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22nd Belfast Film Festival opens with world premiere of Ballywalter
04 Nov 2022 : News Desk
Seána Kerslake & Patrick Kielty in Ballywalter.
Belfast Film Festival returns with a jam-packed festival showcasing a wealth of local talent, whilst also shining a spotlight on the best international films of the year, with particular focus on emerging filmmakers, the stars of the future.

The festival kicked off on Thursday night with a star-studded premiere event at Cineworld Belfast, featuring the homegrown drama Ballywalter, staring Patrick Kielty in his debut acting role alongside IFTA nominee Seána Kerslake. 

Ballywalter is directed by Prasanna Puwanajarah, who is also due to star in front of the camera soon as Martin Bashir in the new series of The Crown.  The film was written by East Belfast writer Stacey Gregg.

Kielty plays a man attending a weekly stand-up comedy course who develops a touching friendship with a down-on-her-luck taxi driver (Seána Kerslake). The gala event was hosted by Tara Lynne O’Neill, star of Derry Girls

There are 116 films screening over the next 10 days during Belfast Film Festival, from 32 countries around the world, making the festival both a celebration of Northern Ireland as well as a window out onto the world. 

The festival is packed with premieres including local actor-turned-director, Tony Devlin’s first feature, The QuarryShe Said, the facts-based story of New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who wrote the article that ignited the #MeToo movement; No Bears the Venice prize winner from imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi; the UK/Ireland premieres of delightful bittersweet Ukrainian comedy Luxembourg Luxembourg, and Mark Cousins’ acutely timely documentary on the rise of Italian fascism, The March on Rome

The line-up includes several special locally-focussed events such as: ‘Vox Populi’, an installation of UTV archive film at the iconic former Bank of Ireland building; ‘The Secret Life of a Film Critic’: A celebration of Brian Henry Martin’s 30-year career; ‘The Weird and the Eerie’: An audio-visual, hauntological experiment, which delves into the Northern Irish televisual archive of the last century and brings back the stranger and more macabre elements of life in the six counties. Belfast’s own Vendetta Suite will provide musical accompaniment.

This year‘s festival also sees the launch of a new international competition of eight first or second features from around the world, judged by a jury comprising BAFTA and Academy-Award-winning director Andrea Arnold, renowned actor Stephen Rea, and producer/consultant Catherine Bray.

Director or Belfast Film Festival, Michele Devlin said: “This year’s festival contains an impressive line-up of guests including Oscar-winning director Andrea Arnold and multi-award winning actor Stephen Rea. Alongside a spotlight on Ukraine and a wonderful array of international premieres, from major Cannes festival prize winners to exciting off-the-beaten-track discoveries, we have a programme that celebrates indigenous talents from short to feature, and from archive to XR. 

“We celebrate the past with our Vox Populi archive installation, the first ever event to be held in the historic Bank of Ireland, Royal Avenue, site of the planned new “Belfast Stories” centre; and we embrace the future with our focus on immersive and virtual reality film making in the city’s inaugural XR festival.”

Click here to view the entire 22nd Belfast Film Festival Programme.

Click here to purchase Festival Passes and Tickets.





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