Belfast Film Festival 2013

Paul Kennedy's debut, Made in Belfast, kicks off proceedings on April 11. Win tickets to a screening of Cool Hand Luke in Crumlin Road Gaol and more

Over a whirlwind 11 days from April 11, film fans will be treated to more than 110 screenings in a range of venues as the Belfast Film Festival returns. This year the focus will be on local talent, while many international filmmakers will also enjoy their time in the spotlight.

Kicking off the celluloid celebration on April 11 will be the premiere of Made In Belfast, the debut feature by Northern Ireland writer and director, Paul Kennedy (see screen grab above).

Made in Belfast tells the story of Jack, a young man who returns home to a Belfast that he barely recognises – and has one weekend to put things right. Such is the interest in Kennedy's film, it has already sold out.

Festival Director Michele Devlin explains: 'We are thrilled that emerging local talent is well represented in the 53 shortlisted films from the hundreds of entries to the festival’s Short Film Competition. There is a lot to look forward to.

'We are very excited to be showcasing home-grown work, and international filmmaking talent from more than 30 countries. The programme is packed with established, lesser-seen and exciting first-time directing talent from Iran to Japan, from Cuba to China. The world will be at festivalgoers’ fingertips.'

Among the special events this year are a number of site specific screenings, including a presentation of Franco Zeffirelli’s majestic version of Verdi’s La Traviata in St Anne’s Cathedral on opening day, which will also feature a live performance by members of Northern Ireland Opera’s Young Artists’ Programme.

The horror blockbuster The Evil Dead 2 will be screened in Belfast’s Ormeau Park on April 20, and the Paul Newman classic Cool Hand Luke and other prison-themed movies at Crumlin Road Gaol on April 13.

Other special events include Northern Irish theatre group Skewiff's Same Time, Next Year, and the specially commissioned Marilyn Monroe Songbook, performed by Katie and the Carnival.

The closing night premiere, on April 21, sees a screening Final Cut, by Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi, a film composed of scenes from the greatest movies ever made. Palfi spent over three years in the editing room collecting scenes from more than 450 international films and assembled them into a narrative.

Among the special guests at the festival this year is novelist Jonathan Coe, who will be introducing one of his favourite films, Billy Wilder’s take on Sherlock Holmes, and also introducing the films of BS Johnson.

Tony Grisoni, screenwriter of Red Riding Trilogy, is jetting in to talk about his work, while film critic and journalist Mark Kermode will be choosing his favourite films in conversation with Brian Henry Martin at the festival’s Desert Island Flicks event.

Other on-screen highlights include Jack Black as a funeral director in Richard Link’s latest film Bernie, a screening of The Breakfast Club in Belfast Institute’s library, a Twin Peaks Night and Faraway, a story of intrigue and misadventure set in contemporary Northern Ireland written and directed by Stephen Don.

Michele Devlin says festival events aimed at those working in the film industry will be a big attraction. 'With the profile of the Northern Ireland film sector at an all-time high and increasing numbers of aspiring film-makers, writers and producers needing to know about the business of film, the time is ripe for some serious industry insights.

'Northern Ireland Screen is bringing key players to Belfast as part of the festival's Industry Days. Sales agents, distributors, production companies, writing and development experts will participate.'

For more information visit the Belfast Film Festival website. Enter our competition to win a three-event Belfast Film Festival ticket package.