Stars on red carpet for premiere of Sir Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast’ movie

Award-winning actor, writer and director, Sir Kenneth Branagh returned to his home town tonight to open the 21st Belfast Film Festival with the Irish premiere of his newest work, ‘Belfast’ ahead of its release in UK and Irish cinemas on January 21.

Sir Kenneth Branagh attending the Irish premiere of his film 'Belfast' at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast
Sir Kenneth Branagh attending the Irish premiere of his film 'Belfast' at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast

The award-winning film is a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the social and political tumult of the late 1960s.

Stars including Jamie Dornan, Caitríona Balfe, Ciarán Hinds and 10-year old Jude Hill joined Branagh on the ‘Belfast’ red-carpet at the ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall.

The Irish premiere of ‘Belfast’ was co-hosted by Northern Ireland Screen and Belfast Film Festival.

Jude Hill with his mother Shauneen at the premiere in the Waterfront last night

‘Belfast’ has received plaudits from the global film industry and was awarded Toronto International Film Festival’s People Choice Award following its screening in September.

Michele Devlin, director of Belfast Film Festival, said: “We couldn’t be prouder to have welcomed Kenneth Branagh and his brilliant new film to Belfast to open the 21st Belfast Film Festival.

“His lovingly crafted homage to his home town and its citizens perfectly encapsulates the theme of this year’s festival ‘bringing it all back home’.

“It is an honour to have Ken and the cast ‘back home’ to the city to celebrate the inspiring energy and heart that went into creating his ‘Oscar-tipped’ film.

Dame Judi Dench, Jude Hill and Ciaran Hinds in a scene from the film ‘Belfast’

“After a turbulent year, and many months of movies on the small screen, it is so thrilling to be bringing audiences back to the big screen and to showcase local talent.

“Year on year we see exceptional filmmakers blossoming and producing world-class films. We are thrilled to be highlighting some of these filmmakers at this year’s festival and celebrate the very best of Irish film.”

Belfast Film Festival is celebrating its 21st year with a festival brimming with local films and stars, running until November 13.

The festival will screen and celebrate an esteemed group of local filmmakers including east Belfast’s Stacey Gregg’s ‘Here Before’; ‘Mandrake’ by Lynne Davison and Northern Ireland’s first Irish language film, ‘Doineann’ by Belfast-based Double Band Films.

Bafta-winning director Alison Millar will debut her newest documentary on the life and death of journalist Lyra McKee, which was made in partnership with Lyra’s family, friends and partner.

Bríd Brennan will join the festival line-up for an ‘in-conversation’ event which will see the acclaimed actress receive the Belfast Film Festival’s Réalta Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Film.