BELFAST Cinema Intro + Q&A | TIFF 2021

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The team behind BELFAST in conversation with TIFF in advance of its premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, Caitríona Balfe, and Jamie Dornan star in Kenneth Branagh’s coming-of-age tale set amid the tumult of late-1960s Northern Ireland.

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9 to 18, 2021. For more, visit

In his three decades of filmmaking, Kenneth Branagh has ushered us into Henry V’s campaign at Agincourt, Thor’s celestial chambers on Asgard, and murderous intrigues aboard the Orient Express. Branagh’s latest work unfolds in a much more real-world and familiar setting for the prolific actor, writer, and director. Named after the city of his birth, BELFAST is Branagh’s most personal — and most affecting — film yet.

A coming-of-age drama set during the tumult of late-1960s Northern Ireland, the film follows young Buddy (Jude Hill) as he navigates a landscape of working-class struggle, sweeping cultural changes, and sectarian violence. Buddy dreams of a glamorous future that will whisk him far from the Troubles, but, in the meantime, he finds consolation in his charismatic Pa (Jamie Dornan) and Ma (Caitríona Balfe), and his spry, tale-spinning grandparents (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench).

Its story rooted in blood ties, BELFAST is also a family affair behind the scenes, as Branagh reunites with many long-time collaborators, such as production designer Jim Clay, director of photography Haris Zambarloukos, and editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle. Together they’ve crafted a film that is characteristically meticulous in its evocation of a particular place and time, while Branagh’s superb cast fill every scene with energy, idiosyncrasy, and heart.

Kenneth Branagh was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His many credits as director include Henry V (89), Much Ado About Nothing (93), Hamlet (96), As You Like It (06), Thor (11), Cinderella (15), and Murder on the Orient Express (17). Peter’s Friends (92), In the Bleak Midwinter (95), The Magic Flute (06), and Sleuth (07) all screened at the Festival. Belfast (21) is his latest film. .


32 thoughts on “BELFAST Cinema Intro + Q&A | TIFF 2021”
  1. Having left Ireland just when the 'troubles' began, the movie both broke my heart and made me laugh. But as many times I've tried to describe it, like Ken I can't get past the emotion and have to stop. Made with such love, by every one involved, this is a movie I will watch many more times 💕

  2. I have always admire and respect Sir Ken Branagh and this movie Belfast, is one of his best work. All the actors were brilliant and the soundtrack was incredible.

  3. This deserves to be said: Ironic that the single most theatrical moment in all these current film promo interviews is the moment they walk out masked … only to immediately remove their masks. True artifice, in the most transparently embarrassing, pathetic sense of the term. Hopefully someday a great filmmaker will produce a lacerating takedown of the lockdowns in a brilliant, revealing, unapologetically damning production of what was an insane, global madness – the whole socially, economically, culturally disastrous, life-UNaffirming, wasteful yet willful tragedy.

  4. God Kenneth is so sweet! You can tell that he still feels attachment to his hometown, as noticed when he breaks down crying when talking about writing the film.

  5. It's a shame Van Morrison never had the guts to actually play in Belfast during the hardest times of The Troubles. Rory Gallagher did, repeatedly. His performances at Ulster Hall are legendary as he brought people together, even as bombs went off around the area. Since the 70’s no other performer played Ulster Hall more than Rory. Perhaps Rory's music might have been more meaningful.

  6. I recall watching Sir Kenneth in Graham Reid’s “Billy” plays in the early 80’s which were also set in Belfast Sir Ken’s home town. Well worth a watch

  7. Beautiful film!! THANK YOU MIDDLEBURG FILM FESTIVAL for bringing this film to us here in Northern VA [ on behalf of the locals ; ) ], and hope the industry folks so enjoyed their time watching this. It was marvelous.

  8. Seeing Sir Kenneth cry made me tear up 🙁 he’s such a talented actor and filmmaker that I’ve admired since I was a kid, and I’m so happy to see him getting so much acclaim for his story. I can’t wait to see it!!!

  9. So happy to see Jamie Dornan'd career being where it's always meant to be. Hoping to be able to see this film at some point, but NOT in Italy, where all films are dubbed.

  10. I've been following Ken Branagh for years, always showing appreciation, humility and a sense of humor, but I've never seen him get emotional in public like this. I can't wait to see his movie!

  11. I’m so happy and privileged to have had the last question to Jamie and that it resonated with the audience! Thanks Cameron and to Jamie for your kind answer!

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