Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Good Vibrations: How a Hollywood director and a top critic fell in love with Belfast’s punk movie

Richard Dormer (far right) as Belfast’s punk godfather Terri Hooley
Terri Hooley outside his Good Vibrations record shop in 1983

Momentum is building behind Belfast indie flick Good Vibrations ahead of its cinema release — with a veteran Hollywood figure and a respected film critic among those singing its praises.

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard and movie broadcaster Mark Kermode have given their seal of approval to the film which portrays the real-life story of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley.

Howard, the former Happy Days actor and director behind blockbusters such as Cocoon and A Beautiful Mind recently took to Twitter to rave about Good Vibrations

“Saw a terrific new Irish indie based on true story called Good Vibrations,” he said.

“Inspiring, funny, great music and character moments. Look for it.”

Ahead of the opening of the 56th BFI London Film Festival on October 10, Kermode also urged his Twitter fans to check out the Belfast-made biopic of Hooley’s life.

Kermode, who is also a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, said: “If you’re going to the London Film Festival, my top tip would be Good Vibrations — an absolute humdinger with real heart and soul.”

The film is to be shown at the Odeon in Leicester Square on October 19, but only limited tickets are left.

The 103-minute production has been a huge hit with the limited number of people who have seen it since it celebrated its premiere in Belfast in May. But it has yet to be released for the general public to see.

Distributors have secured a cinema release for the UK and Ireland — but a date has yet to be set for when it will open generally on the silver screen.

A spokesman for The Works UK, which bought the rights to distribute the movie in the UK and Ireland, told the Belfast Telegraph it does not have a specific date to reveal just yet, but its team is working hard towards January 2013.

Hopes are high that a positive reception at the London Film Festival will help boost efforts to set a date.

Starring Richard Dormer as punk pioneer Hooley, Good Vibrations is set in the 1970s when the legendary music figure — the man behind the release of The Undertones classic Teenage Kicks — opened a record shop in his conflict-torn city. It received excellent reviews when it opened the Belfast Film Festival in May. It also picked up the Best Irish Feature Award at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Last month Terri told the Belfast Telegraph he is in the dark about when it will get a cinema release because movie bosses know he will blab to his Facebook friends if given any information.

“I have 5,000 people on Facebook wanting to know when the film is out and when they can get a DVD,” he said.

“I’d have the release date up on the internet within five minutes of being told, so nobody is telling me!”

Belfast DJ David Holmes, who oversaw the music for the film, said there is a “real buzz” surrounding it.

”It’s such a competitive market, so when get people like Ron Howard and Mark Kermode say such great things it makes us all feel really good to be a part of the film,” he said.

“Mark is such an important critic. We are super excited.”

The film was financed through the Northern Ireland Screen Fund and supported by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund.

Background

Good Vibrations follows the story of Terri Hooley — a radical, rebel music lover in 1970s Belfast.

When the Troubles shuts down his city, his friends take sides, take up arms or leave the country. But Terri decides to open a record shop on the most bombed half-mile in Europe and call it Good Vibrations.

Terri and his young punk protegés struggle against the dark forces of the conflict, and Terri’s own particular urge toward self-destruction, in a bid to create an alternative Ulster and bring Belfast back to life.

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