21 Sep 2021
Thousands of TV show and movie scenes have been filmed in Belfast, but now the city itself is one of the stars in a new drama by Hollywood A-lister, Sir Kenneth Branagh.
Belfast simply rocks as a film destination. With multiple A-list actors regularly flying in and out, over the last decade or so the city has built a reputation as a go-to place for all things small and silver screen.
Whether it's Game of Thrones®, Bloodlands, Line of Duty, The Fall or Derry Girls, sometimes it can be hard to move around Belfast without stumbling across a TV show in the middle of filming.
It’s the same for movies, with the likes of Dracula Untold, Miss Julie and Zoo among the portfolio of films completed in the city, with those currently in production including Northman starring Nicole Kidman and the Netflix fantasy film The School for Good and Evil starring Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington.
Now the capital of Northern Ireland is getting its own cinematic tribute at the hands of Sir Kenneth Branagh, the acclaimed actor and director who was born In Belfast and where he spent his early years.
The young Branagh moved with his family to England to get away from the Troubles, but he still considers the city as home.
Harland & Wolff, Belfast
Belfast tells the story of ‘Buddy’, one boy’s childhood amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960s. Written and directed by Branagh, it stars Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, Ciaran Hinds and local newcomer, 10-year-old Jude Hill.
Best known for starring in Fifty Shades of Grey and The Fall, Northern Ireland-born Jamie Dornan plays Buddy’s father ‘Pa’ in the film. He said Branagh’s story resonated with him and he felt that it was an important one to tell. Speaking to Variety he said: “I felt that I knew Pa, I know men like that. My father was a man like that, his father before him was a man like that.”
Amid mounting excitement for the film’s release, the trailer for the upcoming drama has been unveiled. The mainly black and white teaser is accompanied by the announcement that Belfast will be shown in cinemas from November 12.
The Focus Features movie is mostly shot in black and white but opens with coloured views of famous Belfast landmarks, including the twin shipyard cranes Samson and Goliath and the former Harland & Wolff headquarters, once the control centre for the largest shipyard in the world.
There are also aerial shots of a street of terraced houses and one of the famous Belfast murals, with the trailer ending on panoramic views of the city from the top Cave Hill, which also overlooks Belfast Lough.
Branagh’s most personal film to date, Belfast is described as a must-see poignant story of love, laughter and loss. The film has already earned rave reviews, and having received a raucous standing ovation at Toronto Film Festival many are already tipping it as a strong contender in the Oscars next March.
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