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Belfast Film Festival launches 2015 Programme
20 Mar 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Stephen Fingleton’s highly anticipated dystopian thriller ‘The Survivalist’ to close the festival
The Belfast Film Festival has launched the programme for the 2015 edition of their festival, due to take place April 16-25.

Over 100 screenings will take place in venues across all quarters of the city, including Queen’s Film Theatre, Movie House Dublin Road, Belfast Waterfront, The Mac, Strand Arts Centre, the Sunflower, Culturlann, Duncairn Centre, the Black Box, and the Festival’s very own Beanbag Cinema.

Festival Director Michele Devlin said: ‘This is our 15th Festival and we really have grown in size and stature over the years. We now run a year-round programme of education and outreach activity and special events, but the highlight of our calendar will always be our Festival Fortnight.’

The opening night world premiere will be a homecoming for Belfast-raised critic and filmmaker Mark Cousins whose feature, ‘I Am Belfast’, will screen. The documentary looks at Belfast through the eyes of a 10,000 year old woman. It’s score is by David Holmes, Belfast born composer and producer whose film soundtracks include ‘Out of Sight’, ‘Ocean’s 11’ and ‘Hunger’.

The closing night sees the UK premiere of ‘The Survivalist’, the feature debut of Northern Ireland filmmaker Stephen Fingleton whose Oscar-shortlisted film ‘SLR’ screened at the Festival in 2014. ‘The Survivalist’ has its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in the US. Local actor Martin McCann stars in this tale of a ruthless loner who lives off a small plot of land in post-collapse Northern Ireland.

‘Shooting for Socrates’, a David and Goliath story about Northern Ireland squaring up to Brazil in the 1986 World Cup, will premiere on April 24. Co-written by Marie Jones and director James Erskine, the film stars Rebus leading man John Hannah as manager Billy Bingham, Conleth Hill as sports reporter Jackie Fullerton, Ciaran McMenamin as Sammy McIlroy, and Nico Mirallegro as a young David Campbell making his Northern Ireland debut on the world stage.

Speaking about the festival, Richard Williams, CEO, Northern Ireland Screen said: ‘Northern Ireland Screen seeks to provide the people of Northern Ireland with the opportunity to see as wide a range of films as possible, including those made by the wealth of home-grown creative talent. Through our continued support from DCAL for Belfast Film Festival, we can help achieve this goal and make a significant contribution to film culture, education and training, and at the same time respond to the department’s imperative of promoting equality, targeting poverty and social exclusion. We are delighted to note the various premieres of Northern Ireland Screen funded productions as part of this year’s festival – I Am Belfast, Shooting for Socrates and The Survivalist, as well as the numerous shorts from our up and coming film-making talent.’

The New Cinema portion of the festival continues this year with Oscar-nominated ‘Timbuktu’ playing. The film is a about a family whose destiny changes abruptly at the hands of Islamist fundamentalists.

A success at Cannes, ‘The Tribe’ is described as a compelling, confrontational film from Ukraine that focuses on a gang of deaf boarding school students; Terry MacMahon’s ‘Patrick’s Day’ is a love story about the right to intimacy for everyone; ‘Rosewater’ marks the directorial debut of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart and stars Gael García Bernal in a tribute to journalists who risk their freedom and lives to tell the true stories behind world-changing events.

‘99 Homes’ starring Andrew Garfield is set amidst the backdrop of the 2008 housing market catastrophe. And ‘Lasa and Zabala’ is the true story of two Basque refugees who were kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1983. Pili Zabala, the sister of Josu Zabala, one of the men who were killed, will be in attendance for a public Q&A after the screening.

Distinctive Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson returns with the absurdist and surrealistic pitch-black comedy, ‘A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence’. Also screening is ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ - the first Iranian Vampire Western ever made.

Belfast Film Festival’s Documentary Panorama has films from around the globe screening including the buried history of the women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971 in ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’; ‘Maïdan’, a documentary chronicle of the historic protests in Kiev’s Maïdan Square; ‘Lambert and Stamp’ is a behind-the-music chronicle that rescues two genuine mavericks from the footnotes of rock history. And complementing the screening of ‘Shooting for Socrates’ is the world premiere of ‘Spirit of ’58’, a new documentary about Northern Ireland’s 1958 World Cup squad led by Danny Blanchflower.

‘Boogaloo and Graham Oscar nominee Michael Lennox will hold a special ‘making of’ talk about his debut feature, ‘A Patch of Fog’. And in recognition of the growing film production sector in Northern Ireland, this year the Festival has introduced a new section, presenting a series of locally made feature and medium length films. Most of these projects were produced on micro-budgets and developed by the filmmakers with their own money and in their own time.

Belfast Film Festival takes place from April 16th to 25th. Tickets can be booked online at www.belfastfilmfestival.org or with Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, 9 Donegall Square North, Belfast. BT1 5GJ. Phone +44 (0)28 9024 6609.

Belfast Film Festival, together with O2, is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Department for Culture, Arts & Leisure, BFI, Belfast City Council, and supported by Peroni Italy and Europa Belfast. Media partners UTV, U105 and Belfast Telegraph.




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