It is another eclectic month at Northern Ireland’s leading independent cinema as the QFT August programme offers an array of powerful hard hitting drama and documentaries, romantic love stories, Irish language films, disturbing psychological thrillers and family animations. In addition, August at QFT offers the chance for budding directors and producers of all ages to get behind the screens through two unique film initiatives.
Susan Picken, Head of QFT commented ‘There is something for everyone this month. It is always exciting to plan a programme that crosses so many film genres and our August programme is a great representation of the true diversity that QFT can offer cinema lovers in Belfast and beyond. Where else would you find animation, Irish language films, documentaries, dramas, workshops and new releases all under one roof?’
Highlight of the month has got to be a live satellite Q&A with true ‘Hitchcock Blonde’ Tippi Hedren, live from the stage of the BFI Southbank. Part of the BFI’s major season exploring The Genius of Hitchcock, this is an event not to be missed and will be followed by a screening of the classic Hitchcock thriller Marnie (Thurs 16th August).
For grown-up romantic drama, look no further than new release 360 (Fri 10th August – Thurs 23rd August) boasting a star studded cast inclduing Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins and Rachel Weisz. A dynamic and moving study of love in the 21st century from Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener), 360 follows the lives of a seemingly random range of characters whose stories and more connect. Continuing this tempo, new Irish release My Brothers (Fri 17th –Weds 22nd Aug) is the story of three young brothers’ epic quest to replace their dying father’s watch. Using a decrepit bread van, the brothers embark on a journey across the wild Irish landscape, their aim to get to an arcade machine in the small Irish seaside town of Ballybunion, where an identical watch resides.
A second new Irish release Shadow Dancer (Fri 24th August –Thurs 6th September) is one of a number of films in August that offer tougher, ‘grown-up’ story lines - powerfully delivered. This outstanding thriller from Oscar®-winning director James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim) tells a tale of impossible choices and devastating betrayal, with the Northern Ireland conflict as its backdrop. Continuing this grown-up theme is God Bless America ( Fri 3rd – Sun 5th August) where writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait skewers everything that's wrong with contemporary American culture in this firebomb satire about a disillusioned middle-aged man who embarks on a violent crime spree with a cynical teenage girl. Detachment (Fri 10th – Thurs 16th Aug) is the long awaited release from controversial director Tony Kaye (American History X). Adrien Brody delivers a superb performance as Henry Barthes - a substitute teacher who conveniently avoids any emotional connections by never staying anywhere long enough to form attachments. Echoing Tarantino and the Coen Brothers director Magnus Martens delivers an ultra-violent black comedy with his interpretation of the best selling crime author Jo Nesbo’s Jackpot (Fri 24- Thurs 30th Aug). Following hot on the heels of Headhunters, Jackpot has a mischievous plot that twists and turns right up until the final gunshot rings out.
On the documentary front, the powerful story telling continues as quirky music related stories unfold in Mission to Lars (Weds 15th – Thurs 16th August), the unbelievable-but-true Searching for Sugar Man (Fri 3rd – Thurs 9th August), and Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap (Tues 7th to Thurs 9th August). Whereas artistry and creativity are celebrated in two fascinating documentaries - Eames: The Architect and the Painter (Fri 10th August – Monday 13th August) and Al Weiwei: Never Sorry (Fri 17 August – Thursday 23rd August). And capping a standout month for documentaries there is a special preview of the jaw-dropping The Imposter (Sun 19th August), followed by a satellite Q&A with director Bart Layton, hosted by Jon Ronson.
QFT’s Second Sight programme of reissued classics in August provides two equally powerful and emotional films both dealing with the trials and tribulations of relationships. The stunning Red Desert (Friday 3rd August – Monday 6th August) is the great Italian auteur Antonioni’s first film in colour and now restored - tells the story of Giuliana (Monica Vitti), a young woman suffering a mental and emotional crisis and embarking tentatively on an affair. Woman in a Dressing Gown (Monday 6th August – Thursday 9th August) is a raw and progressive drama about a marriage in crisis directed by J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear). A 'Brief Encounter of the council flats' that is still as powerful today as the day it was released.
As the school holidays progress the QFT has a number of family friendly films and activities on offer in the month of August. Firstly, Le petit Nicolas (Sat 4th, Sun 5th and Tues 7th August) combines physical comedy, witty dialogue, frazzled grown-ups who behave like children and kids who attempt to deal with adult dilemmas. In addition, QFT’s special Animation Week (Fri 24th to Thurs 30th August) showcases a diverse and entertaining selection of animations as selected by Joel Simon, Director Flickerpix. The week will be packed full of feature films, shorts, family favourites, hands-on animation activities, plus a claymation Masterclass with Joel Simon whose newly commissioned animated short, Macropolis, which was commissioned as part of the London 2012 Festival will be screening throughout the week. To complete the family package for August, The Ulster Museum and QFT conclude their special film season to coincide with the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition (18 May-16 Sep) with a special screening of One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (Sun 26th August 2pm).
In collaboration with Féile An Droichead 2012, QFT will present special screenings of two landmark Irish language films –Mise Eire and Poitin (Sat 25th and Sun 26th August). Mise Eire was released in 1960 and was the first ever Irish feature film. Exploring the three decades of political change in Ireland leading up to the Easter Rising the film was directed by George Morrison and was a major success at the box office at the time.A piece of Irish film history, Poitín was the first feature film to be made entirely in Irish. Written and directed by Bob Quinn the film stars Cyril Cusack as a moonshiner in rural Connemara. On its first public airing on RTÉ on Saint Patrick’s Day 1979, Poitín created huge controversy.
Finally, for the chance to get behind the screen at QFT there are two exciting initiatives for budding directors and film-makers young and old. Firstly, Northern Ireland Screen is asking new directors to bring their short films for an open screening as part of the Short Steps process. The screening is a chance for directors to express an interest in participating in Short Steps. It is also an opportunity to screen new short films to an audience. In addition, QFT Learning is now recruiting young people (15-20 yrs) who are passionate about film to join the new Takeover Film project starting in September. To find out more visit www.takeoverfilm.com
For more information regarding screening times and bookings visit www.queensfilmtheatre.com