'If you need excitement and you need it bad,' the 12th Belfast Film Festival, launched today at the Black Box in Belfast, can provide.
The programme is packed with features, documentaries, experimental shorts and new cinema – more than 100 films from around the world – to be screened at venues throughout the city.
This year the venues include the Strand Cinema, Queen's Film Theatre, the MAC, the Lagan Boat and a series of crime dramas screened at the Belfast High Court.
Two Northern Irish Films book-end the 2012 festival. Good Vibrations premiere's at the Ulster Hall on May 31. The life-story of music-loving radical Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations was written by Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson and stars Richard Dormer, Adrian Dunbar and Dylan Moran.
The final film of the festival is equally prestigious, with Oscar-winner Terry George's Whole Lotta Sole showing at The Waterfront Hall on June 10. The madcap Irish crime comedy, starring Brendan Fraser, Martin McCann and Colm Meany, is colourful, charming and not to be missed.
'This heralds a golden age of film exhibition and production in this city,' said Belfast Film Festival chair, Brian Henry Martin. 'To have two brilliant Northern Ireland films with amazing local talents as the premiere events in this festival is a dream come true for all of us. Around the world, Belfast is now being recognised as a centre of excellence for film-making.'
Michelle Devlin, director of the Belfast Film Festival, is delighted to give the festival audience 'the opportunity to see the best of new local films, as well as the best in new international film'.
A 20 minute 'best of' trailer screened at the launch gave the audience a glimpse at some of the highlights of the 2012 programme. Watch the trailer below.
The 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitizer prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird is a must see for fans of the novel. The film, screened in the Belfast High Court on June 6, stars Robert Duvall and Gregory Peck and won three Academy Awards.
In King Curling the unusual combination of middle-age, OCD and curling and creates an eccentric, colourful comedy. Packed with absurdity and deadpan humour, director Ole Endersen delivers the laughs.
Another recommended film is Janicke Systad Jacobsen's critically acclaimed Norwegian teen sex-comedy Turn Me On, Dammit. A light-hearted coming of age story, it isn't for the easily shocked, exploring female sexuality and the lives of teenagers in insufferably boring small towns.
One film that didn't make it to the reel but deserves a quick mention is Shock Waves. Part of the Horror on the Lagan series, it stars a scar-faced Peter Cushing and may be 'the best water-based Nazi zombie horror' yet produced. What horror fan could resist?
There is also a short film competition on June 10 at the Queen's Film Festival, featuring 27 short films on a variety of topics; an editing masterclass with Nick Emerson; Desert Island Flicks with Brian Henry Martin; special guest Terri Hooley and much, much more.
Belfast mayor Niall Ó Donnghaile praised the festival for enriching and adding to the city. 'It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that we have to offer around the world in terms of film and everything that goes along with it. I think it is good that through the kind of films that have been mentioned, through Good Vibrations and Whole Lotta Sole, finally, hopefully, people around the world are seeing the real Belfast.'
The 12th Belfast Film Festival runs in venues across Belfast from May 31 to June 10.