarriage of justice. Directed by Anca Damian.

The Bookseller of Belfast – A bookseller who is now without a bookshop after his shop in Smithfield went up in flames. The staircases of John Clancy’s terraced are filled with hundreds of unsold volumes. His attic is filled with thank you letters from around the world. Distributing books is a vocation not a job. Directed by Alessandra Celesia McIlduff.

Friday 8 June

Jump – Four twenty-something’s lives collide on New Year’s Eve, their lives linked by the unseen disappearance of a man at the hands of a local crime boss. Depression, fears, hopes and love. Directed by Kieron J Walsh.

Also worth noting a series of talks and screenings about Film and the Law taking place in High Court Number One in Belfast’s Royal Courts of Justice.

BBC NI are once again screening classic television programmes for free during the festival. However, the details aren’t included in the BFF brochure and aren’t yet listed on the BBC tickets website.

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