Belfast Film Festival puts home-grown and global movie talent in the frame
A debut movie about a debut novel will kick off the 13th Belfast Film Festival tonight.
The hotly-tipped Made In Belfast, the first big screen offering from local writer, actor and director Paul Kennedy, will premiere at the Movie House, Dublin Road.
Starring Fermanagh's Ciaran McMenamin, it tells the story of Jack Kelly, an author, who returns to Belfast from self-imposed exile in Paris for his dad's funeral.
There, he meets up with family and friends who all feature in his debut novel, also entitled Made In Belfast, and are not happy.
Kennedy will be hoping for a repeat of the success of last year's opening home-grown movie, Good Vibrations, which went on general release a fortnight ago.
Also tonight, at St Anne's Cathedral, there will be a big screen presentation of Franco Zeffirelli's majestic version of Verdi's La Traviata, including a live performance by members of Northern Ireland Opera's Young Artists' Programme.
The 13th Belfast Film Festival, which runs until Sunday, April 21, will shine a spotlight on both local and global talent. The Belfast Telegraph is media partners with the event.
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 said: "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 festival-goers' 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."
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.
Theatre group Skewiff will bring festival-goers the hilarious Same Time, Next Year. The specially commissioned Marilyn Monroe Songbook, performed by Katie And The Carnival, are among other special events, too.
Included in the special guests at the festival this year is novelist Jonathan Coe, who will be introducing one of his favourite films, Billy Wilder's The Private Life Of 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 Good Vibrations fan Mark Kermode will be choosing his favourite films in conversation with Brian Henry Martin at the Desert Island Flicks event.
The closing night premiere 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 films.
Other on-screen highlights include Jack Black as a funeral director in Richard Link's latest film, Bernie, The Breakfast Club in Belfast Inst's library, a Twin Peaks Night and Faraway, a story of intrigue and misadventure set in contemporary Northern Ireland.