Belfast Film Festival 2009

Festival director Michelle Devlin on the best of the festival programme. Click Play Audio for a podcast featuring Cherrybomb co-director Glenn Leyburn

Lovers of cinema in Belfast have been invited to ‘take their seats’ for the 9th Jameson Belfast Film Festival. The festival, which runs from March 26 to April 4, was described by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, councillor Tom Hartley as 'a cornerstone event in the city’s annual arts calendar'. 

Film fans will be treated to over 130 film screenings from over 30 countries as well as an eclectic mix of special events at the festival, including a short film competition. The spotlight will also be shining on local talent, as festival director, Michelle Devlin, explains: 

'As the Belfast Film Festival grows each year, we are proud of the fact that, as well as a strong selection of international and European films, we are able to showcase a burgeoning wealth of local film-making and acting talent.

'We have the eagerly awaited premieres of first features, the locally-made Cherrybomb and Ditching. We are also proud to be screening the cinematic adaptation of playwright Abbie Spallon's Pumpgirl, starring local talent Samantha Healey and Geraldine Hughes, and to be celebrating Northern Irish legends including Davy Hammond, Brian Desmond Hurst and John T Davis.' 

Although the much-loved festival drive in has been shelved this year, regular festival-goers will notice some exciting new additions to the programme, including the 'Jameson Sound and Vision' strand, which will celebrate the role that music plays in film. 

Supported by Arts & Business, events in this strand will include renditions of the iconic soundtrack to O, Brother, Where Art Thou? by Northern Irish bands at Spring and Airbrake, and a unique screening of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to a live score in St Anne’s Cathedral, to name but a few. 

A series of discussion and panel events were also announced at the festival launch. 'In the wake of the Eames/Bradley report, our socio-political discussion strand, 'Memory Truth and Transition', will provide a timely catalyst for debate,' continues Devlin. 'Films screening within this section include Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which honours the strength and perseverance of the women of Liberia.

'As part of our 'Spotlight on India' strand we will welcome Adoor Gopalakrishnan, one of India’s finest contemporary film-makers, who will host a panel discussion and present some of his films to the local audience.

'Our Jameson Short Film Competition, which highlights local film making talent, received the biggest level of entries to date this year and we look forward to screening the shortlist. Previous finalists of the Jameson Shorts competition include the recently Oscar-nominated New Boy by Steph Green, and Connor Clements’ James, which screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

'Our aim is to bring a celebration of local and international cinema to life in the city of Belfast through a programme of entertaining, educational, informative and enjoyable events.'

Speaking at the launch event, minister for culture, arts and leisure, councillor Campbell, said: 'The creative industries are becoming increasingly significant for Northern Ireland’s economic, social and cultural wealth and the Belfast Film Festival plays a key role in celebrating the successes, diversity and talent within the local film industry.'

Full information is now available through the official 9th Jameson Belfast Film Festival Programme, distributed at key venues around the city or online at www.belfastfilmfestival.org.

Tickets are available for purchase online at the same web address, by phoning the Festival Box Office on 028 9024 6609 or from the Belfast Welcome Centre at 47 Donegall Place, Belfast. 


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