The Shorts competition is one of our favourite events in the Film Festival’s year – it’s a chance for us to get a measure of the talents of the filmmaking community in both the North and South of Ireland. QFT 1 was packed with filmmakers from all over the island, before they headed off to the Black Box for the Filmmaker’s Ball, to drink beer provided by our sponsor, Birra Moretti, network and dance their nerves off while they waited for the winner of the competition to be announced – Good Girls, written and directed by Niamh McKeown and produced by Jack Cowhig. Congratulations! Lost Memories – written by Eamon Murphy and Emmett Kelly and directed by Eamon Murphy – received a special commendation.

At the other side of town the BFF VR hub was again open to the public, with each hour-long slot filling up fast and participants having a ball of a time, as the feedback can testify to :  “I can’t believe i’m sweating so much” Wow, I need to sit down, that was intense.” and our favourite –  “AGGHHHHHHH!”  You can catch some of our VR picks until Saturday 21st at The Barracks, Exchange Place.

There was another packed schedule for the team at the Black Box, Filmmaker Sue Clayton started the day with her film, CALAIS CHILDREN –  following the journeys of the unaccompanied child refugees stranded at  the camp in Calais before it was shut down. This was followed by Accidental Theatre’s raucous and extremely enjoyable Live Read of SPACEBALLS, directed by Emily Dedakis.

The highly acclaimed Clio Bernard, director of THE ARBOR started our In Conversation events of the day discussing her work with communities and the representation of People and Places in Film- something Agnes Varda would approve of we think- her new film FACES, PLACES, played to a sold out audience at QFT later in the day.

QFT also played host later in the day to Mike Catto’s reminisces of a life in film, and to a highly animated discussion of Michael Fanning’s THE DAY THE TROUBLES STARTED, with Eamon McCann. Our exploration of the incendiary year that was 1968 continues early next week with Agnes Varda’s BLACK PANTHERS, with special guest Bernadette McAliskey

The Movie House played host to the first of this years NI Independents, showcasing the best of low budget features including Cinemagic’s CHANCER, Michael McNulty’s NOT TILL I KNOW MORE, The story of Newry City AFC journey return from relegation HERE WE ARE, and FINDING WEE PADDY a story of one woman’s journey to hour her uncle killed by Japanese fire in 1937.

Phew! Can’t believe we’re nearly on Day 4. And we haven’t even had the pleasure yet of the company of Ken Loach (sold out, sorry), Graham Linehan, Deborah Haywood, Antoni Batisa and many more!