Belfast opens with The Secret Life of Words
by Annika Pham
22/03/2006 - The 6th Belfast Film Festival (March 23-April 1) will open and close with two films shot exclusively in Northern Ireland. Tomorrow evening, Catalan director Isabel Coixet (see interview) will be attending the UK/Irish premiere of her latest film, The Secret Life of Words [trailer, film focus], winner of four Goya Awards. The film, about a severely burnt oil rig worker (Tim Robbins) who is being looked after by a taciturn nurse of Eastern European origin (Canada’s Sarah Polley), was shot in the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Northern Ireland.
Michael Bassett’s horror film Wilderness, shot in the Cavehill and Tollymore forest, will have its world premiere on the festival’s closing night (April 1). Attending the premiere will be actors Toby Kebbell (Dead Man’s Shoes.) and Karly Greene (from the Oscar nominated short film Everything in This Country), who play two of six young offenders sent away on a rehabilitation course on a remote island, who soon realise all is not what it seems. The film will also be discussed during a Masterclass with the director and producers from Ecosse Films, John McDonnell and Robert Bernstein.
In total, some 130 films from 25 countries will screen in Belfast over 10 days in the 16 different sections of the festival, which is supported by Orange. Among the UK premieres screening in the Gala section are Mark Hammond’s multi-racial gangster film Johnny Was, shot in Belfast in 2005, and Robert James and Chris Kelly’s GuinnessSize Me, a documentary by two local filmmakers who decided to find out what would happen if they consumed nothing but Guinness for a week.
Eighteen other films swill screen as part of the European Cinema section, including Eleven Men Out by Iceland’s Robert Douglas, The White Countess, by UK director James Ivory, Low Profile by Germany’s Christoph Hochhäuster and Time To Leave [trailer] by French filmmaker François Ozon.