Day of Celebration for Return of City’s Favourite Cinematic Son

Belfast is set to have a whirlwind day of cinematic celebration of one of its most illustrious sons as he returns to the city for a very special accolade

On Tuesday January 30, Sir Kenneth Branagh is being made a Freeman of the City of Belfast and there will be a Mini-Festival of Film in his honour plus very special screenings in schools across the city.

The ‘Branagh in Belfast’ programme of events will be delivered by Film Hub NI in partnership with Belfast City Council, Into Film and Cinemagic, and will be staged in venues across the city.

Fans of Sir Kenneth will also have the opportunity of being in the audience at a special ceremony in the Ulster Hall that evening, when the Belfast-born actor will officially receive the honour.

Some of the highlights of the Pop-Up Festival  include a Belfast Film Festival screening of cult Branagh gem In the Bleak Midwinter and My Week with Marilyn, showing in The Lyric Theatre.

Along with the pop up festival, Into Film and Cinemagic are coordinating a series of screenings in selected schools right across the city so children and young people can have an opportunity to enjoy some of Sir Kenneth’s work.

Community groups, schools and organisations across Belfast are also being encouraged to host their own Branagh-themed events as the city prepares to celebrate the achievements of one of the very great acting talents of our generation.

To this end, Film Hub NI has put together a set of help guides for organisations to screen films and share in the celebration

Hugh Odling-Smee of organisers Film Hub NI said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Belfast City Council to allow Film Hub NI members from across Belfast to pay tribute to the range, depth and excellence of Sir Kenneth Branagh’s film work. The wide variety of the films on offer demonstrate Branagh’s ability to deliver brilliant work both as a director and actor. That this world renowned artist comes from our streets and has nurtured and developed the artistic life of the city throughout his career should be celebrated and we’re delighted to assist the city in doing just that.”

Full Programme of ‘Branagh in Belfast’ Events:

Taking place right across the city, free screenings of some of Sir Kenneth’s impressive back catalogue of work will offer a great opportunity for the public to join in and celebrate one of the city’s most favourite sons.

12:50 PM Murder on the Orient Express (12A) (SOLD OUT)
Queen’s Film Theatre, 20 University Square, Belfast BT7 1PA

Dir: Kenneth Branagh, 2017

This star-studded adaptation (written by Michael Green) of the iconic Agatha Christie work sees Branagh as the legendary detective Hercule Poirot. The supporting cast includes Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley. Branagh also directs this classic mystery

1:30 PM Dunkirk (12A) – (SOLD OUT ) 
e3 Belfast Met, 398 Springfield Rd, Belfast BT12 7DU

Dir: Christopher Nolan, 2017

The film tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation, which took place at the beginning of World War II. Branagh plays a British Navy commander responsible for the lives of thousands of soldiers. This lavish production features an ensemble cast including Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, and Mark Rylance. The film has been acclaimed for the Hans Zimmer score as well as Nolan’s screenplay and direction.

2:30 PM  My Week With Marilyn (15)
Lyric Theatre (Naughton Studio), 55 Ridgeway St, Belfast BT9 5FB

Dir: Simon Curtis, 2011

Based on the diaries of Colin Clark (played here by Eddie Redmayne), My Week with Marilyn depicts Clark’s brief love affair with the world’s most famous woman, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Wiliams) The film focuses on a week during the shooting of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl; Branagh plays the director and star Laurence Olivier.

3:00 PM Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (PG)
Spectrum Centre, 331 Shankill Rd, Belfast BT13 3AA

Dir: Chris Columbus, 2002

As Harry Potter enters his second year at Hogwarts, danger comes to the school: the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. To save Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) will need magic, courage, and friendship. Richard Harris makes his final appearance as Dumbledore, while Branagh is memorable as the hilarious fraudster Gilderoy Lockhart.

3:30 PM Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (PG)
Belfast Castle, Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR

7:00 PM Rabbit-Proof Fence (PG)
An Culturlann, 216 Falls Rd, Belfast BT12 6AH 

Dir: Phillip Noyce

Molly, Daisy, and Gracie Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury and Laura Monaghan) are aboriginal children from Western Australia. Branagh plays the government-appointed ‘Protector of Western Australian Aborigines’, A. O. Neville. Neville, or ‘Mr Devil’ as the girls refer to him, orders the children to be taken from their families and placed in an institution. Here, they are to be re-educated as members of white Australia. The girls escape and begin an arduous journey home, following the rabbit-proof fence.  From a screenplay by Christine Olsen, based on the novel Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, by Doris Pilkington Garimara

7:00 PM Cinderella (U) (SOLD OUT)
Belfast Castle, Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR

Dir: Kenneth Branagh, 2015

Branagh directs this live-action version inspired by the fairytale and the 1950 Walt Disney animation, with a screenplay by Chris Weitz. Ella (Lily James) is a sweet and innocent girl mourning her mother’s death. When Ella’s father (Ben Chaplin) dies, too, she finds herself at the mercy of a cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett). Fortunately, an eccentric fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) is on hand.

7:00 PM In the Bleak Midwinter (15) with Belfast Film Festival
Rosemary Street Church,
41 Rosemary St, Belfast BT1 1QB

Kenneth Branagh, 1995

Branagh directs this rarely exhibited romantic comedy. A depressed actor (Michael Maloney) and his friends (Richard Briers, Hetta Charnley, Joan Collins, Nicholas Farrell, Mark Hadfield, Gerard Horan, Celia Imrie, Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha) stage a production of Hamlet on Christmas Eve, in an attempt to save the village church. Where better to watch this lovely small film than in a local church?

7:30 PM  Dead Again (15)
Carnegie/NI Foundation,  46 Oldpark Rd, Belfast BT14 6FR

Kenneth Branagh, 1991
A private detective (Branagh) is hired to help a mysterious amnesiac (Emma Thompson) who has lost her own identity, but is plagued by nightmares that seem to belong to a woman murdered years before. Branagh directs and stars in this stylish romantic thriller.

7:30 PM  Dunkirk (12A) (SOLD OUT)
HMS Caroline, Alexandra Dock, Queens Rd, Belfast BT3 9DT 

8:30 PM Henry V (12A)
Strand Arts Centre, 152-154 Holywood Rd, Belfast BT4 1NY

Dir: Kenneth Branagh, 1989

Director Branagh’s second film, this critically acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is also a moving historical drama. Set during the Hundred Years’ War, the young King Henry V of England – played by Branagh himself – sets out to conquer France. Branagh is supported here by a stellar cast including Paul Scofield, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Emma Thompson, Alec McCowen, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Brian Blessed, and Christian Bale.

31st January 
7.30 PM Dunkirk – HMS Caroline, Alexandra Dock, Queens Rd, Belfast BT3 9DT (SOLD OUT)

Along with the pop up festival, Into Film and Cinemagic are coordinating a series of screenings in selected schools right across the city so children and young people can have an opportunity to enjoy some of Sir Kenneth’s work.