Film director Ken Loach to receive Belfast award

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Film director Ken Loach is to receive a special award as part of the Belfast Film Festival.

Next month, Loach – whose films include I, Daniel Blake and Kes – receives the Realta accolade for outstanding contribution to cinema.

He will also take part in a special Q&A.

The Festival will also welcome Bafta and Emmy winner Graham Linehan, co-writer of Father Ted and Black Books and writer and director of the IT Crowd.

He will also answer questions.

The festival kicks off on April 12 with the Lance Daly directed film BLACK 47 as the opening gala and continues through to 21 April.

Mark Cousins, Festival chair, said he wanted to make it more accessible.

He said: “We have so much potential to raise the profile locally and internationally and with energy and the right strategy, we can do it.”

It includes 178 features, short films and VR (virtual reality) titles from 30 countries.

Mr Cousins added: “As part of the festival we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Ken Loach to Belfast, to screen a selection of his film and TV work and present him with our award for his outstanding contribution to cinema.”

More than 20 films will have a “F” rating, denoting a piece directed, written or produced by a female or which has a strong female lead or storyline.

It follows the recent global movement to change the culture of how women are treated in the film industry and represented on-screen.

Michele Devlin, Festival director, said: “This year in the film industry there has been an upsurge of activism as a loud response to systemic sexual exploitation, race and class discrimination.

“We work hard to make sure that our festival continually reflects the changes that are happening in the global film industry and society.

“As a festival, we want to make sure that we give everyone a voice and a platform.

“This year we have introduced the ‘F’ rating throughout the programme which shines a spotlight on the role of women in film production. By doing this we want to make sure that we play our part in giving the overall campaign the attention it deserves.”

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