Hard man actor Ray Winstone jetted into Londonderry for the Irish premiere of his new film at the opening night of the Foyle Film Festival.
Winstone — star of films such as Nil By Mouth and Quadrophenia — was joined by Fifty Dead Men Walking star Jim Sturgess for the premiere of Ashes last night at Derry’s Brunswick Moviebowl, marking the opening of the 25th annual Foyle Film Festival.
Past guests have included high profile names such as Brendan Gleeson, Julie Christie, Neil Jordan, Kenneth Branagh, Roddy Doyle and Jimmy McGovern. This year will see renowned writer and director Andrea Arnold introduce her recent adaptation of the classic gothic tale Wuthering Heights.
Actors Martin McCann and Ciaran McMenamin will also be attending the screening of their new movie Jump, which was shot in Derry.
Other film highlights include Good Vibrations, which charts the life of Belfast’s punk godfather Terri Hooley, who famously released The Undertones’ single Teenage Kicks. The band will play a special gig in the Nerve Centre as part of this year’s Festival Club.
Since 1999 the Foyle Film Festival has been an Oscar-affiliated festival — one of only a handful in the world to the honour bestowed on them.
This year’s festival education programme will look at milestone events in politics by taking a digital journey through the peace process, from its earliest days to the recent historic meeting and handshake between the Queen and Sinn Fein’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Festival director and programmer Bernie McLaughlin said the 25th festival was “a milestone and a tremendous achievement for everyone associated with this event over the last quarter of a century”.
She added: “The festival has developed into an internationally recognised event attracting industry professionals from around the world.
“As our city prepares to play host to the 2013 UK City of Culture, and the recent release of a fantastic programme of events, it is an exciting time to be working in the arts and entertainment sector in Derry- Londonderry.”
The festival programme is available online at www.foylefilmfestival.org