The director of Ira thriller Shadow Dancer knew he had made a film to be proud of when a former hunger striker told him the movie made him feel uncomfortable.

James Marsh admits he was nervous about screening the film in Belfast, Northern Ireland because he wasn't sure how locals who had been involved in the conflict between the Irish Republican Army and the British forces would react to the drama - but he needn't have worried.

He tells Wenn, "We took the film to the Belfast Film Festival and we were nervous about the reception for all kinds of reasons. But actually the film played very well there.

"What was remarkable was time has healed some things in that country. There's a generation growing up now who don't know about the troubles experienced there directly. Many of the people in the audience were involved in the conflict and they were surprisingly open and complimentary of the film. There was no hostility at all and I was really pleased that the film was accepted by the local audience.

"I met with a man after the screening who was a hunger striker for the cause and he said, 'The film has an atmosphere that I just recognise, and it made me feel very uncomfortable to be taken back again'.

"So I think we got a few things right to show what that conflict was like."

Marsh admits making the movie brought back memories of his youth in London and time he had spent in Belfast at the height of the Ira bombings - and he spent sleepless nights recalling the horrors of the dark days of the conflict.

He adds, "I'm from Cornwall (south west England) and there was no terrorist activity down there but I grew up half in London and was exposed to this conflict on pretty much a daily basis. It was exhausting and tiring when I was younger; it was never gonna end and now it has at least come to some much better situation than 15 years ago, when the film is set.

"I was in Belfast in the late 1980s and it was a really scary place to be. You witnessed a very conventional looking Victorian British city with tanks and armoured personnel carriers going down the high street, past chain stores I recognised from London."