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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 21:00 GMT
City hosts Narnia movie premiere
Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton plays the White Witch
The magic ice land of Narnia has been recreated in Belfast for the Irish premiere of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The first Irish screening of the story by Belfast-born author CS Lewis is set to raise about 100,000 for Queen's University's new library.

The main building of Queen's was transformed into Narnia for a gala dinner afterwards.

Guests at the premiere included Irish President Mary McAleese.

Other guests included director Andrew Adamson, academy award-winning producer Mark Johnson, Walt Disney president Bob Iger and Queen's chancellor Senator George Mitchell.

"It gives me great pleasure that Queen's University and The Walt Disney Company have come together for this unique celebration," said Senator Mitchell.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The movie stars Georgie Henley and James McAvoy among others

"CS Lewis has inspired so many children throughout the world that it is appropriate the Irish film premiere of his much loved book be held in his home town."

The tables - costing 10,000 each - were snapped up long ago. The film's world premiere was in London.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were guests of honour at the premiere at London's Royal Albert Hall, which was made to resemble an ice palace for the event to match CS Lewis's classic tale.

Queen's University is paying tribute to Lewis by designing a special reading room in his honour in the tower of the new library.

The film's producers have provided the design of the wardrobe doors featured in the movie for use in the CS Lewis Reading Room.

Stars of the 62m Disney film include Tilda Swinton and James McAvoy. Liam Neeson voices the tale's central character Aslan the lion, while Ray Winstone and Dawn French provide the voices of Mr and Mrs Beaver.

The fantasy story follows the Pevensie children, who discover a wardrobe which is a gateway to the frozen magical land of Narnia.

Queen's was transformed for the premiere
Queen's was transformed for the premiere

Aine Gibbons of Queen's said it was "a remarkable achievement" for the university and for Belfast to have Disney stage a major film premiere in the city.

"We are delighted that Disney has chosen Queen's to be the beneficiary of the premiere. The event will be a marvellous opportunity to showcase all that is good about Northern Ireland," she said.

"Queen's is very proud of its links with CS Lewis and is delighted to be putting on a range of activities around the screening of the film."

Brendan McCaul of Buena Vista International said it was "particularly appropriate that our partner in this exciting venture is Queen's University Belfast".


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Scenes from the Narnia premiere



SEE ALSO:
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The secret of the wardrobe
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Potter faces Narnia fantasy challenge
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In pictures: Chronicles of Narnia
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