Our chair of the Film Festival, Mark Cousins, recently took to Twitter to give some expert advice on how to festival – “Here’s how to do it: 2 films a night. Carb load during day – there’s no time for dinner in evening. See films you’ve never heard of. Get friendly with fellow moviegoers – film festivals are better than dating apps.”

We know the festival programme can be a daunting thing; it’s hard to choose from 150+ films in 10+ categories. To help you decide what to see we’ve listed some films that are a bit different, films from around the world, old films and documentaries.

Pick a day, see something different…

Thursday 12th April

  • Black 47: If you’ve never been to the Belfast Film Festival the Opening Night is an exciting event to start with. The Opening Night film truly kicks off the festival and there’s a great atmosphere throughout the evening. This year’s Opener is Black 47 and it hosts a whole bunch of Irish acting talent from Barry Keoghan to Moe Dunford. The writer and director, Lance Daly, will be attending this event to show off his drama about the great famine.
  • Animal House 40th Anniversary: Here at Festival Towers we like to celebrate great films that have matured well over the years. Animal House, the ultimate frat house comedy, is 40 years old and we’re celebrating this with a screening and a full bar in the Strand Arts Centre.

Friday 13th April

  • Lathe of Heaven: Lathe of Heaven has been described as one of the “greatest works of science fiction”. This first major made-for-television movie is about George Orr, a man whose dreams can change waking reality, and tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. This is being screened in our very own cosy Beanbag cinema – which is an experience in itself.
  • Photo City: Why not try a documentary? Rochester, NY, is a city dominated by Kodak, but now the city faces a new digital future. Photo City presents a profile of the city told through the varied lives of its photographers.

Saturday 14th April

  • Calais Children: We’re lucky enough to have director Sue Clayton join us for a Q&A after this screening of Calais Children in the Black Box. Calais Children reveals the desperate plight of hundreds of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and exposes the role played by the UK government in prolonging this.
  • Cinepunked: Art Vs Artist: If you’re looking for a good old heated debate on Saturday evening this is the event for you. Can we separate art from artist? Is it ok to watch a film when the makers have been convicted of criminal activity? Where does the line sit between suffering for craft, and abuse?

Sunday 15th April

  • Divine Order: For some exciting New Cinema we recommend you check out The Divine Order; Nora is a young housewife and mother who lives in 1971 with her husband and two sons in a quiet Swiss village. The village and family peace, however, dwindles as Nora begins to work for women’s voting rights.
  • Newton: A New Cinema, comedy-drama from India; A rookie government clerk finds himself entrusted with a task that appears deceptively simple: collecting 76 votes in a remote village in the jungle of central India.

Tuesday 17th April

  • The Rider: Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao presents The Rider for our New Cinema programme. Once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, and a gifted horse trainer, young cowboy Brady is warned that his riding days are over, after a horse crushes his skull at a rodeo.
  • The Cured: What if flesh-eating zombies were returned to their old lives – and had to reintegrate back into an unforgiving society? Ellen Page and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor star in an original, innovative and surprising post- zombie film from Ireland. After the screening there will be a Q&A with ASIWYFA, the Northern Irish band that composed the soundtrack.

Wednesday 18th April

  • Polifonia Basca: A documentary from Spanish directors Joan Salicrú and Ariadna Vazquez. After a lifetime devoted to the investigation of the Basque conflict, the Catalan journalist Antoni Batista returns to the Basque country to see how the situation has evolved since ETA announced the end of its violent activity five years ago. Antoni Batista will join us for a post-screening discussion.
  • Ron Hutchinson: In Conversation: In this unique talk and performance piece created especially for the Belfast Film Festival, Emmy Award winning screenwriter Ron Hutchinson reveals the often blackly funny truth about working with the likes of Marlon Brando on one of the movie businesses legendary disasters and the lessons to be drawn from it.

Thursday 19th April

  • Tigers Are Not Afraid: Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King took to social media to champion this film, and the filmmaker Issa López, and we’re delighted that she’ll be attending the festival to take part in a Q&A post-screening! A group of children in an unnamed Mexican city have lost their parents to the violent activities of gangs and drug-lords.
  • Arsenal with Live Music by Bronnt Industries Kapital: We are delighted to welcome British composer Guy Bartell, who will provide a live soundtrack to the silent movie 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. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the uprising.


Wanting to browse a specific section of the festival? Click here to see all our categories!

Don’t forget, as Mark Cousins says, to carb load during the day – check out our Belfast Buzz section to see what places are offering festival goers a food discount!

Want to have a drink post-film to discuss it at length? Near the Movie House, Dublin Road? The Marcus Ward is offering festival goers a 10% discount off drinks if you present your Belfast Film Festival ticket! Near the Queens Film Theatre? Molly’s Yard is offering festival goers a complimentary glass of wine or bottle of Hilden craft beer on presentation of their ticket!