Ten straight days of cinematic wonders await as Belfast Film Festival runs from 11th-20th April 2019. This years festival sees 90 features and 80 shorts being screened with 34 different countries being represented. Add into this Belfast Film Festival’s continued commitment to the F-Rating and I’m convinced (and mildly biased) in declaring my home city’s right to hosting one of the most diverse and eclectic festivals around.
There is so much to see and the program bulges with big films with star names, independent films from Northern Ireland and some of films weirder eccentricities via the Twisted Cornea and Altered States sections of the programme. There are also guests a plenty with Robert Carlyle, Lenny Abrahamson and Bollywood icon Amir Khan all set to attend.
So after a long intensive read through the programme, elimination of potential clashes, a film festival pass purchase and a schedule in place; these are a few of my picks and where you will find me over the festival period.
A Bump Along The Way
Written by Tess MCGowan, directed by Shelly Love and produced by Louise Gallagher, the film will open this years festival and centres around the strained relationship between immature mum Pamela and disapproving daughter Allegra.
When Pamela become pregnant following a drunken one-night stand the relationship between mother and daughter is put to the test.
Thirteen year old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school - the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year - before she begins high school.
Habving heard great things about this film from reviewers and critics in the States, this was always going to been of my picks!
I’m expecting coming of age in the digital era here with a more tech savvy, social media awareness than those that occupied the spaces of Clueless and Mean Girls.
The Salvation Door
A seventy-year-old man, a British Indian lives in plight after being abandoned by his family, except for his married daughter called Udita, who nurtures him.
When his present state of living changes, he decides to go to “The Salvation Door” in India.
The film follows the twist and turns of his journey and numerous choices he must make, will he be able to pick his “Last drop of his life”?
Showing as part of the NI Independent section of the programme a title like this was always going to intrigue and attract me. How could Films andFaith resist?
Animal Kingdom depicts a man’s voyage into the deep recesses of the very film that projects him, affecting its construction, progression and physical stability. While stranded in a large forest where day and night interchange at any moment, he discovers two natives who have begun their transformation into animals.
Even with that description in the festival programme, I’m still not sure what to expect here. However when a films described as a spiritual odyssey I was always going to be intrigued and compelled to check it out.
In Brighton, a small group of women have been changing the way people look after their dead. Supporting them during the ritual of care after death, and empowering them to create personal ceremonies reflecting the life that the deceased lived.
Relatively unknown, there is an emerging movement changing the way death is approached in contemproary Britain.
Death is never easy to talk about, look at or contemplate. A documentary that may look at how we challenge those ideas jumped out from the programme as something that will no doubt give me something to chew over and wrestle with.
There will be a panel discussion, featuring director Rehanna Rose, following the film and these panels always add to the experience as you learn why the film was made, the thought process and the impact it had on those involved.
These are just a few quick picks from what is an extensive programme. There are many more great films, events, talks and experiences to be had across the festival period (11th-20th April).
So grab a programme, circle your picks and I will hopefully see you there.