Friday, 15 April 2011

In review: 2011 Belfast Film Festival

So another year has come and gone for the Belfast Film Festival! I will admit that despite this being its 11th year, this was the first time that I had actively immersed myself in the screenings/premieres/promotions, but it seems like I picked a phenomenal year to do so. Before it began, I blogged about what I was planning to check out during the festival:

Killing Bono

Killing Bono kicked off the festival on 31st March at Movie House, Dublin Road, and I attended the screening with my brother, my Dad and a few friends. It was a fun, by-and-large entertaining comedy with some nice heartfelt moments. I was very excited to hear Nick Hamm and Martin McCann speak at the screening, and I am still raging that I opted out of going to the after-party due to the fact that I had been in class until 6pm and was so tired that I could barely remember my own name. From stories I've heard and photos I've seen, it looked like a fun night, and Spring & Airbrake happens to be one of my favourite venues in Belfast. So yeah, raging!

The Shore

Okay, so this was the very first thing I set my heart on attending during the festival. Writer/director Terry George is a distant relative of mine (my dad's sister's husband's nephew - we're practically brothers!) and my parents and I always make sure to catch up whenever he is in town. I attended one of his masterclasses a few years ago, so I was relatively familiar with his "public" side, but it was still quite bizarre to see a packed room of hundreds hang on to his every word. Anyway, the film was breathtaking and I am dying to see it again. Also, that night I managed to briefly meet Brendan Fraser (I still can't get over my Mum calling him "Brendy!") and Martin McCann. I jokingly promised Martin I'd upload an old U2 video online for him to study for the Killing Bono sequel, but first Neil McCormick needs to hurry up and write a second book!




Buffy Night

Ah, now this was a real treat! Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my favourite show when I was growing up, and I still hold it with deep regard, so the opportunity to spray my hair blonde, throw on a leather trench coat and swagger into the Black Box like a 128 year old vampire was one I could not pass up. Along with a host of other Buffy fans, I got to watch a few episodes, have a few drinks, take part in a quiz, and pull some party poppers to celebrate the wonders of the female orgasm. A fun night indeed!



BBC Eye on TV Debate

Possibly the only letdown of my festival experience. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with the debate, but it seemed to offer up a bunch of common-sense statement with little in the way of provocative insight from supposed industry experts.


QFT Short Film Competition

So, *I* had fun at this, but apparently so did the people who read this blog because my piece on the short film competition has received more hits than anything else from the festival!


The Messenger

This was the last film I saw from the festival and it was absolutely incredible. A slow-moving, introspective look at the Casualty Notification Team in the US Army who are tasked with informing next of kin when their loved ones have died or gone missing in the war. This is a beautiful film with an exquisite cast, so please check it out if you can.

That's about it then! The festival is over and I am already missing it. Because of the things on offer, I had my eyes opened to so much great local and international talent and I am feeling incredibly proud of my city/country right now.. Thanks to the Queens Film Theatre, the Dublin Road Movie House, the Black Box, and all the other venues who helped host this year's events. Terry George has already promised to bring his next film ("Whole Lotta Sole") to the festival next year and you can be sure I will be there with bells and whistles!

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