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Northern Ireland news

George Best biopic to be premiered as part of Belfast Film Festival

Manchester United footballer George Best celebrates the opening of his fashion boutique with a few glasses of champagne on September 14, 1967  
Jennifer Maloney

A NEW biopic on footballing icon George Best is to be premiered in his hometown as part of the Belfast Film Festival.

George Best: All By Himself, made by the team behind the Bobby Sands: 66 Days, will be shown in Belfast and Dublin ahead of Irish cinema release on February 24.

Best, from the Cregagh estate in east Belfast, remains one of the world's most naturally gifted footballers.

He died on November 25, 2005 aged 59 from illness at a London clinic after battling alcholism for most of his adult life.

Famously called the ‘best player in the world’ by Pelé, Best galvanised Manchester United’s five-year recovery from the tragedy of the Munich air crash in 1958.

His skill and exuberance inspired them to win league titles and the European Cup, even though he was little more than a teenager.

Tragically, his career in the upper echelons of sport was over before he turned 29, the result of his bruising battle with alcoholism and the crushing pressure of modern fame.

George Best: All By Himself was commissioned by the BBC and made by Fine Point Films, the team behind Bobby Sands: 66 Days. 

For George Best: All By Himself, producer John Battsek (2016’s Oscar-nominated Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, The Imposter, Project Nim) and director Daniel Gordon re-team after their acclaimed, Emmy-nominated ESPN Films’ documentary Hillsborough to deliver a heart-breaking portrait of one of the world’s truly great sporting talents. 

The film will have its Irish premiere in conjunction with the Belfast Film Festival on Thursday, February 16 in Movie House Dublin Road.  

This will be followed by a screening at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival on Saturday, February 18 in Cineworld Dublin.  

Director Daniel Gordon and producer Trevor Birney will attend both screenings and will take part in post-screening Q&A’s. 

The film will then go on general release in Ireland and the UK on Friday, February 24.  

The documentary which had its world premiere at the BFI London International Film Festival in October, was produced by Trevor Birney, John Battsek and Brendan J Byrne for Fine Point Films, Passion Pictures, VeryMuchSo Productions and ESPN Films, with support from Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Television.

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