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People: Director Michele Devlin's special relationships

By Kerry McKittrick

The 49-year-old is the director of the Belfast Film Festival, which kicks off next month. She lives in Belfast with her partner Emma.

My partner, Emma

Emma is a teacher and we were introduced a few years ago through mutual friends.

We're both very into the arts and have a lot of mutual interests. We're both keen hill walkers and share a sense of humour.

We laugh a lot together, although she says it's mostly her laughing at my bad jokes.

My best friend

My best friend is my grandmother, Catherine, and it's one of the most important relationships of my life.

She has just turned 90 and is still up and around and asking you 40 questions when you walk through the door. She's still as sharp as a tack.

My other best friend who I have known for about 20 years is Annette Whelan.

We worked together in Springvale Training Centre in Belfast and we've been friends ever since.

Annette currently works for a big bank but she still lives in Belfast, so we do get to see each other.

My parents, Marie  and Patrick

My parents still live in Belfast. My dad used to work in the building trade and my mum said she had her hands full with all of us. I'm the oldest of five - there is also Patrick, Catherine, Mary and Anthony.

We're all still in Belfast and a very close family - everyone gravitates to my granny's house for gatherings. She's the lynchpin of the family.

My mother always wanted me to be a nurse but when it was discovered that I have a very weak stomach she quickly realised that was never going to happen.

My parents are delighted about how things are going for me at the moment.

They were always very good and gave me ample room to be who I am in terms of career development.

Person I go to for advice

I have a very good friend called Louise O'Meara who I have known for about 30 years and again I met her through another friend.

I go to her for advice on just about everything. She travels a lot and is really into walking in a way that makes me look like a beginner - she's climbed almost every hill and mountain in the country.

My mentor

That's easy, Laurence McKeown, who is one of the people who helped me set up the film festival; he used to be the chairman. I talk to him regularly and we both seem to be on the same wavelength so I find his input very valuable.

My celebrity crush, Pedro Almodovar

It's not quite a crush, but I love his films.

He's really quirky and unusual and one of the people I think is fabulous and would love to meet.

Fantasy dinner party

My first guest would be Annie Lennox. I saw her performing at the Grammys with Hozier and thought that she was absolutely fantastic after all these years. She brings such energy to everything she does.

Next, I'd ask Stephen Fry, as he would be endlessly entertaining.

I recently did a Skype interview with him as he came to the film festival nearly 20 years ago and had a great time.

Then I'd ask the Burmese political leader Aung San Suu Kyi because she's a phenomenal force in politics and she would bring a global perspective to the dinner table.

My last guest would be Meryl Streep. Any time I've seen her interviewed she comes across as so down to earth. I think she would be great craic.

  • The Belfast Film Festival runs from April 16-25. For full programme and ticket details, visit www.belfastfilmfestival.org

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