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Sir Kenneth Branagh hails return of the big screen

Sir Kenneth Branagh at the 75th British Academy Film Awards (Ian West/PA)
Sir Kenneth Branagh at the 75th British Academy Film Awards (Ian West/PA)

Sir Kenneth Branagh has issued a plea for streaming services to exist alongside cinema, hailing the big screen as “alive” and asking the two to “live together”.

Belfast, a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by Sir Kenneth, took home the award for Outstanding British Film at the 75th Bafta ceremony on March 13.

The film follows Buddy, a young boy growing up in a working class family in Belfast during the Troubles.

While accepting the award, Sir Kenneth, 61, said: “Thank you to British cinema audiences for watching in tonnage a UK and Irish cinema film at UK and Ireland cinemas.

“All hail the streaming revolution but all hail the big screen too, it’s alive, and long may they live together.

Belfast-born Sir Kenneth also referenced the historic conflict in Northern Ireland that inspired the film, saying: “This is a black and white film about the Troubles, it was not an easy pitch but when the great talent in this room dreams up anything similarly unlikely to make or to finance, please remember if you build it, they will come.

“Build it with passion and truth and believe in the originality and uniqueness of your story and your voice and believe in the imagination of the public to embrace every and any kind of story well told.

“We are so proud to be included in this year’s films, they are all outstanding, thank you very much for being so kind to ours, we deeply appreciate it.”

Belfast has received seven Oscar nominations.

They include best picture, best director and best original screenplay along with best supporting actress for Dame Judi Dench and best supporting actor for Ciaran Hinds.

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