Highlights of Hijack! at QFT

Queen's Film Theatre turns up the volume from July 7 to 9 with a weekend-long 'mixtape' of music-themed films – here are six cuts not to skip

Belfast's premier arthouse cinema will be a mecca for music-loving film fans in a few weeks time when its screens are 'hijacked' for QFT Mixtape Vol. 1, three days of music-focused films presented by The Thin Air.

The weekend will see classic documentaries rub shoulders with special presentations and beautifully shot concerts plus a number of premiere screenings for titles in Northern Ireland. It won't just be the keys to the projector booth being handed over however, as local artists including Susie Blue, who plays Glastonbury this weekend, as well as Rory Nellis, Owen Denvir and the QFT House Band (featuring members of Sister Ghost and The Sea Close By) plug in for intimate live performances on the Friday night.

Those who aren't ones to shy away from some further reading should also keep their eyes peeled for a one-off 'zine' being produced as a suitably punk-spirited supplement to the event – available in print to hold in your hands, flick through and take home from QFT and other cafes and bars in the city.

Before the full programme launches, watch trailers and book tickets below for these six highlights. For further details visit www.queensfilmtheatre.com.

July 7 – Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (NI Premiere)

Synopsis: Saxophonist, composer, and tireless innovator, John Coltrane expanded the frontiers of the jazz idiom, introducing elements from musical traditions the world over. His magnum opus, the alternately sombre and raucous A Love Supreme, is among the most haunting statements of spiritual devotion ever committed to tape. That Coltrane accomplished everything he did before his death at age 40 is at once heartbreaking and inspiring.

In Chasing Trane, veteran documentarian John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon) explores the life and work of this singular artist. From his childhood in the Jim Crow South to his hallowed tenure with Miles Davis—which pushed Coltrane to conquer his heroin addiction—to his triumphant run as leader of one of jazz's most fiery and revered quartets, Chasing Trane digs deep, chronicling a story of harrowing lows and interstellar highs.

Scheinfeld makes inspired use of archival materials, animated murals, readings of Coltrane's own words by Denzel Washington, and a wealth of new interviews. The list is catnip for music lovers: jazz elder statesmen Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, and Reggie Workman; rock legends Carlos Santana and John Densmore; and younger artists such as Common and Kamasi Washington, whose work renews the spirit of Coltrane for a new generation. Scheinfeld also speaks with critics Ben Ratliff and Ashley Kahn, philosopher Cornel West, and former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Their testimonies are tremendously articulate but even so, there are moments when they fall speechless, reminding us that such powerful music touches something in us that is beyond words.

July 7 - School of Rock

Synopsis: One show, twenty thousand bucks...all Dewey Finn needs is a band.

Down and out rocker Dewey (Jack Black) has been kicked out of his band, has no job, and is facing a mountain of debt and disappointments. But, when Dewey intercepts a phone call intended for his responsible substitute teacher roommate, things kick into action as he starts making bucks and finding bandmates in the unlikeliest of places.

Richard Linklater’s School of Rock is a foot-stomping, rock‘n’roll blast of fresh air for kids of all ages. It turns life up to 100 decibels on the energetically contagious back of Jack Black, who will slap a smile on your face and a literal song in your heart. For those about to rock...WE SALUTE YOU.

July 8 - American Valhalla (NI Premiere)

Synopsis: American Valhalla tells the story of an unlikely musical collaboration between two mavericks of American rock: Joshua Homme, frontman of Queens of the Stone Age and Iggy Pop, the Godfather of Punk.

The film, co-directed by Homme and Andreas Neumann, follows the recording of Iggy’s album Post Pop Depression in the California desert, with his band comprising of Homme, his QOTSA bandmate Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys’ drummer, Matt Helders, as well as the explosive tour that builds to a crowning performance at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall. Featuring stunning cinematography and intimate access, American Valhalla reveals the growth of an intense bond between the musicians who have taken to heart the mantra: 'you risk nothing you gain nothing.'

July 8 - Outcasts By Choice

Synopsis: Three brothers and a friend. In war-torn Belfast 1977, they formed a band and led the Punk Explosion - rejecting the status quo and the sectarian violence...

And yet their entourage became known as the Locusts – because 'anything they couldn’t eat, they destroyed.' As punk reaches its 40th Anniversary, some members of The Outcasts are now approaching 60. And they’re back on the road, performing all over Europe – even on a boat in Berlin.

Have these guys no lawns to mow? No golf clubs to join? Can they actually play their instruments this time around? Who are ‘The Outcasts’ now? Are they still punks? And what is punk anyhow? This film starts in tumult, and ends up somewhere else entirely.

July 8 - L7: Pretend We're Dead (NI Premiere, presented in association with Girls Rock School NI)

Synopsis: An all-access journey into the 1990s grunge movement that took the world by storm, and the band that helped define it as the genre of a generation.

Culled from over 100 hours of vintage home movies taken by the band, never-before-seen performance footage, and candid interviews, L7: Pretend We’re Dead is an engrossing time capsule told from the perspective of L7, these true insiders who brought their signature blend of grunge punk to the masses!

Chronicling the early days of the band’s formation in 1985 to their height as the ‘queens of grunge,’ the film takes a roller coaster ride through L7’s triumphs and failures, a classic tale of rags to riches to rags.

July 9 - Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along

Synopsis: Celebrate the brand new, Emma Watson-starring adaptation of Disney’s iconic fairy tale with on-screen lyrics so everyone can join in!

Beauty and the Beast is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realise the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.

This is your chance to sing your heart out to the Disney songs of your childhood such as ‘Be Our Guest’, ‘Belle’, ‘Gaston’ and not forgetting ‘Beauty and The Beast’.