25/02/2009

Projecting Success At Belfast Film Festival

Stars of the big screen, Sir Ben Kingsley and Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint as well as Ulster actor James Nesbitt are among those set to attend the Belfast Film Festival at the end of March.

The event, from March 26 - April 4 is also to reflect the growing importance of the film industry to Northern Ireland, with several locally produced movies getting an airing at the event.

Festival Director Michele Devlin said: "As the festival grows each year, we are so proud of the fact that as well as a strong selection of international and European films, we are able to showcase a burgeoning wealth of Northern Ireland film-making and acting talent.

"We have the premieres of the locally-made 'Cherrybomb' and 'Ditching' and we are also proud to be screening 'Pumpgirl' starring, Samantha Healey and Geraldine Hughes.

We are also celebrating Ulster legends such as Davy Hammond, Brian Desmond Hurst and John T Davis as part of the 2009 festival," she said.

Among the stand-out attractions in a programme of 130 films are the premieres of '50 Dead Men Walking', the big-screen adaptation of the true-life tale of an IRA informer and 'Little Ashes', which tells the story of a young Salvador Dali.

In terms of an atmospheric setting, it will be hard to beat one special screening of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' - in the city's St Anne's Cathedral - also featuring a live score.
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A showing of two aquatic-themed movies on a river tourist boat will also add a touch of innovation as well as a strand of the festival which looks at post-conflict resolution through film.

Appropriately too, as the TV cartoon hit show 'The Simpsons', is 'coming to Ireland' with a specially written new episode being broadcast on St Patrick's Day, the notable comic festival event is an evening of adult films dubbed badly into Ulster Scots - or 'Shockin'ly Spaiked O'er Smot', as the event is called.

There will also be a short series of Ealing comedies, giving a rare cinematic outing for some gems of British movies including 'Kind Hearts and Coronets', the 'Man in the White Suit' and 'The Ladykillers'.

Speaking at the launch this week, NI Arts Minister Gregory Campbell said: "The creative industries are becoming increasingly significant for Northern Ireland's economic, social and cultural wealth and the Belfast Film Festival plays a key role in celebrating the successes, diversity and talent within the local film industry."

It was a point echoed by Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Hartley: "Culture and arts is at the very centre of what Belfast has to offer and this film festival is very much a part of that," he said.

"The wealth of talent in this city is something which we should all be so proud of.

"It is wonderful to see up-and-coming film-makers having their work recognised and promoted – this Festival is a cornerstone in the city's annual arts calendar and I wish it continued success."

(BMcC/JM)

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