Belfast Telegraph

Cool... why Paul Newman will play to a captive audience when film festival goes to jail

By Maureen Coleman

An old prison, a school library and a city park are some of the more unusual settings for movie screenings as part of next month's Belfast Film Festival.

Film buffs are being invited to take a seat for the celluloid celebration, which features both local and international offerings from more than 30 countries.

Now in its 13th year, the Belfast Film Festival runs over 11 days, with more than 110 screenings in a range of venues across the city as well as an eclectic mix of special events.

The festival will kick off on April 11 with the premiere of Made In Belfast, the debut feature from Northern Ireland writer and director Paul Kennedy.

It stars Enniskillen actor Ciaran McMenamin as a successful novelist who returns home to Belfast after leading a reclusive life in Paris. His character, Jack Kelly, is forced to face up to a past he would rather forget.

Festival director Michele Devlin said: "We are very excited to be showcasing homegrown work and international film-making talent from more than 30 countries. The programme is packed with well established, lesser-seen and exciting first-time directing talent. From Iran to Japan, from Cuba to China, the world will be at festival-goers' fingertips.

"We are thrilled also that emerging local talent is well represented in the 53 shortlisted films from the hundreds of entries to the festival's short film competition. There is a lot to look forward to."

Among the special events this year are a number of site-specific screenings. The horror blockbuster The Evil Dead 2 will be screened in the city's Ormeau Park and the Paul Newman classic Cool Hand Luke and other prison-themed movies at Crumlin Road Gaol. And coming-of-age film The Breakfast Club, which starred Emilio Estevez and Molly Ringwald, will be shown in the setting of Belfast Inst's school library.

Other highlights include a Twin Peaks Night; Faraway, a multi-cultural story of intrigue and misadventure set in contemporary Northern Ireland; Jack Black as a funeral director in Richard Link's latest film, Bernie, and the premiere of Byzantium, Neil Jordan's new vampire movie.

There will be a big screen presentation of Franco Zeffirelli's majestic version of Verdi's La Traviata in St Anne's Cathedral which will also feature a live performance by members of Northern Ireland Opera's Young Artists' Programme.

Local theatre group Skewiff are teaming up with the film festival to bring festival-goers the hilarious Same Time, Next Year. The specially commissioned Marilyn Monroe Songbook, performed by Katie And The Carnival, is among the special events, too.

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