The holidays are over, we’re back at work or school, the nights are starting to draw in – and summer is over before it’s begun!
In an effort to relieve the doom and gloom, Belfast Film Festival has programmed plenty of special film events in weird and wonderful locations throughout Northern Ireland.
Here are six of the most obscure places to catch a movie this month…
1. An aircraft hangar
The location for high-octane Nicolas Cage action film Con-Air (September 1), about a daring escape from a prisoner transport plane, could not be more fitting – amongst the Spitfires and other heroes of the skies in an Ulster Aviation Society Hangar close to the site of the old Maze prison. Your ticket to this unique film presentation also includes a tour of one of Northern Ireland’s best-kept secrets and a chance to stroll around the fascinating Cold War and World War Two aircraft, helicopters and aviation artefacts.
Before the main feature, Northern Ireland Screen will show footage from its Digital Film Archive collection, including material newly digitised as part of the BFI’s Britain on Film project.
2. A kick-boxing gym
Take a ringside seat as Joe Lindsay introduces Bruce Lee martial arts classic Enter the Dragon (3rd September). The venue is the ProKick Gym in East Belfast run by Billy Murray – Ireland’s most successful ever kick-boxer. It promotes the disciplines and levels of training and dedication needed to follow a martial art, and offers the chance for a young hopeful to become the next Billy Murray.
3. A Neolithic monument
The prehistoric circular enclosure of the Giant’s Ring near Shaw’s Bridge is the atmospheric location for classic 1973 horror flick The Wicker Man (September 17). Edward Woodward is the conservative Christian sergeant who observes the residents’ frivolous sexual displays and strange pagan rituals, particularly the temptations of Willow (Britt Ekland), daughter of the island magistrate (Christopher Lee).
The special screening will be preceded by footage of curious folk traditions from Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive. There will also be a performance by celebrated folk ensemble, The Armagh Rhymers, whilst award-winning weaver Bob Johnston will be on hand to create miniature straw men and willow masks.
4. A boarding school
A screening of The Frankenstein Chronicles (September 10) will take place in the stunning surroundings of Campbell College’s Central Hall where the series was filmed. It’s an epic re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s myth for a modern audience – blending supernatural horror with period police procedural.
5. A cathedral
Throughout the autumn of 1916, 20 million people flocked to see a silent film, The Battle of the Somme. This was nearly half the population of Britain at the time. The film remains one of the most watched in British cinema history – even bigger than Star Wars.
For a special commemorative screening on September 15, Belfast Film Festival will be showing the film as a large-scale projection in St Anne’s Cathedral where there are several war memorials for those who served in and survived World War I.
Somme100 FILM is an international project to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Composer Laura Rossi’s acclaimed score, commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, has been added to the film.
6. A vast urban warehouse
Belfast Film Festival teams up again with T13 in Titanic Quarter following the massive success of 2014’s Mad Max event. For this 30th anniversary screening of James Cameron’s sci-fi classic, Aliens (September 24), T13 will set design the urban space to mimic the industrial design of the film.
The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive repower, but will it be enough? Expect exploding squid, and other interactive experiences. Tautly paced and expertly directed, this roller coaster ride of a motion picture offers a little bit of everything, all wrapped up in a tidy science fiction/action package.
Also at T13 is The Matrix (September 25), the classic neo-noir science fiction martial arts film written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers about a dystopian future and simulated reality called “the Matrix”. It is also a cyber- punk classic which fits perfectly in the surrounds of T13’s gritty urban space.
You can view the full programme at www.belfastfilmfestival.org and tickets can be booked online, by phoning 028 9024 6609, or in person at Visit Belfast Welcome Centre in Donegall Square North.
Belfast Film Festival is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Department for Culture, Arts & Leisure, BFI, Belfast City Council, Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive, Tourism Northern Ireland and supported by Peroni Italy, Europa Belfast and Translink.