Wow! What a day! Day 3 included award winning Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, more Robert Carlyle, the Short Film Competition, NI Independents, Pop Up Puppet Theatre, Empire Record, the Filmmakers Ball and more!

Day 3 kicked off with a movie marathon of short films in the Queen’s Film Theatre, one of the most anticipated events of the year – the Short Film Competition! 28 films were screened (a lot of people, including the judges, watched them all!) to a huge audience, with the films showcasing work from both first-time and established short filmmakers from all parts of Ireland. Keep reading to find out who won…

Across the Movie House, Dublin Road and our very own Beanbag Cinema we screened the first bunch of NI Independents to an impressive turn out – a programme of locally made feature and medium length film, most of which were produced on micro-budgets. These included Belfast Calibre No.9, Forgive Me Not, Born To Die, Grapevines, My Son & I, Pictures & Music, Dive and The Kiosk. 

Irish filmmaker and director Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank, Garage) travelled to Belfast to take part in a Q&A with Hugh Odling-Smee from Film Hub NI. In what was called an “expertly handled interrogation” Lenny talked about his life, studying physics, creating adverts and leaving the USA to kickstart a film career.

One audience member called it “honest, refreshing and not at all “starry”” while someone else commented, “the clips & Lenny comments offered a clear sense of the emotional depth and stylistic range of his work”. Wow!

Afterwards Robert Carlyle introduced Summer, a film personally chosen by him to screen at the festival. Robert said that if he was to remember one of his films, Summer would be it. Robert watched the film with the audience and took part in a short Q&A after with Brian Henry Martin. Many audience members were greatly moved and affected by the film, and the questions were handled delicately by Robert Carlyle as he delved into his character Shaun and helped us understand his acting process.

Elsewhere in Belfast audiences were treated to Pop Up Puppet theatre, a hilarious re-encament of film classics using puppets in the Black Box and there was a special, sold out 35mm screening of Empire Records in the Strand Arts Centre.

Our VR studio got underway in the Barracks Theatre with a cracking line up of films including the horror The Caretaker, documentary Send Me Home and the award winning, colourful animation set in a forest, Crow. Don’t miss out on this – read up on the films and book remaining tickets here.

The day ended with the Filmmakers Ball in the amazing St Joseph’s Church, Sailortown. Shout out to our kick-ass festival manager, Vittoria, for finding the venue and making it look unreal and to our beer sponsor, Birra Moretti, for proving the beverages!

Here the short film winner was announced – huge congratulations to the team behind Hold the Line! Directed by the filmmaking team of Karen Killeen and Lauren O’Shea, the film follows Em who works in a call centre. She faces a day that’s more difficult than the usual ‘customer care queries’ and is on the brink, that’s until she picks up the phone to Patsy.

A special commendation was made to El Hor, directed by Dianne Lucille Campbell; “through the interspecies gaze we observe one of the most ancient and highlight honoured dog breeds, the Saluki”.