Day 8 brought a whole host of special guests over to the festival, with many of them taking part in Q&A’s after screenings of their films.

In a sold out screening of A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot, director Sinead O’Shea took part in an informative Q&A with a lively Belfast crowd, that had nothing but praise for Sinead. BBC Journalist chaired the Q&A and there were many questions asked about the documentary, filmed over four years, that shows the violence that still happens in Northern Ireland today.

Issa López, a Mexican writer and director, who has won several literature awards, screened her new film Tigers Are Not Afraid and took part in a post-film Q&A. Tigers Are Not Afraid, a jaw-dropping film that blends reality and the supernatural in a beautiful way, was championed by Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King on social media. In her riveting Q&A with filmmaker Lisa Barros D’sa, she talked of her influences, her family and what she has in store for the future.

Snowflake, a film about two outlaws who are tracking down the man who killed their families, until one day they find a screenplay to the very film they are in, was one of the best received films of the festival. Director Adolfo J. Kolmerer, producer and actor Reza Brojerdi and actor David Materson took part in an informative and funny Q&A with Robert J Simpson. It mixes action, thriller and comedy, a film that has been in the making for four years with a lot of it made with no budget. 

The Film Studio in Queens University held a panel discussion on documentary funding, highlighting sources from both north and south of the Irish border. The panel was chaired by Lecturer of Film Practice in Queens University Belfast, Lucy Baxter and was joined by Andrew Reid from Northern Ireland Screen, Sophie Hayles from the Creative Europe Desk and Lisa Marie Russo from Doc Society as well as Andy Glynne of MD Mosaic Films and Sinead O’Shea, director of A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot.

Day 8 included another special event held in the Black Box, Pink Floyd Onscreen. This unique event, celebrating the visual work of Pink Floyd and their artist and filmmaker collaborators from across their career, included concert footage, videos and film footage. 

Belfast Film Festival welcomed Guy Bartell who provided the audience in The Mac to his soundtrack to the silent film, Arsenal. Set during the closing stages of the Eastern Front of the First World War, Arsenal documents a Bolshevik uprising in Ukraine that was a pivotal moment in the Ukrainian War of Independence, and the country’s war with Soviet Russia.