Belfast Film Festival is preparing to put on its 16th annual festival of premieres, unique events and the best in world cinema. In its biggest programme ever, over 133 films from 30 countries will be screened from April 14 to 23.
The trailer for Belfast Film Festival features the track Insula from Deadman’s Ghost.
Here are 17 of the best events taking place over the 10 days…
Welcome to Wayne’s World
Black Box, Thu Apr 14, 7.30pm, £7
Join host Joe Lindsay for a celebration of all things Wayne and Garth! Screening, clips and disco…
You’ll go back to where it all started with clips from Wayne and Garth’s early days on Saturday Night Live, including a jam session with Aerosmith, and Tom Hanks as Garth’s cousin who was an Aerosmith roadie.
Then we’re on to the first movie… Wayne’s World proved to be that rare thing: a successful transition of a Saturday Night Live sketch to the big screen.
Joe will close the event with a magically babelicious playlist of big-haired, tight trousered rock. No way?? Shee-a!! Way!!
Queen’s Film Theatre, Friday April 15, 6.45pm, £6
Don Cheadle stars in and directs a wild, free-form investigation of Miles Davis’ turbulent personal and professional life.
What Rolling Stone reporter Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor) wants is an exclusive interview with the jazz legend himself, Miles Davis (Don Cheadle). What he gets instead is a wild and dangerous ride-along with a recording artist living at his edge, rife with shootouts, car-chases, and a tale of lost love to the singer Frances (Emayatzy Corinealdi).
QFT, Sat Apr 16, 12.15pm, £3
In the summer of 2015, The Open House Festival advertised for members to join their first ever festival choir.
Nearly 40 people joined, all from different backgrounds and abilities and many who have never sang in public before. The choir would meet locally once a week and embark upon 10 weeks of rehearsal, where they would sing together at key events taking place at the Bangor Festival in August.
Leading them at the helm is singer songwriter Katie Richardson (Katie & The Carnival/Goldie Fawn), weaving them through intricate harmonies in old songs and new, encouraging brave members to take on solos and challenging them to learn songs with hours to spare. The documentary follows the journey of the choir leading up to their first ever live public performances, including the sold out show at the historic Bangor Abbey supporting local talent Duke Special and singing their own version of The Farriers song “Light Leads You”.
Men and Chicken
QFT, Sat Apr 16, 9pm, £6
Mads Mikkelsen (‘Hannibal’) stars in this delirious comedy from Denmark’s Anders Thomas Jensen, about two sadsack brothers who head to a dilapidated mansion on a remote island to meet their biological father — and their three seriously eccentric siblings.
The most outrageous film talent to emerge from Denmark since Lars von Trier, Jensen doesn’t just push boundaries: he barrels right through them and then stomps them into the ground. In his new film ‘Men & Chicken’ (which has already broken box-office records in its native land), Jensen offers a riotously transgressive satire on family and eugenics that doubles as a surprisingly thoughtful meditation on what makes us human.
Movie House Dublin Rd, Sun Apr 17, 12noon, £4
A tale of Culchies, Spides and the Baby Jesus. A comedy take on the birth of Jesus Christ set in Belfast.
After stroking King Herod’s card game, Joseph and his heavily pregnant girlfriend Mary, must go into hiding.
With all the Travel Lodges and B&Bs full, Mary and Joseph find shelter in a stable on the outskirts of Belfast, just in time to give birth to the boy who would grow up to be the Saviour of the World.
After their whereabouts are discovered via Facebook, Joseph and Mary seek help from the three wise men from West Belfast, to escape a vengeful King Herod.
QFT, Mon Apr 18, 9pm, £6
A rewarding coming of age story focused on the relationship between a teenager and his mother, and the evolution experienced by both.
Elliot is a wispy dreamer who, with his mother Beatrice (Juliet Stevenson), is packing up their French country house in preparation to sell it.
