Best of the Fest - The Belfast Film Festival

Tentacles, Killer Tyres, Giant Fish & Screwball Capers...my picks for the 11th Belfast Film Festival


The Belfast Film Festival enters it's eleventh year of programming in a city in deep financial trouble and still without it's own film industry, a real sign of how far behind we are in comparison to the rest of Europe.  However this has never stopped the BFF from delivering the best that all corners of the world have to offer.  The first Film Festival I was fortunate to work was the 3rd Festival in 2003 and since then I've had a love for the sheer diversity of taste that the BFF have managed to deliver to the Blockbuster bloated cinema population of the city.  Here's 11 picks for the 11th year of the BFF.

01. Small Town Murder Songs
Peter Stormare (Fargo) as a small town cop with a dark past that refuses to stay buried after a local murder disrupts the peace.  Many festivals have picked this film as a real stand out so unsurprisingly it's first out of the blocks in the Best of the Fest.  Friday April 1st 9:15PM @Queen's Film Theatre.

02. The Whisperer in Darkness
Director Sean Branney will be present to introduce the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's wonderful follow up to The Call of Cthulhu.  Once again shot in the cinematic style of the time this is a beautifully rich adaptation and a must see for horror fans.  Friday April 1st 7:00PM @Belfast Waterfront.

03. Sound of Noise
A heist movie with a difference.  I was fortunate to see the trailer for this.  I don't want to give away anything other than to say think Michael Mann mixed with Michel Gondry.  Mon April 4th 7:00PM @Queen's Film Theatre.

04. We Were Here
A decade on and Weissman & Webber return for a follow up.  The first documentary to take a look at the impact and affects of the Aids epidemic. Friday April 1st 9:00PM @BFF Beanbag Cinema.

05. Twisted Cornea
Lawrence Jordan on the big screen?!  Beautifully surreal and striking, say no more!  Sun 3rd April 7:00PM @BFF Beanbag Cinema.

06. Biosuite : Emotional Response Cinema
Watch a Cronenberg film in SARC under laboratory conditions in this brilliant idea of a screening.  As exciting and original as it is a treat for the city. Cinema with a 360 degree screen and amazing sound!  Sun 10th - Tues 12th April 7:30PM @Sonic Arts Research Centre.

07. Mega Piranha
Giant piranha escape from their habitat in the Amazon and eat their way through all things sea dwelling en route to Florida.  The film itself is terrible but the screening on the Lagan Boat tour of the city makes it one of the more memorable nights out you'll have.  Mon 11th April 9:30PM All Aboard! The Lagan Boat.

08. Balls of Fire
Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck creating one of the greatest exploits into the screwball comedy that we're ever likely to see.  Mon 4th April 8:00PM @Strand Cinema.

09. Simple Simon
Simon's got Aspergers, Sam's been dumped so Simon goes about finding love for his friend.  Another example of how Scandinavian cinema can be so good.  Thu 7th April 7:00PM @Moviehouse Dublin Road.

10. Stake Land
Some bias is sneaking in now as I booked this film for the Festival but had to move venue due to technical specifications.  The country is dead, America is lost to the Vampire.  It's I Am Legend mixed with Dawn of the Dead but with Dracula.  Jim Mickle's vampire apocalypse will leave you scared of the dark!  Excellent.  Wed 6th April 9:00PM @Queen's Film Theatre.

11. Rubber
Saved arguably the best for last.  Quentin Dupieux's visionary take on the carploitation genre with the aid of a killer tyre on the loose is nothing short of brilliant.  I have been tracking this film for the Movie Bar for a while now and though glad it's showing in Belfast wish it could have been us.  Sun 3rd April 9:00PM @Queen's Film Theatre.

It's nice to be able to say it was extremely difficult to narrow down the entire programme to 11 choices.  There is so much in the programme that if I were to delete this post and start again I could come up with multiple versions of this list with different combinations at each attempt.  You won't be able to see everything you like.  Like all good Festivals the second you sit down to dissect the brochure you inevitably run into one scheduling conflict after another.  See as much as you can, ingest as much celluloid dreams as you can until the point were overdosing on narrative becomes a serious threat but if you're only allowed out once a month then you could do a lot worse than to pick from the above list.


The full Festival Programme can be downloaded as a PDF.

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