Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Anderson's voice to light up film festival as narrator of new portrait of Stroke City

By Amanda Ferguson

His much-loved voice has been hugely missed from the airwaves.

But fans of the late, great Gerry Anderson will be able to enjoy the broadcaster's distinctive accent and turn of phrase once more with two special events being hosted as part of the Belfast Film Festival.

The man from Stroke City, who died last year aged 69 following a long illness, is being honoured during the 10-day festival which launches tomorrow.

The festival documentary schedule includes a screening of A City Dreaming at the Strand Arts Centre on April 19. The production is narrated by Anderson and paints a striking portrait of the radio legend's native Londonderry and its people (or Stroke City as he called it).

Then, on April 21 at the Black Box in the Cathedral Quarter, the best of Flickerpix's 'On The Air' animations, featuring Anderson, Sean Coyle and Radio Ulster listeners, will get an outing.

A City Dreaming director, Mark McCauley, paid tribute to his narrator.

"Gerry was intelligent, charming, thoughtful and his wit was never far from the surface," he said.

"We would spend hours talking about everything under the sun and eventually get around to doing some work on A City Dreaming.

"There was no real plan. He was really passionate about making the film and genuinely excited by the footage we uncovered. It was a chance for him to reflect back on his life, the city he grew up in and called home. Although very serious in parts, it is a kind of poem for the people of the city."

McCauley said Anderson "fought his illness with great bravery and dignity - never asking for any special treatment, simply wishing to spend time with his family. It was humbling and an honour to be with him in those times," he added.

"Even when he was very sick he was always asking how the editing was going and did I need any more thoughts or script from him."

He added: "I know he was very proud of this film and would have been touched by the reaction so far from audiences across the world."

The festival team is bringing more than 100 screenings to venues across the city.

Boogaloo and Graham Oscar nominee Michael Lennox will hold a special 'making of' talk about his debut feature, A Patch of Fog.

The closing film is Derry-born director Stephen Fingleton's contemporary thriller, The Survivalist, set in post-collapse Northern Ireland and starring Belfast actor Martin McCann.

Not-to-be-missed festival highlights

1. Blazing Saddles night, Black Box, April 18, 8pm. This hilarious, bad-taste spoof of Westerns was co-written by comedy legend Richard Pryor and stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder and Slim Pickens.

2. Hotel Rwanda with Terry George, The Mac Theatre, April 18, 7pm. A Q&A with the Oscar-winning Belfast-born writer and director follows the screening highlighting the genocide committed in Rwanda in April 1994.

3. Shooting for Socrates UK premiere, Waterfront Hall, April 24, 8pm. A David and Goliath story set in Belfast against the backdrop of the 1986 World Cup and the conflict of the Troubles. It stars Conleth Hill, Richard Dormer and John Hannah.

4. Big Lebowski: live read, Black Box, April 25, 4pm. The full cast lists and the role each actor will play are kept secret until the event itself.

5. Closing night gala: The Survivalist, Moviehouse, April 25, 8pm.

Belfast Telegraph


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