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On Tuesday 30 January, Belfast-born actor and Into Film Ambassador Sir Kenneth Branagh was made Freeman of Belfast. In honour of the occasion, a free ‘Branagh in Belfast' pop up film festival was set up by Belfast City Council and Film Hub Northern Ireland, while we organised for Sir Kenneth to visit to two local schools, where films directed by and/or starring Branagh were screened.
At the first school, Belfast Boys Model, Thor was shown to a full assembly of young people from several schools in Belfast. Branagh introduced the film, telling the audience that he first became aware of Thor as a child in Belfast when he saw the powerful superhero on the front cover of a comic book in his local sweet shop. When asked to direct the Marvel film 40 years on, he could still vividly picture the front of that comic, and jumped at the opportunity. He went on to share that he could only direct the lead actor Chris Hemsworth for 40 minutes before Chris would have to go and eat a whole chicken to maintain his Thor physique.
Branagh also visited Aquinas Grammar, where his Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing was screened. He took several questions from the audience, centred around how to get into the film industry, and advised them to follow their passion in film and theatre by joining film clubs, amateur dramatics and to never give up. He also informed the students that Belfast is an ideal place to get a career in film, with the city currently thriving in the film industry.
In addition to his school visits, Into Film Club schools across the city hosted their own Branagh events, with multiple screenings of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets taking place. Other highlights from the ‘Branagh in Belfast' programme included a screening of Cinderella at Belfast Castle, where the audience were encouraged to dress up as their favourite princess, and a screening of Dunkirk aboard the HMS Caroline. The activity culminated in Branagh's official honouring at a special ceremony in Ulster Hall.
We at Into Film would like to congratulate Kenneth Branagh on all his amazing work for Northern Ireland and the wider film community!
As part of our Shakespeare 400 celebrations, Into Film Ambassador and noted director Sir Kenneth Branagh joined us for a Q&A in Belfast. Watch highlights now.
Viewing time 3 mins
A selection of films for all ages exploring the vast world of Shakespeare on screen.
No. of films17
We're delighted to add the legendary Belfast-born actor, writer, and director to our ever-growing list of supporters.
Reading time 3 mins
Monumental full-length and unabridged version of the play in which Kenneth Branagh directs himself in the title role.
16+ years 232 mins
Energetic adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, where the young King Henry embarks on the conquest of France.
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