Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Catch 'early bird' at Belfast's QFT

The Early Bird, one of the first movies ever to be shot in Northern Ireland, will be screened for the first time in 30 years at the Queen's Film Theatre in Belfast today.

The Early Bird, one of the first movies ever to be shot in Northern Ireland, will be screened for the first time in 30 years at the Queen's Film Theatre in Belfast today.

Starring the late folk singer and actor Richard Hayward the movie was filmed mainly in the Glens of Antrim and is the story of a puritanical woman to tries to enforce her rigid views on her home village, the fictional Ballytober.

Played by Charlotte Tedlie she forms the wholesome Uplift League in the village to persuade people to reform and accept higher moral standards.

And this tyrant goes to extremes by naming and condemning offenders in the local newspaper.

Directed by Donovan Pedelty 70 years ago in 1936 The Early Bird also stars well known names from that era such as Jimmy Mageean, Myrtle Adams, and Nan Cullen.

The film attracted widespread attention at the time although it didn't take any of its cast to Hollywood or earn them Academy Awards.

It was filmed at a time when movie cameras were very much a novelty in the Ulster countryside never mind the streets of Belfast.

John Hill, professor of research in the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, will be at the QFT tonight to take part in a question and answer session with cinema-goers.

Apart from The Early Bird he will be discussing his new book Cinema and Northern Ireland which is a detailed account of the history of film production in the province right from the 1920s.

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