City to host Branagh in Belfast film festival as part of Freedom celebrations


City to host Branagh in Belfast film festival as part of Freedom celebrations

Belfast hosted a pop up film festival in a day as part of celebrations to mark Sir Kenneth Branagh being made a Freeman of the City on Tuesday 30 January.

The ‘Branagh in Belfast’ programme of events was delivered in partnership with Film Hub NI and was staged in venues across the city.

Fans of Sir Kenneth will had the opportunity of being in the audience at a special ceremony in the Ulster Hall that evening, when the Belfast-born actor officially received the honour. Applications can be made online via the council website and free tickets were allocated to Belfast residents via computerised draw.

Some of the highlights of the pop-up festival included a screening of Cinderella at Belfast Castle, where the audience was encouraged to dress up as their favourite princess; and Dunkirk which was shown onboard the HMS Caroline.

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

Community groups, schools and organisations across Belfast were also encouraged to host their own Branagh-themed events as the city celebrated the achievements of one of the city’s most famous sons.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “Sir Kenneth Branagh is very proud of his Belfast roots and it was important to him, and to us as a council, that we marked this occasion by doing things a little bit differently, getting out into the community and involving as many people as possible; in particular, young people and aspiring young actors.

“We’ve worked with Film Hub NI to plan a series of special Branagh movie screenings across the city, and we would love to see schools and community groups getting on board to host their own events.”

Speaking back in October, Sir Kenneth described being made a Freeman as an “incredible honour from his home town”.

He added: “Belfast has always given me more than I could ever repay.

“It took great care of me til the age of 9. It gave me a profound sense of family, a magnificent landscape to play in, and a Belfast sense of humour that is a constant boisterous reminder to never take yourself too seriously.

“I’m proud to say that you can take the boy out of Belfast, but you can't take Belfast out of the boy.

“This is an incredible honour from my home town and I am humbled to be included in a roll call that includes artists like Van Morrison and Michael Longley.”

Film Hub NI have developed a #BranaghInBelfast toolkit to help groups or individuals plan and deliver their own event.

For more info, visit

More details on the ‘Branagh in Belfast’ programme can be found on the council website and follow the hashtag on Twitter to stay up to date #branaghinbelfast