14 April 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Belfast Film Festival launches its 2023 programme
12 Oct 2023 : News Desk
Poor Things
Belfast Film Festival will run from the 2nd - 11th November at a variety of locations across the city.

Belfast Film Festival has launched its 2023 programme with a line-up including films from Cannes and Venice Film Festival, and seven Best International Feature Oscar selections.

Opening and Closing
The festival will open with Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, starring Irish actors Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, while Yorgos Lanthimos’ Golden Lion-winning Poor Things, jointly produced by Ireland's Element Pictures and starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo will close the programme.

International Competition
In its second year, the International Competition sponsored by Yellowmoon, will feature six debut features and two accomplished second features. These include the winner of Cannes' coveted Un Certain Regard Award, Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex and the winner of the Camera D’Or, Pham Thien An’s Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell.

New Cinema
Showcasing new cinema both Irish and international, the New Cinema strand has some of the most anticipated films on the festival circuit such as William Oldroyd’s Eileen starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, and Christos Nikou’s Fingernails starring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed. Continuing the theme of Cannes award winners, this programme includes Justine Triet’s Palme D’Or awardee Anatomy Of A Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s Grand Prix champion The Zone of Interest. The strand also includes the Northern Ireland Screen funded thriller Lie Of The Land and Scottish feature Silent Roar with a debut feature performance from Belfast actor Louis McCartney.

John Sayles and Maggie Renzi
The festival is delighted to host writer-director John Sayles and producer Maggie Renzi in Belfast for a chat about their lives and work, hosted by Donald Clarke from The Irish Times. They will also be jointly presented with the festival’s Réalta award for Outstanding Contribution to Film. Accompanying the talk will be a retrospective showcasing some of their films, including the Donegal-set The Secret Of Roan Inish.

Work in Progress – Kneecap and Fréamhaca
Belfast Film Festival is known for thinking outside of the box and this year is no different with a host of unique special events. They include a look back at the history of 16mm with The 16mm Century featuring a live DJ afterparty plus two work-in-progress screenings: Aislinn Clarke’s newest Irish language horror Fréamhaca and the eagerly awaited Belfast-set movie, Kneecap.

This year BFF has pioneered the Long Short Weekend which brings together shorts, filmmakers, and audiences for a weekend of short film screenings including the Shorts Competition sponsored by Screenskills, and the Northern Ireland Screen Showcase.

Solidarity with the Workers
Extending solidarity to those striking in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, there is a section dedicated to the related themes of industrial action and work practices including a showcase of some of the year's most provocative and subversive movies titled Kill Your Job Before It Kills You.

For the Werk! event in the industrial setting of Riddel’s Warehouse, built heritage and on-screen social history are brought together, with a live soundtrack from Marion Hawkes.

“After the roaring success of our inaugural International Competition last year I am excited to return with another showcase of eight stunning films made by emerging filmmakers from around the world,” said Jess Kiang, International Programmer for the festival. “I'm also hugely excited about the Kill Your Job Before It Kills You section, which exemplifies our spirit of resistance to inequality and injustice in the workplace. This could not be more in keeping with our pleasure in honouring pioneering US filmmakers John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, who have forged together a truly independent, varied and fearlessly political career."

“This programme is so packed that it is difficult to pick just a few highlights,” said Rose Baker, UK and Ireland Programmer. “The 16mm Century celebrates the centenary year of the 16mm format. We are also very proud to have two amazing work-in-progress events which showcase some of the best and most original work happening in film in Northern Ireland, with Aislinn Clarke’s Fréamhaca and Fine Point’s Kneecap. We’re also working on archive film events which will be very special, thanks to amazing support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive and BBC NI. It is an exceptional programme and we can’t wait for people to experience it."

Belfast Film Festival is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast City Council, the Department for Communities, Film Hub NI, and Arts and Business NI, and is sponsored by Yellowmoon, Birra Moretti and Hastings Hotels.

IFTA Q&A Series: Patricia Kelly on Directing
IFTA Q&A Series: Damien Lynch on Sound Design
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