There is a melancholic air to their efforts, with forced companionableness from Beatrice who insists on dinners with her distant son. Elliot takes breaks to wander into the local village bar, where he writes romantic poetry, wearing a vintage French army coat and eyeing up the rough beauty of local boy Clément, who works on his motorbike.
Clément is as natural as Elliot is awkward and they strike up an unlikely friendship. Longing, loneliness, nostalgia for a sense of family that may have never existed permeate this delicate first feature from British debut director Andrew Steggall. It’s a fine, elegantly crafted debut with Alex Lawther (‘X+Y’, ‘The Imitation Game’) impressing as a major British star in the making.
Embrace The Serpent
QFT, Tue Apr 19, 9pm, £6
A lone shaman inducts two European ethnographers into the mysteries of the Amazon in this breathtakingly photographed tale of exploration, vividly reimagined from the indigenous point of view.
Tracking two parallel odysseys through the Amazon three decades apart, this visionary adventure epic from Colombian director Ciro Guerra offers a heart-rending depiction of colonialism laying waste to indigenous culture. Recalling such visionary films as Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Dead Man’ and Werner Herzog’s ‘Aguirre, the Wrath of God’, this elegiac adventure story surveys a vanishing way of life and the natural world that we neglect (and abuse) at our peril.
Internet Cat Video Festival
Black Box, Tues Apr 19, 7pm, £6
The Internet Cat Video Festival is the first offline celebration of online cat videos. The festival is a live event, gathering fellow feline fanatics to watch a curated collection of cat clips, from six second Vine videos to short films and everything in between – in a social environment.
All new! All cats! All crazy! Over 100 videos in all. Join your fellow cat lovers for this celebration of hilarious, odd, and downright adorable videos.
Stick around after the festival screening and watch some classic cinematic cat scenes including ‘The Private Life of a Cat’ (1947) and ‘The AristoCats’ (1970).
The Internet Cat Video Festival is produced and curated by the Walker Art Center.
QFT, Wed Apr 20, 8.45pm, £6
The world’s worst stand up comic journeys to the end of a soulless void in Rick Alverson’s weird, unsettling and sick new film. We follow anti-comedy performer Neil Hamburger, on a road trip to the centre of a harrowing abyss. Not for the nervous.
A broken, ageing comedian tours the California desert, lost in a cycle of third-rate venues, novelty tourist attractions, and vain attempts to reach his estranged daughter. By day, he slogs through the barren landscape, inadvertently alienating every acquaintance. At night, he seeks solace in the animation of his onstage persona. Fueled by the promise of a lucrative Hollywood engagement, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters. As Neill trudges depressingly from gig to gig there are various supporting players that enliven the narrative. John C. Reilly appears as his faux-supportive, asshole-ish cousin, who isn’t very good at lending a hand, Michael Cera has a brief cameo, and Amy Seimetz shows up for a minute in a hysterically dark scene as trailer trash.
Movie House Dublin Rd, 7pm, £6
For three days every summer, metalheads from around the globe converge on an unsuspecting hamlet in the German countryside to mosh, headbang, camp out, throw up the sign of the beast, drink their faces off, and generally have a good time in the name of rock. The outdoor Wacken music festival brings together acts and fans from around the world. Filmmaker Norbert Heitker takes a look at what makes the festival so special to all its attendees and special guests in the concert documentary ‘Wacken 3D’. The film comes very clearly pitched at true believers in the power of metal.
There are plenty of rousing performances from bands old and new. Old school acts like Deep Purple, Motorhead, Alice Cooper and Anvil showcase their wares alongside relatively newer acts like Annihilator, Trivium and Lamb of God (who perform here in the middle of a blinding rainstorm).
QFT, Wed Apr 20, 9pm, £6
With his 2013 film Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier crafted one of the most critically acclaimed revenge thrillers in recent memory. With Green Room, his latest exercise in edge of the seat suspense, Saulnier confirms he is one of the most significant names in modern genre filmmaking.
