Thursday, 22 January 2015

Borderlines brings a festival of cinema to the countryside

The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Borderlines Film Festival is set to expand its horizons in 2015 as it launches the Festival of British Cinema at Hay-on-Wye during its opening weekend, Friday 27 February to Sunday 1 March. Previously run by the Screen at Hay volunteers, the festival takes place in various venues across Herefordshire, Shropshire and the Welsh Marches. 

The Festival of British Cinema will comprise 30 screenings, showcasing new independent cinema releases on preview alongside revisited classics and documentaries, with a strong helping of Welsh-made productions at four locations in the historic border town.

Events to look out for include a strand curated by director Ken Loach featuring the three British films that have influenced him the most. Other highlights are a strand of films by Australian director, Rolf de Heer, (Charlie’s Country, Ten Canoes, The Tracker), all starring the Aboriginal actor, David Gulpilil who made his screen debut back in 1971 in Nic Roeg’s Walkabout. Adam Woodward, deputy rditor of Little White Lies magazine will introduce a screening of Charlie’s Country at The Courtyard, Hereford.

Along with the usual mix of the best of world cinema, documentaries and classics, Borderlines also offers the opportunity to see multi-award nominated films Birdman and Boyhood as well as the much-anticipated The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that reunites Dames Maggie Smith and Judy Dench with Bill Nighy and Dev Patel for more adventures at the very singular Indian hotel ‘for the Elderly and Beautiful’.

Still Life
Other confirmed guests for both the Festival of British Cinema and Borderlines include Uberto Pasolini, director of Still Life, starring Eddie Marsan as a council worker whose job is to track the next-of-kin of those who have died alone, Morgan Matthews, director of X+Y, starring Asa Butterfield as a gauche maths prodigy, Sinead Kirwan, producer of 1984 Miner’s Strike documentary Still the Enemy Within and Berwyn Rowlands, director of Cardiff’s Iris Prize Festival who will introduce a section of the best British LGBT shorts.

Uberto Pasolini, producer of The Full Monty, will present his latest release, Still Life, with Eddie Marsan.

Sight & Sound magazine will host a discussion on the state of British cinema at Hay Castle. The Picturehouse will bring its refurbished Mobile Cinema, which seats 100, to the town centre for two days of screenings.

Borderlines the UK’s largest rural film festival and the fourth largest film festival in England, after London, Leeds and the East End Film Festivals. Based in the isolated Welsh Marches, it was attended by 19,000 in 2014.

A Cottage on Dartmoor
In 2015 the event will feature 100 films and events in 230 screenings over 17 days in 30 locations across four counties: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Powys and Worcestershire. Venues vary from a contemporary steel and glass arts centre to a 12th Century Gothic church, a 1930s Art Deco cinema, a Victorian chapel converted into a community cinema, a 48-seat boutique cinema adjacent to a bookshop, two 19th century assembly rooms and numerous village halls.

Previews, films shown prior to general release, continue to play a prominent role in the festival line-up, programmed for the third year running by the Independent Cinema Office’s David Sin. The total number of previews, yet to be confirmed, is likely to exceed 16, an impressive amount for a non-metropolitan film festival.

Festival director Naomi Vera-Sanso said: “The opportunity to reinvigorate the Festival of British Cinema represents a welcome challenge that will complement and enhance our existing film festival programme. Our audiences have responded with ever-increasing enthusiasm to the widening selection of titles that we have been able to provide. For nearly three weeks each year they relish being at the cutting edge of what’s going on in cinema and, from their rural vantage point, watching films that the rest of the country will not be able to see for several months.”

Other highlights for Borderlines 2015 are a compilation of the films that have won the major European Film Awards in 2014: Winter Sleep (Palme D’Or, Cannes), A Pigeon That Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Golden Lion, Venice), Black Coal, Thin Ice (Golden Bear, Berlin), Leviathan (Official Competition, BFI London FF), The Tribe (Sutherland Award, BFI London Film Festival) and Whiplash (Sundance), as well as a mini-retrospective of the Australian director Rolf de Heer (Charlie’s Country, Ten Canoes, The Tracker), supported by Little White Lies Magazine.

