Oscar winner Jeremy Irons for Foyle Film Festival

Oscar winner Jeremy Irons is the star attraction at this year's Foyle Film Festival.
Oscar winner Jeremy Irons is the star attraction at this year's Foyle Film Festival.

Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons will be in Derry later this month for the annual Foyle Film Festival.

Irons, who won his Academy Award in 1990 playing accused murderer Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune”, will be in the city to present his new environmental documentary feature film, ‘Trashed’.

He will also take part in a post-screening discussion with students on the legacy of mankind’s destruction of the environment.

This year’s festival, which will run from November 18 to November 29, has ‘legacy’ as its central theme.

The curriculum-focused programme will explore how historical events such as the Holocaust, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and Martin Luther King’s iconic ‘I have a dream speech’ have been recorded and remembered.

Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental makes a welcome return to the festival with Emmy Award winning producer/director Gerry Gregg to introduce and discuss their new documentary “Close to Evil” which follows Tomi’s quest to find one of the SS guards who kept him captive.

Tomi’s remarkable and harrowing story will prompt students to explore the impact of the genocide on the wider society.

Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier of Sudan’s brutal civil war and now a critically acclaimed hip-hop artist, will screen and discuss, “War Child”, which recounts the story of his life through his words and music and feature remarkable film footage dating back to his childhood.

Bernie McLaughlin, Foyle Film Festival director, said: “This year’s extensive education programme was specially designed to encourage students to gain a deeper understanding of some of the darkest times in world history. Our guests will recount their experiences, lifting the events out of the history books and giving it a real-life context for students to explore and question. From the opening scenes of these films, students are transported everywhere from war-torn Sudan to the home of a former SS guard in Hamburg.”

Continuing the discussion on reporting and documenting conflict will be Mariane Pearl, author of “A Mighty Heart”, a work later transformed into a major Hollywood blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie. She will speak at the free ‘Teaching Divided Histories’ conference on November 18 and 19.

This year’s programme will encourage young people to get involved in practical hands-on workshops such as creating their own animations using iPads in the classroom or by designing T-shirts and posters for Anti-Bullying week in the Nerve Centre’s state-of-the-art Fab Lab, a fully kitted, high tech fabrication laboratory.

For post-primary art students, art historian Tim Marlow will deliver a special talk on ‘The Role Of Painting In The Digital Age’ while some of the best of Northern Ireland’s young artists will host an exhibition of their work at the Void Gallery.

Demand for the wide-range of screenings, workshops and special events is expected to be high and organisers are encouraging schools and colleges to register their interest well in advance. For further information, call the Festival box office at the Nerve Centre on Tel; 028 7126 0562.

The main Foyle Film Festival programme runs from Wednesday, November 20 to Friday, November 24 and further details will be announced soon on www.foylefilmfestival.org.