A new movie about the life of punk impresario Terri Hooley could become the most successful film made in Northern Ireland, insiders have predicted.
The much-hyped Good Vibrations, which will raise the curtain on this year's Belfast Film Festival, is already garnering major attention and, according to crew sources who worked on the project, may be the best film ever made here.
Funded by BBC Films, the Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen, the indigenous movie stars Lisburn actor Richard Dormer in the role of the record shop owner and godfather of the local 1970s punk scene.
During The Troubles, his record shop Good Vibrations became a focal point for the punk movement and Hooley took on the mission of getting many young bands, including The Understones, played to a platform beyond Belfast.
Written by Belfast men Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry and directed by husband and wife team Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa, the film boasts a strong local cast and crew.
It's been produced by Chris Martin and Andrew Eaton, the soundtrack was provided by DJ/producer David Holmes, and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Jonny Quinn and Nathan Connolly are among the investors.
Those who have watched a rough draft of the film, including the three Snow Patrol members, have heaped praise on the project, while crew insiders have described it as “something special”.
One source said: “I've worked on many films now in Northern Ireland but I'd have to say this is probably the best one so far. I think it's going to blow everyone away.”
Just a few weeks ago friends of Hooley's were treated to a four-minute teaser of the film, to rapturous applause.
And anticipation has been mounting on social networking sites, with posters tweeting their excitement about the forthcoming world premiere at the Ulster Hall on May 31.
Producer Martin, one of only a handful of people to have seen the final cut, said: “It's great that there is such a buzz about Good Vibrations at the moment but we were always expecting people here to be sympathetic towards the story, as they tend to do when it's a film about Belfast.
“The real test will be when we bring it to America, to see if they get the accents and humour. Mind you, we showed it to a group of 18-21-year-old American students and they loved it.”
One person who hasn't seen it yet is Hooley himself.
“I didn't want to watch the rough cut, I wanted to wait until it was completely ready to go, but I'm hoping they'll give me a private screening before the premiere, so I don't cry in public,” he said.
“I'm chuffed to bits about it, especially as it's a nice salute to all those bands. The fact that a movie has been made about me won't change me at all. I had been planning to wear my ordinary clothes to the premiere, but my girlfriend Claire would kill me.”
Hooley said he’s been told by Snow Patrol that the film would make him proud.
“Jonny Quinn rang me to say it was brilliant and Gary Lightbody texted to say it was wonderful and that I'd be really proud of it.
“Good Vibrations has been a long time in the making. A few years ago we were approached by two different Dublin production companies wanting to make it, but we wanted a Northern Irish company to do it. Now I'm glad we held out; I think it's going to be worth the wait.”
Tickets for Good Vibrations can be purchased from today from the Belfast Film Festival website at www.belfastfilmfestival.org.
The festival runs from May 31- June 10 with events being held in 12 different venues across the city.
Other highlights include the UK and Ireland premiere of Shadowdancer, written by ITV News political editor Tom Bradby and staring Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen, which will take place on Wednesday, June 6, in the Movie House Cinema, Dublin Road.
There will be two public screenings as well on May 31, at the Ulster Hall at 10pm and at Movie House Cinema, Dublin Road, 7.45pm.
The festival will culminate in the European premiere of Oscar-winning director Terry George’s latest film, Whole Lotta Sole, a comedy filmed locally starring Brendan Fraser and Colm Meaney with original screen score by Snow Patrol.
The gala premiere in the Waterfront Hall on Sunday, June 10, will include a civic reception to mark George’s Oscar success earlier this year with ‘The Shore’ which was premiered at last year’s Belfast Film Festival.