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Caitriona Balfe as "Ma", Jamie Dornan as "Pa", Judi Dench as "Granny", Jude Hill as "Buddy", and Lewis McAskie as "Will" in director Kenneth Branagh's BELFAST
(L to R) Caitriona Balfe as “Ma”, Jamie Dornan as “Pa”, Judi Dench as “Granny”, Jude Hill as “Buddy”, and Lewis McAskie as “Will” in director Kenneth Branagh’s BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit : Rob Youngson / Focus Features

Director Kenneth Branagh and cast of Belfast will be honored with the Vanguard Award at the Palm Springs International Film Awards. The award is a group honor distinguishing a film’s cast and director in recognition of their collective work on an exceptional film project. The award will be presented to writer and director Kenneth Branagh and cast members Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and Jude Hill who are all expected to attend. The Film Awards will take place in-person on January 6, 2022 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, with the festival running through January 17, 2022.

“In Belfast Kenneth Branagh gives audiences a glimpse at his childhood in Northern Ireland during the period of conflict that started in the late 1960s. Despite the violence of the time, Branagh tells a heartwarming family tale with a magnificent ensemble performance by Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, and Jude Hill, making it one of the must-see films of the year,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “It is our honor to present the Vanguard Award to Belfast.”

Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Academy Award Best Picture winners Green Book and The Shape of Water and Best Picture nominees La La Land, Little Miss Sunshine and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Belfast joins this year’s previously announced honorees Jane Campion (Director of the Year Award), Jessica Chastain (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress), Penélope Cruz (International Star Award, Actress) and Kristen Stewart (Spotlight Award, Actress).

Belfast, written and directed by Kenneth Branagh,tells the poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960s. The Focus Features film stars Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, and introduces the ten-year old Jude Hill.

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