Celebrating Northern Irish Film at Scéal Eile
The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels and the UK Mission to the EU were happy to sponsor a night of film from Northern Ireland at the Irish Film Festival Belgium in Cinema Galeries on Wednesday 22 March.
To begin the event, audiences joined us for a Talking Movies Panel on ‘Beyond Brexit and Borders’, which brought together individuals from all aspects of the film sector (production, distribution, exhibition) to showcase to Brussels’ audiences the wonderful cinematic developments happening in Northern Ireland and to share reflections on some of the opportunities, challenges, and more symbolic aspects of what makes Northern Ireland’s screen industries so unique. The panel discussion included: Alison Millar (Director, Lyra), Michael Barwise (Producer, Hyfin), Nicola Lyons (Production Manager, NI screen), Sara Gunn-Smith (Regional Distributor, NI Film Hub) and Joan Parsons (Cinema Co-ordinator, QFT Belfast).
Following this, the screening of Lyra began, a documentary film, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-breaking, based on Northern Irish LGBTQ investigative journalist and writer Lyra McKee’s life, work and writings. In April 2019, Lyra was killed during a police raid in Derry/Londonderry. For many, her death was a throwback to the dark days of The Troubles, when sectarian tensions were high. In response to her death, award-winning filmmaker Alison Miller lovingly crafted this cinematic vigil, which honours Lyra’s life, militant spirit and contribution to the LGBTQ community. Watch the trailer here.
Audiences were then welcomed to a drinks reception, after which they were treated to a pre-programme short film Hyfin (2022) by Seán Mullan, before the screening of Wildfire began, which is Cathy Brady’s first film, a psychological drama full of suspense and mystery. Shot on the frontier amid the Brexit crisis, WildFire is a delicate character study that elegantly rhymes the personal with the political. The film explores the story of Kelly, who returns from a long absence to reunite with her sister, causing old ghosts stir in their sleepy border town. Doing their best to reconnect, the two sisters must deal with their own traumas, and come to terms with their own traumatic history as well as the tensions in their community. Watch the trailer here.