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I Am Belfast cinema release and special programme of events

Date Posted: March 21, 2016

Mark Cousins’ I Am Belfast receives a UK-wide release on 8th April 2016 boosted by a programme of screenings and special events across Belfast and inspiring people across the UK through a special I Am… programme, designed to creatively engage people in all things magical about their home cities.

Made possible by Film Hub NI with support from the BFI’s Lottery funded Programme Development Fund, screenings of I Am Belfast will be supported by special events hosted by QFT (Belfast), BFI Southbank (London), Home (Manchester), Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle), Filmhouse (Edinburgh), Watershed (Bristol) and a special Hull-based screening.

Celebrated cinephile Mark Cousins writes and directs this dreamlike evocation of Belfast, beautifully shot by Christopher Doyle. Go on an emotional journey through the rich, complex and often tragic history of the Northern Irish capital – accompanied by a powerful soundtrack by DJ and film composer David Holmes. I am Belfast is backed by the BFI in development, production and distribution.

The release of I Am Belfast in Northern Ireland sees Film Hub NI celebrate the city of Belfast in a special way. From the 8th April, the QFT offers an enhanced programme of films inspired by Mark Cousins’ and Christopher Doyle’s celebration of colour in film. The programme of events will also offer people an opportunity to experience the city in a unique way, when Film Hub NI, QFT and the Black Box, invite the audiences of Belfast to go on a Sunday walk, inspired by locations in the film, on 10th April.

Spend time with the charismatic filmmaker himself, as the city is revealed through a series of surprises – such as the Ruby Murray soundbench, the gold wall (perfect for selfies!), Rosie and Maude’s favourite coffee shop and more. Finish up at a special celebratory party at the Black Box with music from David Holmes and Stuart Watson.

Cousins explains his relationship with the city:

“I lived in Belfast until I was eighteen. My sense of humour, and what moves me, comes from it. I moved away, travelled the world, loved and lost, but always felt like a Belfast boy. In my film I wanted to find out why the city had such a hold on me and so, over about 18 months, I walked every street, filming things I saw. My feet got sore, but my eyes opened. I wanted to capture bits of the city the media doesn’t show. I wanted a different song of the city, I think. I didn’t shirk the sad things, in fact I tried to dig into them, but I also wanted to film the colour, sound, femaleness, disjointedness and wildness of the place. Walking the streets gave me some honest documentary footage, and then we tried to add beauty to that – a six minute crane shot, a wall of gold, the beauty of Helena Bereen’s face, a Van Morrison song – because the city is all these things. You can see the valley of tears, but also the mountain top, in all cities. We’ve tried to show both in I am Belfast.”

Susan Picken, Head of QFT, said:

“I Am Belfast’ is a uniquely personal portrait of our city by one of our leading film talents. It perfectly captures Belfast’s beauty, humour and warmth as well as evoking the tensions and traumas of the city’s past. It offers a new way of looking at and thinking about the cities in which we live and in finding moments of magic in the midst of the everyday. We are delighted that Mark has allowed us to use his film as the inspiration for this truly exciting programme of events”

Alongside the QFT programme, Takeover Film will see the young people of the city create their own city film in response to I Am Belfast, Second Chance Cinema will showcase other short films inspired by the city of Belfast including work by local filmmakers and artists such as Seamus Harahan and Glass Eye Cine at the Maple Leaf Club in East Belfast will host screenings of films that inspired Mark in the making of I Am Belfast.

The I Am Belfast walking map will be available soon via and you too can share your videos, images, gifs and memes of the city on all social media platforms, joining the conversation with the rest of the UK via #MagicHere

Mark Cousins will present I Am Belfast and be in interview at:

  • 7th April – BFI Southbank, London
  • 8th April – HOME, Manchester
  • 10th April – QFT, Belfast
  • 11th April – Filmhouse, Edinburgh
  • 12th April – Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

For more details on the season of events please visit

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