Belfast Film Festival 2016: A Short Guide

Belfast Film Festival 1

As this year’s Belfast Film Festival advances into its second week – for a very impressive 16th year – we at The Last Round couldn’t help but notice a number of politically-inflected titles and events making their way into this year’s festival programme.

So we thought we’d produce a succinct selection of the screenings, talks and the like that most caught our eye from 2016’s BFF. April’s been predictably rainy here in Northern Ireland, which makes it as good a time as any to get along to the cinema and support socially-engaged filmmaking:

This Changes Everything – 19th April, The MAC

Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international bestselling book of the same title, this multi-pronged film examines the greatest humanitarian challenge and crisis facing our world: the small matter of climate change. The screening will be prefaced with a short video link intro by Klein and the film’s director Avi Lewis.

A Public Q & A with Terrence Davies – 19th April, QFT

Considered by some as Britain’s greatest living filmmaker, Terrence Davies talks with the Belfast Film Festival about his remarkable career in cinema.

Green Room – 20th April, QFT

This is the violent story of an unsigned punk band, ‘The Ain’t Rights’, who become accidental witnesses to a murder perpetrated by a gang of neo-Nazis. The film follows the music group, as they find themselves hounded down by a crew of thugs – spearheaded by Patrick Stewart – who are hell-bent on ensuring their silence.

Vessel – 21st April, The MAC

An intriguing docu-film about a guerrilla abortion group who set up a de facto clinic in an offshore ship which records the many trials, obstacles and setbacks faced by the impelled D.I.Y. organisation. About as topically-relevant as a film could be in Northern Ireland at the moment, Vessel has received praise for a nuanced treatment of its sensitive subject matter.

Taxi Driver 4oth Anniversary Screening and Talk – 21st April, Strand Art Centre

The results of an angry young man’s loneliness and alienation in 1970s New York. Hailed by many critics as Scorsese’s greatest picture (not to mention De Niro’s finest performance as the insomniac anti-hero Travis Bickle), Taxi Driver is as chillingly relevant today as it has ever been.

Donnie Darko: Live Soundtrack – 21st April, The Black Box

Get your fan theories in! Richard Kelly’s cult classic finds a new lease of life with French musician Cinemix Radiomentale’s live soundtrack. Try and see if it can help you unravel the mind-spinning complexities of this time-travel teen drama.

Women in the Creative Industries – 22nd April, BFF Micro Cinema

Caroline O’Sullivan, theatre director Paula McFetridge and Professor Sarah Edge meet to discuss the subject, combining academic research and first-hand experience of working in professional media and the creative arts.

Requiem for the American Dream – 23rd April, Movie House (Dublin Road)

The inimitable Noam Chomsky paints a stark portrait of an increasingly kleptocratic American – and, by extension, Western – society, as well as offering a rallying argument vis-à-vis how the situation might be redressed.

Cinepunked: Elephant(s) – 23rd April, Beanbag Cinema

Film historian Robert JE Simpson, writer Dr Rachael Kelly and BelfastFilm’s Conor Smyth come together to talk about Alan Clarke’s 1989 Troubles film ‘Elephant’. Kevin Jackson, Clarke’s location manager for the shoot, will join the panel in this blending of academic and populist film criticism, before the floor will be opened up to audience questions.

For more info on this year’s Belfast Film Festival, click here.