Over the wuthering hills, bypassing the metropolitan conurbation of Leeds is the UNESCO City of Film, is the multi-cultural Bradford. Home of the Bronte sisters, David Hockney and J.B. Priestly, for ten days in April (19-29) Bradford will host the 18th Bradford International Film Festival at the National Media Museum.
Full details of the films premiering during the 10 days of the festival remain under wraps until March, but the first announcement of the annual array of special guests has been revealed. Names include, star of Nil by Mouth and Sexy Beast and the recent adaptation of Great Expectations Ray Winstone, who will be taking part in a screen-talk retrospective of his 30 year career. Barbara Windsor, Carry On and Eastenders legend will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition for her contribution to cinema. Revered French filmmaker and screenwriter Olivier Assayas, who was also a member of the jury for the main competition at Cannes Film Festival in 2011, is being honoured with the Bradford International Film Festival Fellowship.
Recent past guests of the festival include John Hurt, Malcolm MacDowell, Terry Gillam, Ken Loach, Terence Davies, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Palin, Imelda Staunton and Julien Temple amongst others.
Adding a multimedia strand to the event, rockabilly and skiffle band The Dodge Brothers (one-fourth being one of the UK’s most prominent film critics, Mark Kermode) will perform a live-soundtrack to run alongside the 1928 silent film Beggars Of Life and Neil Brand, a renowned silent film piano accompanist on 21 April.
In partnership with Virgin Media for the first time, the festival will also be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Cinerama, a widescreen experience introduced in the 1950s. The Pictureville cinema in the National Media Museum is the only place outside the US to feature this cinematic format and is the perfect place to launch the celebrations.
By the year 2020, Bradford aims to build on their granted title of City of Film, creating an environment synonymous with film production, history and opportunity. Beating arguably more likely candidates such as Hollywood, Cannes and Mumbai to the title, the campaign aims to be the catalyst for regional, national and international recognition. The Bradford International Film Festival, Bradford Animation Festival and the Fantastic Film Weekend which has become one of the biggest celebrations of horror, sci-fi and fantasy TV and cinema all have a significant hand in Bradford’s continued regeneration.
Early bird ‘Film Lovers’ and Widescreen Weekend passes are available now from the BIFF website, as well as tickets for individual events and screenings which will be announced at a later date. A special offer to buy 5 tickets for the price of four is also offered, as well as concessions for membership holders, students and senior citizens.