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Brendan Fraser and Yaya DaCosta in 'Whole Lotta Sole'

New York-based, Belfast-born filmmaker Terry George, probably best known for his genocide-themed picture Hotel Rwanda, has a new picture screening at the Cannes Film Market this week.

George is breaking new ground with the film, titled Whole Lotta Sole, because it marks the first time he’s made a comedy.

The picture, which stars Brendan Fraser, is a crime caper set in Belfast. The filmmaker says: “I did want to show that I could do comedy, that I did have a softer side. I actually prefer people walking out of the cinema with a laugh and a smile rather than they feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders – so it was good to flex my muscles and try that.”

He maintains he also wanted to make a film that put a positive spin on Belfast, a city which was for a long time was routinely associated with the conflict in Northern Ireland. George says: “I wanted to capture that dark Belfast humor and also show the place, how it has evolved since the end of the Troubles and the peace process – but do it as a comedy.”

2012 is proving to be a good year for George. In February, he won an Oscar for his short film The Shore – also set in Northern Ireland – and the response to his new picture has been largely positive.

When it was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, one reviewer grumbled that the film was an “unfunny mess,” but the more influential entertainment industry trade publications described it as charming and engaging.

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By Tom Brook