The sun had set, the blue lights of the Lagan Weir shone brightly and we stepped onto the boat. We headed down below deck into a blue/purple glow, in there were benches lining the walls and 3 rows of bean bags strewn across the floor with a big screen the size of the rooms width at the front. Everyone settled themselves in and got comfy. After a quick briefing about the location of life rafts and life jackets, the engine started, the screen came on, the snacks came out and our floating cinema headed out into our very own Lake Placid - the channel of the River Lagan connecting to Belfast Lough.
Yep, we managed to make it to the 'Big Fish' in time to take in another of the 10th Belfast Film Festival's events. This time, as mentioned in the post about the disappointing Queens Film Theatre Quiz, it was a showing of Lake Placid on a boat, in the dark on Wednesday night. We had high hopes and it didn't disappoint. How could it, we were on a boat! (link warning - explicit lyrics)
We had all met by the river after passing by the few hours after work in our own ways. I had intended to go to see a movie but through either my fault or the websites, the showing/movie didn't exist so I then resorted to having a look around the shops, loitering in Starbucks (which for me, as someone who doesn't like coffee or the smell of it, isn't as fun as everyone else seems to think it is) and then when Norn Girl had headed off to her class, waited for her in the Kitchen Bar by Victoria Square with a pint of Guinness – much better!
The time flew by and it was soon time to make the short walk down past another Boat (of the building variety) which on a side note, from the outside almost seems complete now. It was all lit up with its big square frames surrounding its balconies.
We didn't have time to muse though as we didn't want to be late. So we scurried on and got to the 'Salmon of Knowledge' aka the 'Big Fish' in time to meet our friends and get in the queue. Boarding was quick once it was all ready to go and we made it into position ready to watch Lake Placid. Prior to going I could have sworn I'd seen it before but as it was I didn't remember any of the plot so maybe I was thinking of something else. I thought it was a great choice of film though, just the right amount of comedy and jumpy moments to make the tight but friendly environment of the boat the perfect location.
The Lagan Boat Companies' boat that we were in, chugged by alongside the docks and we passed by the Odyssey, the area the Titanic was launched from and the other cranes and buildings lining the docks in that area. Each was fairly brightly lit and we passed some big container vessels and other such maritime truckers who looked on into our wee boat looking a bit perplexed. Had they never seen a cinema boat before!
The noise from the engine was minimal and the sound from the speakers was great. The lights from the rest of the docks wasn't too bright, though at one time we did get glared a little by some floodlights on one of the container ships but that passed as quickly as it had found us. The screen was a decent size in the main part of the boat with a smaller but still big flat screen TV for those sitting/smoking outside.
All in all was great fun and so much more enjoyable than the quiz. Watching a movie rather than talking about them is looking a cert the way to go in this festival. Though the quiz wasn't my cup of tea, this certainly was and I'll be scouring the events listings next year and booking another cinema on a boat experience if they do it again!
We were kinda hoping that they'd start screening more films and make it a permanent thing - though we did realise there is the big question of how many movies there are that are focused about being in or on a lake, river or ocean? There must be quite a few... any good ones spring to mind?