Cinemagic to bring LEGO movie exclusive and more to Belfast

Young film and TV fans are spoiled for choice this autumn with hundreds of imaginative events and the chance to learn from leading industry names

The annual Cinemagic Film and Television Festival programme returns for a jam-packed season from October 6 - November 8, with over 200 films and diverse creative opportunities to inspire young people.

The opening night will be marked with a special preview of The LEGO Ninjago Movie, the new animated adventure in Warner Bros. Pictures’ LEGO® franchise, while a preview of Paddington 2, the much anticipated sequel to the hit family film, will serve as the festival's closing feature.

There will be an array of industry guests from the world of film and television, including acclaimed actor, presenter and writer, Sir Tony Robinson; Golden Globe nominated music composer, Trevor Jones (The Last of the Mohicans, In The Name of The Father); Academy Award and BAFTA nominated cinematographer, Seamus McGarvey (Atonement, Anna Karenina, Nocturnal Animals, Avengers Assemble); and film critic supremo, Mark Kermode, who returns for his 13th visit to Cinemagic with his festival pick The Red Turtle.

Also in attendance will be BAFTA and Academy Award winning make-up designer, Christine Blundell (Topsy Turvy, Mr Turner); Art Director David Bowes (The Selfish Giant, Happy Valley); BAFTA, Emmy and RTS award-winning costume designer, Annie Symons (Great Expectations, Worried About The Boy); BAFTA and IFTA award-winning director Aisling Walsh (A Poet in New York, Maudie) and CBBC TV Presenters Tim Warwood (Wild and Weird) and Naomi Wilkinson (Nightmares of Nature).

Sir Tony Robinson Britain's Ancient Tracks

Sir Tony Robinson will be ‘In Conversation’ with festival audiences to discuss his rich and varied career and Armagh native Seamus McGarvey, one of film’s foremost cinematographers, will talk with aspiring filmmakers before a screening of Avengers Assemble, while the Student Film Night returns with this year’s offering, cult movie Ghost World in the Black Box.

Audiences can travel the world from their cinema seats and celebrate stories, peoples and cultures from around the globe with a diverse cultural film programme for all ages to enjoy. By providing film fans with an outlet for world cinema, Cinemagic's aim is to develop and nurture a broader understanding and love of film, and is looking for enthusiastic ‘CineSeekers’ and ‘CineFocus’ young film reviewers to view and judge the festival's in-competition films.

Highlights of the children’s features in Odyssey Cinemas include The Oddsockeaters, a heart-warming Czech-made comical story of a small Oddsockeater in a big world; Oskar’s America, a Norwegian adventure following a 10 year old and his eccentric neighbor who plan to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat and German drama Wendy, a story of friendship between a teenage girl and an untamed horse Dixie.

The New World Cinema strand in Queen’s Film Theatre presents 12 fascinating and thought-provoking features including the delightfully chilling ghost story Room 213 from Swedish director Emelie Lindblom; The Lion Woman, an emotionally gripping story in the tradition of The Elephant Man and Mask; a tender-hearted coming-of-age drama from Finland, Little Wing; and Lane 1974, based on the true story from Clane Hayward’s memoir The Hypocrisy of Disco, which follows a teenage girl growing up in a California commune who longs for a more stable life. Lane 1974 will feature a Q&A discussion with its director S.J. Chiro and producer Jennessa West.

Documentary Forum - The Other Kids

The Documentary Forum offering includes The Other Kids, which follows young Mubiru Rigan who dreams of being the next Fernando Torres and scoring a goal that brings Uganda their first African Cup; Danish film The Wait, about a 14 year old girl and her family who fled Afghanistan and are now living in Denmark fearing deportation; For Ahkeem, a powerful story that illuminates the challenges that many black teenagers face in America today; and Born in Syria, a touching insight to the refugee experience, filmed in twelve countries following seven children as they escape Syria and arrive in the ‘promised land’ of Europe.

Fans of animation shouldn’t miss the Super Dark Tales thread of the film programme with screenings of Loving Vincent, the world's first fully painted feature film about the mystery surrounding the death of famed painter Vincent van Gogh in 1890 France; Borley Rectory, chronicling what came to be known as ‘The most haunted house in England’ and this will feature a Q&A with director Ashley Thorpe; The Girl Without Hands, from acclaimed short filmmaker Sebastien Laudenbach, which presents a dreamlike take on the Brothers Grimm story; and Extraordinary Tales, where five of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known stories are brought to vivid life in a heart-pounding anthology featuring an all-star voice cast including Sir Christopher Lee, Guillermo del Toro and Julian Sands.