When an unsigned punk band, The Ain’t Rights, book an impromtu gig at a seedy dive bar frequented by neo-Nazis, they are expecting a tough night. But when they accidentally become witness to a murder, the band find themselves trapped in the venue’s green room, hunted down by a gang of thuggish mercenaries (fronted by a truly unsettling Patrick Stewart) determined to ensure they keep their mouths shut.
QFT, Thu Apr 21, 6.40pm, £6
Traders is a thriller about recession-hit Ireland and the extreme, brutal lengths to which people will go to hang on to wealth and status. A stellar cast includes Killian Scott (RTE’s Love/Hate), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly in Game Of Thrones), Barry Keoghan (’71) and Olwen Fouéré (The Survivalist). Killian Scott will attend the screening with directors Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy.
Killian Scott and the directors will take part in a Q&A following the screening.
Movie House Dublin Rd, Thu Apr 21, 9pm, £6
A knockout central performance by director and occasional actor Feng Xiaogang, as a former Beijing street fighter brought reluctantly back into the urban fray in order to save his son, is the dramatic anchor of this engaging genre- bender.
This thrilling new film from gifted auteur Guan Hu immerses us in the crime-riddled labyrinth of Beijing’s rapidly changing underworld. Based on actual events, ‘Mr. Six’ is the story of a fascinating man whose life reflects the history of a nation.
With Guan’s impeccable narrative power behind the camera and Feng’s subtle character-making magic in front of it, Mr Six sees a panoply of diverse talents come together to tell a gripping story that bridges Chinas old and new.
The Long Goodbye
Harbour Commissioners Office, Fri Apr 22, 7pm, £7
Join Belfast Film Festival in the plush Harbour Commissoner’s Office and try Northern Ireland’s newest gin: Jawbox. A strange cocktail called the Gimlet makes an appearance in Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Long Goodbye’: ‘A real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else’.
Robert Altman directs this radical adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel. Los Angeles detective Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) smells a rat when his friend Terry Lennox is accused of murder. Convinced of Lennox’s innocence, Marlowe follows a convoluted trail which leads him to his friend’s mistress, her alcoholic husband and hood Marty Augustine, to whom Lennox owed a substantial sum of money. Watch out for an early, unbilled appearance by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of Augustine’s heavies.
Outcasts By Choice
Strand Arts Centre, Fri Apr 22, 8.15pm, £6
Three brothers and a friend. In war-torn Belfast 1977, they formed a band and led the Ulster Punk Explosion – rejecting the status quo and the sectarian violence…
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.
Black Box, Fri Apr 22, 8pm, £6
A special evening of specially made cocktails from some of Belfast’s finest barmen.
Tom Cruise plays Brian Flanagan, a young man fresh out of the military who now wants to become a millionaire businessman. He takes classes during the day and tends bar at night, having learned from his new alcohol mentor, Bryan Brown, the fine art of throwing bottles around in a flashy manner in order to impress drunk people. Despite being only 100 minutes long, the film somehow manages to contain well over 20 hours of nonstop footage of Brian and Doug laughin’ it up while they mix drinks for easily impressed gum beans packed around the bar to watch them.
Following the film Belfast Film Festival presents Yacht Rock! with Belfast’s infamous karaoke crew. For this sailing expect Dion, Bolton, Christopher Cross and many, many more.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Movie House Dublin Rd, Sat Apr 23, 7pm
Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant star in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins; Based on an inspiring true story of the American socialite and amateur operatic soprano who pursued her dream of becoming a singer.
This comedy drama is directed by Stephen Frears (‘Philomena’, ‘The Grifters’, ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ ) and tells the inspirational true story of the eponymous New York heiress who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer. The film celebrates the human spirit, the power of music and the passion of amateurs everywhere.
You can download 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, Tourism Northern Ireland and supported by Peroni Italy and Europa Belfast.