Foyle Film Festival presents Reel Lives 2024

Foyle Film Festival presents Reel Lives 2024

The 2024 season promises a lineup of screenings and events to engage and enlighten audiences from every walk of life.

Reel Lives delves deep into themes of diversity, inclusion, inequality, racism, LGBTQIA+, human rights and disability awareness, showcasing some of the year’s most critically acclaimed films.

The season kicks off with two eagerly anticipated preview screenings: Oscar®-nominated The Teacher’s Lounge, a gripping drama that explores the intricacies of racism, class and prejudice, and the Northern Ireland premiere of That They May Face the Rising Sun, an acclaimed adaptation of John McGahern’s final novel, nominated for eleven Irish Film and Television Academy awards.

This year’s programme also casts a spotlight on the themes of sisterhood within community and family through two contrasting films: Earth Mama by Savanah Leaf, a BAFTA-winning debut that tells the heart-wrenching story of a single mother's struggle against the foster-care system, and Four Daughters by Kaouther Ben Hania, an Oscar®-nominated film that weaves a narrative around family, loss and misunderstanding following a radical decision by two sisters to join IS in Syria.

A highlight of the season is the special appearance by award-winning Belfast-based producer Brendan J Byrne on 26 April at Nerve Centre. Brendan, who produced That They May Face the Rising Sun, will present his acclaimed documentary In the Shadow of Beirut. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to delve into a post-screening conversation about his distinguished career and insights into documentary filmmaking.

Reel Lives will showcase the essential role of Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive in preserving the stories of rural and isolated communities. This includes a screening of three community-focused shorts, followed by a discussion with Bronagh McAtasney, Northern Ireland Screen’s Outreach and Access Officer for the Digital Film Archive and Elspeth Vischer, Nerve Centre’s Project Coordinator for Northern Ireland Now project.

Further enriching the festival's diverse offerings, a new partnership with the Brighton-based Oska Bright Film Festival introduces a curated programme of shorts from their Queer Freedom strand, championing the creative voices of learning-disabled and autistic creatives. Nerve Centre, in collaboration with StoryFutures, will also offer an innovative selection of free VR short films that explore themes of identity and gender rights, complemented by a focus group discussion.

Cinematic Breakfasts make a welcome return, offering film lovers the chance to indulge in classic cinema alongside their morning coffee and croissant. This season’s selection includes a 4K restoration of the James Dean classic East of Eden, Cary Grant’s Arsenic & Old Lace and the iconic Hitchcock thriller Dial M for Murder, starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland.

For more information on the programme, tickets and event details visit