Press 1


Belfast Film Festival has launched its 2023 programme with a prodigious line-up including the biggest films of both the Cannes and Venice film festivals and seven Best International Feature Oscar selections.

Opening and Closing

Belfast Film Festival’s Opening and Closing films are two of the most hotly anticipated films of 2023. The festival will open with Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, starring Irish actors Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, while Yorgos Lanthimos’ Golden Lion-winning Poor Things, jointly produced by Ireland’s Element Pictures and starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo will close the programme.

International Competition

In its second year, the International Competition sponsored by Yellowmoon, has reached new heights with six audacious debut features and two accomplished second features. These include the winner of Cannes’ coveted Un Certain Regard Award, Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex and the winner of the Camera D’Or, Pham Thien An’s Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell.

New Cinema

Showcasing the best of new cinema both in Ireland and internationally, the New Cinema strand has some of the most anticipated, bold and exciting films on the festival circuit such as William Oldroyd’s scabrous Eileen starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie and Christos Nikou’s dystopian romance Fingernails starring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed. Continuing the theme of Cannes award winners, this programme includes Justine Triet’s Palme D’Or awardee Anatomy Of A Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s Grand Prix champion The Zone of Interest. The strand also includes the Northern Ireland Screen funded thriller Lie Of The Land and Scottish feature Silent Roar with a sterling debut feature performance from Belfast actor Louis McCartney.

John Sayles and Maggie Renzi

The festival is delighted to host world-renowned writer-director John Sayles and producer Maggie Renzi in Belfast for a stimulating chat about their lives and work, hosted by Donald Clarke from The Irish Times. They will also be jointly presented with the festival’s prestigious Réalta award for Outstanding Contribution to Film. Accompanying the talk will be a retrospective showcasing some of their finest films, including the Donegal-set The Secret Of Roan Inish.

Work in Progress – Kneecap and Fréamhacha

Belfast Film Festival is known for thinking outside of the box and this year is no different with a host of unique special events. They include a look back at the history of 16mm with The 16mm Century featuring a live DJ afterparty plus two work-in-progress screenings: Aislinn Clarke’s newest Irish language horror Fréamhacha and the eagerly awaited Belfast-set movie, Kneecap.


This year BFF has pioneered the Long Short Weekend which brings together shorts, filmmakers, and audiences for a weekend of short film screenings including the Shorts Competition sponsored by Screenskills, and the Northern Ireland Screen Showcase.

Solidarity with the Workers

Extending solidarity to those striking in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, there is a section dedicated to the related themes of industrial action and work practices including a showcase of some of the year’s most provocative, mischievous and subversive movies titled Kill Your Job Before It Kills You.

For the Werk! event in the imposingly atmospheric industrial setting of Riddel’s Warehouse, built heritage and on-screen social history are brought together, with a live soundtrack from Marion Hawkes (Ponyhawke/Sound Advice). Prepare to join the workers’ party!

Belfast Film Festival is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast City Council, the Department for Communities, Film Hub NI, and Arts and Business NI, and is proudly sponsored by Yellowmoon, Birra Moretti and Hastings Hotels.

Jess Kiang, International Programmer for the festival said:

“After the roaring success of our inaugural International Competition last year I am excited to return with another showcase of eight stunning films made by emerging filmmakers from around the world. I’m also hugely excited about the Kill Your Job Before It Kills You section, which exemplifies our spirit of resistance to inequality and injustice in the workplace. This could not be more in keeping with our pleasure in honouring pioneering US filmmakers John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, who have forged together a truly independent, varied and fearlessly political career.”

Rose Baker, UK and Ireland Programmer added:

“This programme is so packed that it is difficult to pick just a few highlights. The 16mm Century celebrates the centenary year of the 16mm format. We are also very proud to have two amazing work-in-progress events which showcase some of the best and most original work happening in film in Northern Ireland, with Aislinn Clarke’s Fréamhacha and Fine Point’s Kneecap. We’re also working on archive film events which will be very special, thanks to amazing support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive and BBC NI. It is an exceptional programme and we can’t wait for people to experience it.”