Film festival to mark Kenneth Branagh being awarded Freedom of Belfast

A special day of screenings will be held as part of the celebrations around the actor/director receiving the city's highest honour

Belfast will host a pop-up film festival as part of celebrations to mark Sir Kenneth Branagh being made a Freeman of the City on Tuesday, January 30.

The ‘Branagh in Belfast’ programme of events will be delivered in partnership with Film Hub NI and will be staged in venues across the city.

Fans of Sir Kenneth will also have the opportunity of being in the audience at a special ceremony in the Ulster Hall that evening, when the Belfast-born actor will officially receive the honour. Applications can be made online via the Belfast City Council Website and free tickets will be allocated to Belfast residents via computerised draw.

Some of the highlights of the pop-up festival include a screening of Cinderella at Belfast Castle, where the audience is being encouraged to dress up as their favourite princess; and Dunkirk which is being shown onboard the HMS Caroline.

Into Film and Cinemagic are also coordinating a series of screenings in several schools across the city so children and young people will have the opportunity to enjoy some of Branagh’s work.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister said: 'Sir Kenneth Branagh is very proud of his Belfast roots and it was important to him, and to us as a council, that we marked this occasion by doing things a little bit differently, getting out into the community and involving as many people as possible; in particular, young people and aspiring young actors.

'We’ve worked with Film Hub NI to plan a series of special Branagh movie screenings across the city, and we would love to see schools and community groups getting on board to host their own events.'

Community groups, schools and organisations across Belfast are being encouraged to host their own Branagh-themed events as the city celebrates the achievements of one of the city’s most famous sons. Film Hub NI has developed a #BranaghInBelfast toolkit to help with the planning and delivery of events. For the full list of screenings and further details go to www.filmhubni.org

Speaking back in October, Sir Kenneth described being made a Freeman as an 'incredible honour from his home town'.

He added: 'Belfast has always given me more than I could ever repay.

'It took great care of me until the age of nine. It gave me a profound sense of family, a magnificent landscape to play in, and a Belfast sense of humour that is a constant boisterous reminder to never take yourself too seriously.

'I’m proud to say that you can take the boy out of Belfast, but you can't take Belfast out of the boy.

'This is an incredible honour from my home town and I am humbled to be included in a roll call that includes artists like Van Morrison and Michael Longley.'

More details on the ‘Branagh in Belfast’ programme can be found on the council website www.belfastcity.gov.uk/branaghinbelfast and follow the hashtag #BranaghinBelfast on Twitter to stay up to date.