Published Thursday, 14 March 2013
From the classic Cool Hand Luke in Crumlin Road Gaol to the frightening The Evil Dead 2 in Ormeau Park or the Marilyn Monroe Songbook in the Black Box, there is a silver screen event for you.
I am delighted to be hosting a series a of special events; Desert Island Flicks with Mark Kermode, where the UK's top film critic selects the films that have shaped his life; a special 40th anniversary screening of Last Tango In Paris, the controversial film that Belfast City Council banned; and back by popular demand, the annual movie buff convention that is the Belfast Film Festival Quiz.
Belfast is currently enjoying an unprecedented blossoming of film making, film attendance and film culture in the city. So there is no better time to stage a fun-filled film festival.
Festival Director Michele Devlin explains, "We are very excited to be showcasing home-grown work and international film-making talent from more than 30 countries. The programme is packed with well established, lesser-seen and exciting first time directing talent. From Iran to Japan, from Cuba to China, the world will be at festival goers fingertips."
We live in a rapidly changing society and sometimes that change happens in the blink of an eye. Great cinema allows us to explore social change, by holding a mirror up to ourselves and offering us a unique window to life across continents and cultures.
What has not certainly not changed over the years is this city's love affair with the cinema. We have been film going for over one hundred years, since the first purpose built building to screen films, a cinema, was opened in Belfast; the Electric Picture Palace on York Street in 1910.
The cinema has been the place where we have explored our dreams, met our loves and in the darkest of times been offered a much needed light of hope.
Today, cinema in Belfast is flourishing, with more than fifty cinema screens across the city, one of the highest cinema per population ratios in the UK. The old cinemas may be gone, the Ritz, the Curson or the Classic but the Belfast Film Festival are staging events in the 21st Century picture palaces that are sure to fuel a new generation of movie lovers.
So for young and old, filmmakers and film lovers alike, the Film Festival is the time to not only share your passion for the cinema but also add your voice to the distinctive story of cinema in the city of Belfast. See you there.
The Belfast Film Festival runs from Thursday 11th April until Sunday 21st April, full programme details are available at www.belfastfilmfestival.org