Festival patron, Radio 4’s The Film Programme presenter Francine Stock continues her alternative exploration of French Cinema by focusing on four of its heroines: Danielle Darrieux (Madame de...), Jeanne Moreau (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud), Nathalie Baye, (La Fleur du Mal, Sauve Qui Peut), Sylvie Testud (Lourdes).


Open Bethlehem
The festival will also screening three films by Palestinian filmmakers selected by Annemarie Jacir (When I Saw You, Salt of this Sea) –  the Oscar-nominated Omar by Hany Abu-Assad, Villa Touma, directed by Suha Arraf, and Open Bethlehem by Leila Sansour. Both Annemarie Jacir and Leila Sansour will discuss the films alongside their influences, inspirations and the latest trends in Palestinian filmmaking. This compilation is delivered in association with the Bristol Palestine Film Festival as part of the BFI-funded project called Conversations About Cinema: Impact of Conflict, an ongoing strand exploring the repercussions of conflict and the multiple ways this has been presented in film.

Invited guests to Borderlines are directors Ken Loach, John Madden (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Saul Dibb (Suite Française), Uberto Pasolini (Still Life), Morgan Matthews (X+Y), Palestinian filmmakers Leila Sansour and Annemarie Jacir, actor Toby Jones, production designer Maria Djurkovic and Ian Christie, Professor of Film and Media History, Birkbeck, University of London.

While We're Young to open Glasgow Film Festival

While We're Young
Noah Baumbach’s While We're Young, which stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, will be the opening gala at the Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) on 18 February.

The 11th edition of the festival runs will host 11 world premieres, 33 UK premiers and 10 European premiers between 18 February and when it closes on 1 March with a screening of Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure, which won the jury prize at Cannes.

Festival co-director Allan Hunter said: “It is a festival filled with people and places close to home but also one that embraces a diverse, wonderful world of cinema, perfectly illustrated by our opening and closing galas.”

The festival is also launching its first feature film prize. The Audience Award will see people vote on a selection of 10 films by first and second-time directors. GFF co-director Allison Gardner said the shortlist for the Audience Award for films from new directors had, by accident, achieved a 50/50 gender-balance.

She said: “But the fact that it happened anyway speaks to the increasingly large number of female directors finding ways to make brilliant, innovative cinema, and is we hope a really positive sign that the historic imbalance in the industry is changing.”

The film festival programme comprises 174 events which is slimmer than last year’s due to the refurbishment of Cineworld in Renfrew Street. The GFF is stagoong several pop-up events, including film screenings at Queen’s Cross, the only church designed by the architect Charles Rennie Macintosh. The building, now a popular wedding venue, will screen Love is All, a history of romance in the movies. Soprano Layla Brown will sing love songs associated with the movies.

The Trades Hall will be the venue for a murder mystery party to accompany a showing of Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express, starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. The Drygate brewery will host events including becoming a 1970s roller disco for a be-wheeled screening of Dazed and Confused.

The Gallery of Modern Art will host the Scottish premiere of the Internet Cat Video Festival. Indie rock band British Sea Power will perform its live score for Oenny Woolcock’s archival documentary From The Sea To The Land Beyond at the O2 ABC, which used to be a cinema.  The comedian Paul Merton and pianist Neil Brand will paying a tribute to silent film star Buster Keaton.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Taken 3 holds UK top space for third week

Taken 3
The Liam Neeson action thriller Taken 3 held the top spot at the UK and Ireland box office for a second week, taking £3.3m.

Clint Eastwood's war drama American Sniper opened in second with £2.53m. The film, which stars Bradley Cooper, set a January box office records in the US over the weekend and was also nominated for six Oscars.

Two other films with Oscar nominations opened in the top 10. Whiplash, which is up for best picture, best supporting actor and three other awards, opened in seventh place. Wild, which earned Reese Witherspoon a best actress nomination and Laura Dern a supporting actress nomination, made its debut at nine.

North American box office: 16-18 January 2015
  1. Taken 3 - £3.29m
  2. American Sniper - £2.53m NEW
  3. The Theory of Everything - £2.33m
  4. Into the Woods - £1.99m
  5. Paddington - £0.94m
Source: FDA