Festival offers slot to young director

A young Irish director will get the chance of a lifetime to have a short film screened at an international movie festival if it scoops the top prize in a competition in Belfast next month.

A young Irish director will get the chance of a lifetime to have a short film screened at an international movie festival if it scoops the top prize in a competition in Belfast next month.

Belfast film festival chiefs are offering a new generation of moviemakers the chance to make their mark on the world stage in their short film competition.

The festival, which runs from April 7-16, is also planning gala screenings of the ’The Mighty Celt’ starring Robert Carlyle and Gillian Anderson of ’X Files’ fame and ’The Boys and Girls from County Clare’ starring Andrea Corr, Colm Meaney and Bernard Hill.

Both movies were shot in the North and have been attracting good reviews at festivals in Berlin, Dublin and Colorado.

Anne Marie Murphy explained: “We’ve really put a lot of effort into making this our biggest festival yet, and it is a hell of an achievement when you consider that we lost our offices in the fire last year in Belfast’s North Street Arcade.

“Now we have moved into new our offices, we have been able to create our own 50 seater digital studio and increase the number of screenings and events around the city.

“There is also a strong emphasis on indigenous filmmaking and we’re delighted to get Pearse Elliott’s ’The Mighty Celt’ and indeed John Irvin’s ’The Boys and Girls from County Clare,’ both of which were shot in Northern Ireland.

“Jameson are sponsoring the short film competition which will see the winner taking £1,000 (€1,400) worth of stock and being given a chance to screen it at an international film festival.

“At this time when there are many encouraging signs for the local film industry, we would hope to provide a platform for young Northern Ireland filmmakers.

“In fact we are organising a seminar entitled ’Northern Exposure Why Northern Ireland?’ featuring two Irish directors, Aisling Walsh who made ’Song for A Raggy Boy’ with Aidan Quinn and Jim Sheridan’s daughter Kirsten who made ’Disco Pigs’.”

The festival, which is in its fifth year and which has always had a political strand, will also focus on race with journalist and activist Darcus Howe lined up for a discussion and screening of his new documentary ’Who You Callin’ a Nigger?’

With concerns mounting about the rise in racial attacks in the province, a panel discussion has also been planned as well as documentaries dealing with the issue.

Screenings of Steven Spielberg’s classic ’Jaws’ and Joe Dante’s ’Piranah’ on the river Lagan have already sold out, but some tickets are still available for the Beatles’ classic cartoon ’Yellow Submarine’.

Three films featuring Belfast’s Oscar nominated actor Stephen Rea will also feature Lance Daly’s ’The Halo Effect,’ Neil Jordan’s 1984 debut movie ’Angel’ and short competition finalist ’Fluent Dysphasia’.

There will also be world cinema including Japanese anime, an event on the new Irish language film and television fund while the Strand Cinema in east Belfast will screen three classic movies ’Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,’ ’The Searchers’ and ’A Night to Remember’.

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