Queen's Film Theatre
|Address||20 University Square
|Owner||Queen's University Belfast|
|Type||Art house; Indie; World Cinema|
|Capacity||Screen 1: 220
Screen 2: 88
The Queen's Film Theatre or QFT is a small independent cinema at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland that was founded in 1968. The QFT focuses mainly on art house, indie and world cinema and plays an important role in the cultural life of Belfast, in particular through contributions to events such as the Belfast Festival at Queen's, the Belfast Film Festival and the CineMagic Festival aimed at children. It also runs a programme of learning events aimed at school and university students as well as the wider community and includes talks, lectures and workshops.
The QFT is located on University Square and was extensively refurbished in 2004, sharing the building it occupies with the Brian Friel Theatre which is used for student drama teaching, rehearsals and performances and was opened in February 2009. The cinema has two screens with 220 and 88 seats respectively and is also the only cinema in Northern Ireland to have a licensed bar.
The QFT is part of the Europa Cinemas network containing more than 1,000 cinemas in 60 countries.
The QFT's origins date back to the 1930s when staff and students founded a number of societies linked to what is now the British Federation of Film Societies, which used the University's lecture halls to show films that were not widely screened in commercial cinemas. This resulted in the establishment of the Queen's University Belfast Film Society in 1951, which used the Whitla Hall for its screenings and led to the QFT's foundation in 1968. The Queen's Film Theatre forms part of the Culture and Arts Unit at the University which also includes the Belfast Festival at Queen's and the Naughton Gallery at Queen's.
Since the QFT was launched it has, like most independent cinemas, faced financial difficulties and problems with attracting funding over the years, however it has remained in operation apart from a short closure in 1972. The cinema is currently funded through a number of sources, including ticket sales; grants from the University, Belfast City Council and Northern Ireland Screen; private donations; as well as a number of commercial sponsors, with the current lead sponsor being Jameson Whiskey. In 1996 it presented a season of classic cinema to celebrate the Centenary of Cinema.
Michael Open was the cinema's director from 1968 until 2004, except for a three-year period during the mid-1970s when it was run by Robert Caldicott. Susan Picken now directs.
- Queen's University Belfast. "Brian Friel Centre for Theatre Research". Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Clarkson, L. A. (2004). A university in troubled times : Queen's Belfast, 1945 - 2000. Dublin [u.a.]: Four Courts Press. p. 173. ISBN 1-85182-862-1.