NOT since Rihanna found love in a hopeless place has the New Lodge been the feature of global attention. A new UK/Ireland/Belgium film, The Flats, directed by  Alessandria Celesia, is having its world premier in Copenhagen in March.

The documentary is set in the historic North Belfast district, where Joe re-enacts memories from his Troubles childhood, joined by his neighbours Jolene, Sean, Angie and others.

It is one of twelve international films selected by the film festival and is billed as "An aging man on an existential mission confronts the ghost of the past." It uses archive footage and reports say that Celesia conjures up a place where the past never really leaves us. Is that not just Belfast anyway? 

It begs the question in such  a traumatised society such as ours: 'Will it help others understand us, or will it retraumatise those who experienced it?' What are the ethical considerations when we are still only starting to understand the amount of trauma in our society in Belfast? I remember once going to see documentary during the Belfast Film Festival which contained film footage shot in Ardoyne. The people who attended were left hanging afterwards, with no signpost to support or ways to process their resurfaced trauma.

Why do so many films made locally premier in other countries? It's because in the global film market the more film festival selections you get and awards you win, the more chances of the film being picked up by a bigger distributor. That's precisely what happened to the new Kneecap film at Sundance. It also gives everyone involved in the film an added boost to their CV. One of the producers is John Mcllduff of Dumbworld, the multidisciplinary creative production company. John's also the creative lead on Belfast 2024. So, like other local films before, we'll get to see this eventually.

The  12-foot puppet Amal is coming to Belfast in May. It was made by the Handspring Puppet Company and has become a symbol of hope, compassion and human rights wherever she goes.

Amal is a symbol of displaced people and in particular children who are separated from their families and looking for a new home. She will come to Belfast by boat, arriving at the Titanic Slipway; spend the night in a cathedral; meet migrant communities at Belfast City Hall; walk the peace walls with children from both sides; a Big Lunch will be hosted by the Eden Project  in her honour.

Some events will be ticketed and information on how to get yours will be made public soon. The event has been made possible by ArtsEkta. We look forward to seeing Amal in the city and  know that she will be a draw, focusing our attention on this important global issue.

Belfast 2024 is creeping into view – a mammoth task for all involved. There's an information day on Thursday, February 29 from 2pm in Belfast City Council's community space, 2 Royal Avenue. I recommend you go there and have a look at the projects that have been commissioned and see what's on offer. Community participation is key.

Belfast Tradfest has been a lovely experience at Ulster University. I've been attending the singing  workshops with Niamh Farrell. The time goes quickly and while I now know a good song about the plough being taken over by the tractor, I was wondering if an update of the song would be the tractor being taken over by a robot?