The festival also features a host of masterclasses, including Talent Labs which offer 16-25 year olds an invaluable insight to working in film and television. Highlights include Costume Design with Annie Symons, Make-Up Design with Christine Blundell, Directing with Aisling Walsh, Casting with Carla Stronge, Production with Leon McGeown Fee, Chris Martin, Jessica Malik and Gareth Ellis-Unwin, and Assistant Directing with Darren Fee.

Meanwhile there are opportunities for 12-21 year olds with the Careers Craft masterclasses. As part of this the festival will this year present Art Direction with David Bowes; Animation with Mark Mullery, from Oscar nominated studio Cartoon Saloon; Film Classification with Lucy Brett, BBFC; and Costume Design with Louise Stanton who worked recently on Michael Inside, winner of Best Irish Film at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh.

The Ulster Museum will host an eclectic series of films and special events for all the family to enjoy. A Master Storytellers focus on Dr. Seuss includes screenings of The Lorax with a recycled arts and craft workshop and Horton Hears a Who! Comic book fans will be flocking to The Peanuts Movie accompanied by a mini-comic making workshop with the Comic Book Guys and young people can enjoy some circus fun before a screening of the Disney classic Dumbo. The world of film music will come alive with a 'String-tastic' music showcase before the adventure-filled Robin Hood, and kids can get ready for peaceful slumber at the annual Cinemagic Pyjama party, with storytelling, milk and cookies and a screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Super Dark Tales - The Girl Without Hands

History fans can soak up facts and figures during the 'History on Film - World War 1' focus with an interactive demonstration from History Live and a screening of War Game, a beautiful animated story adapted from the award-winning book by Michael Forman. The USPCA will participate in a discussion about the important role that animals played in the war effort along with a screening of War Horse and the 1970 classic movie The Railway Children will bring young festival-goers on a drama-filled adventure.

All generations of the family are encouraged to participate in the Cinemagic family classic films at Strand Arts Centre where showings of Annie and Pinocchio feature as part of Belfast City Council’s Positive Ageing Month programme. 

Creativity Corner workshops feature Special Effects Make-Up for film with Robert King, Illustration with Corinna Askin, Shadow Puppet Making with Black Paper Films and Aardman Animation model making where young creatives can make their very own Morph, Gromit or Shaun the Sheep character.

No Alibis Bookstore will host Shorts for Shorties, and Around the World in 60 minutes, collections of animations for tiny tots. Tales at Twilight will showcase book to film adaptations including The Iron Giant, The BFG and Muppet Treasure Island introduced by local authors Jan Carson, Kelly McCaughrain and Pauline Burgess. The festival is also proud to welcome award-winning author and illustrator Niamh Sharkey for a special event. The former Irish Laureate for Children's Literature will host a ‘monster doddle’ workshop before a reading and screening of a spooky Halloween episode from Henry Hugglemonster.

BAFTA KIDS Big Birthday Bash

Teachers and educators can support learning through film and television with the comprehensive Education Programme featuring special events with BAFTA Kids, who are hosting a BAFTA 70 Birthday Bash in the Grand Opera House, film classification with BBFC, Inside ‘Britain’s Ancient Tracks’ with Sir Tony Robinson and Brian Henry Martin, the magical world of Minecraft with Adam Clarke, programme making with Paper Owl Films, Directing Q&A with Aisling Walsh, Hitchcock - Master of Suspense with Tony McKibbin and short film showcases for in-school screenings.

Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings said: 'We are proud to unveil the programme for the 2017 Cinemagic Belfast Festival, with over 200 films and a host of special events set to light up cinema screens in the city. With thanks to our funders, sponsors, supporting venues and partners, we have been able to present the very best cinema from around the world and design practical and inspiring workshop opportunities for audiences to gain an insight to the film and television industry.'

Richard Williams, CEO, Northern Ireland Screen said: 'Northern Ireland Screen is delighted to see the eclectic programme of screenings and educational events at the Cinemagic Belfast Festival this year. We‘ve been providing core funding to Cinemagic since its inception because of the part the Cinemagic Belfast Festival plays in making the potential of screen available to as many people in Northern Ireland as possible.'

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister, said: 'Cinemagic provides hope, aspiration, training and skills for young people entering the workforce and Belfast City Council is pleased to fund this organisation which not only stimulates economic growth and creativity in young people, but also promotes Belfast globally through its internationally acclaimed film projects. Cinemagic 2017 will be a highlight on the annual Belfast festival events calendar for children and young people, and families - and this programme is an example of the impressive cultural offering provided by this city for all ages.'

For further information and ticket booking visit or telephone 028 90 311 900.