Belfast Telegraph

Gerry's 'love letter' to city highlight of film festival

By Donna Deeney

One of the highlights of this year's Foyle Film Festival programme is a movie written and narrated by the late much-loved broadcaster, Gerry Anderson.

A City Dreaming was described by the former BBC presenter as his "love letter" to Derry and will be screened at the Guildhall on Friday.

The feature-length documentary is a series of personal and intimate recollections of the city and its people.

Using unseen archive and home movie footage, it is a story that weaves its way through half a century of history, told though the eyes of Gerry himself.

Moving through the 1940s to the late '60s, a time that saw the city rise from poverty and neglect to hitting headlines across the world, it focuses on the warmth of a people who, despite living in relative poverty, maintained tremendous spirit and generosity.

The film's executive producer, Andrew Eaton, said: "Gerry Anderson was a legend. This film is not only a love letter to his home town but a celebration of his life and voice. I am very proud to be associated with it."

Foyle Film Festival director Bernie McLaughlin added: "It is our honour to host this special screening in celebration of Gerry Anderson, a true cultural ambassador of Derry. When watching the film, people will see a personal and often moving account of Gerry's memories of a city he was evidently so proud of."

For the next five days the Foyle Film Festival programme is packed with exclusive premieres, gala screenings and special cinematic events.

The festival kicks off at the Brunswick Moviebowl with the Northern Ireland premiere gala screening of Testament of Youth.

Acclaimed director James Kent will be in attendance to introduce his debut feature film that documents the famed pacifist Vera Brittain's memoir from the time of the First World War.

Starring Dominic West, Emily Watson and Miranda Richardson, the film has received rave reviews after opening at the London Film Festival earlier this month.

In keeping with this year's festival theme of Secret Lives, the documentary Finding Vivian Maier will be screened tomorrow.

The film explores the work of one of the finest street photographers of the 20th century and is nominated for the year's best documentary at the International Documentary Association Awards.

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