Good Vibes movie in the Cannes

By Francesca Ryan

C annes in France’s Cote d’Azur is a fair distance and several worlds away from the dark days of the Troubles in 1970s Belfast.

But it’s a film set in that era, which was screened at the famous Film Festival last week before it continues on the festival rounds across the globe, taking in Vienna and Toronto on the way.

The world première, however, takes place next week in – where else but – Belfast.

Good Vibrations is a biopic about the life of Belfast music scene veteran Terri Hooley.  The movie tells the life story of the famed record store-owner, who opened up shop at the height of the Troubles in ‘70s Belfast.

Actor Richard Dormer plays the role of Terri in the Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry-written movie, which is being screened on May 31 at the Ulster Hall to coincide with the building’s 150th birthday celebrations.

“It’s a movie about my life and the Good Vibrations record label and shop,” said Terri.  “It was made by the local production company Canderblinks and it was 10 years in the making.

“Glenn Patterson wrote the original script and I had a lot of input in it, it was finished by him and Colin Carberry.”

Terri’s life is well-documented, his Good Vibrations shop was a focal point for the punk movement here in the late 1970s and attracted many of the bands to the forefront of the punk music scene, including The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers.

A radical, rebel and music-lover, Terri discovered a compelling voice of resistance in the city’s nascent underground punk scene and became the leader of a motley band of kids and punks who joined him in his mission to create, as the Stiff Little Fingers called it, an alternative Ulster.

He did his job well and now he has become the star of the show with the release of the new movie.  The world premiere will be the first time Terri has seen the movie himself, but, he says, a few insiders have already given it a massive thumbs up.

“My story is fairly well known so I know what to expect but I still haven’t seen it, I was offered to view the rough cut but I didn’t go for it.

“I’m delighted with the calibre of those involved in it,” he continued.  “David Holmes is involved and has done the soundtrack, he loved doing it and I was delighted he was involved because he has won so many awards for his tremendous work.

“There is a lot of history here and everything is included in the movie, from The Undertones to me bringing the kids together when this place was having a nervous breakdown.

“They have taken it to Cannes and then its doing the festival rounds in the likes of Vienna and Toronto. It’s a bit scary that my life will be on show at these festivals but it’s exciting too.

“I believe they showed a clip at a music festival in Texas and it went down really well, they have also screened part of it to a group of 18 to 23 year olds in LA and it went down a storm,

“People in the film industry are already saying it is one of the best movies to come out of Northern Ireland, it’s fairly exciting so I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground.”

Terri has also received support from friends in the music industry, including Snow Patrol who helped with the shooting of the film by playing an acoustic set at the Ulster Hall to attract the crowds needed for the scene.

“A rough cut of the film was shown in London to interested parties and investors and I got a text from Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol saying it was amazing, Gary and the boys have been so supportive of this.”

In a recent interview, DJ to the stars David Holmes summed up the interest in the movie.

“A one-eyed man who opens up a record store on the most bombed and murderous mile in Belfast in 1978 and calls it Good Vibrations? What’s not to love about that?” he says.  “It’s actually a really universal story. It’s much deeper than just a music film. The emotion creeps up on you.”

But the universal story is also a personal one for Terri, who will have his own unique perspective on the screening next Thursday.

“Everybody loves a good story,” he says, “but I have bloody lived it!”

Good Vibrations will be shown at the Ulster Hall on Thursday May 31.

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