The new release, The Carer, starring the magnificent Brian Cox as an ageing acting legend, brought the 25th Chichester International Film Festival to a close on August 28, the Anglo-Hungarian film introduced by co-writer/associate producer Tom Kinninmont (After Alice). Kinninmont was one of the 37 festival guests during the 18-day festival alongside directors Jim Gillespie (Take Down); Simon Dixon (Tiger Raid); Capsule (Andrew Martin); Tony Palmer (The Beatles and WWII); Kevin Short (Speed Love), accompanied by actor Elaine Paige; Tony Britten (Chick Lit) with lead actor Christian McKay; producers Alistair Audsley (Leni Leni); Paramita Banerjee (Bridge); composer Carl Davis and other talent.
The 25th Film Festival, with a remarkable rise in attendances following on last year’s dramatic increase, welcomed 6,300 to 155 films and 180 performances screened including 50+ premieres, previews, new releases as well as two open air screenings (Finding Dory, Calamity Jane) and, a first for West Sussex, a Drive-In (Casablanca) with large attendances.
Roger Gibson, artistic director commented: "I was overwhelmed and delighted by so many positive comments to our 25th Festival. Considering there was risk taking in presenting a programme that included such diversity as Iranian and Chinese Cinema alongside a major Tarkovsky seven-film tribute and partnership with the Institut Français with outstanding unreleased, new French films, it was most gratifying that this has been our most successful Festival to date, confirming our largest on the South Coast status. My thanks go headline sponsors University of Chichester, The British Film Institute and other supporters."
Other film genres programmed joined European, American, World, twenty Low-Budget UK premieres - a new initiative - alongside archive and silent films, plus jazz, both live and on film; an Alan Rickman Retrospective and an homage to Ingrid Bergman. These joined the Animation category with four features and a programme of eleven shorts. Seven past Audience Awards films reflected some of the past 25 years’ winners.
Audience Award for Best Feature Film:
PATHS OF THE SOUL (China, Z. Yang)
Runners up: Memories (France, JP Rouve), The Carer (UK/Hungary, J. Edelenyi)
Audience Award for Best Independent Low-Budget Film:
BRIDGE (UK, Amit Ranjan Biswas)
Runners up: Speed Love (UK World Premiere, Kevin Short); Journey to the Mother (Russia)
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature Film:
TUBBY: A MAN IN A HURRY (UK, Lee Cogswell)
Runners up: The Killing$ of Tony Blair (UK, George Galloway), The Beatles and WWII (UK, Tony Palmer)
Audience Award for Best Animation:
MURDEROUS TALES (Czech Rep. J. Bubenicek))
Runners up: The Magic Train China, J. Chang), Reveries of a Solitary Walker (Italy, P. Gaudio))
The festival opened with a special preview of Pedro Almodȯvar’s Julieta. Other films high on the voting list included Captain Fantastic ((USA), Poland’s Carte Blanche, SK1 (France), The Clan (Argentina); Shoes (Iran); Capsule (UK) and Around China with a Movie Camera (UK BFI Archive) all UK Premieres, Previews or New Releases. Woody Allen’s latest, Café Society, this year’s Preview Surprise Film on August 25, is not released in the UK until September 2.
This year’s festival had a strong emphasis on music including live organ played by Ben Hall for FW Murnau’s Classic 1926 film, Faust, at St. John’s Chapel, Chichester and Carl Davis, score composer for Chaplin, Lloyd & Keaton, Three Geniuses of Silent Cinema who introduced his and their work.
Walter Francisco, the cinema’s general manager, also expressed delight at the festival’s outcome. ‘The festival demonstrates that, with quality films, Q & As, talks and other events, the festival appeals to an increasing number of people from even further afield.’ He thanked headline sponsor Chichester University and other sponsors for their support and ‘the seventy volunteers who usher and help in the bar and behind the scenes as well as the projectionists, the terrific box office, the New Park Centre’s teams and Dan Bullock of Real Burger Company for the exemplary catering.
‘We were also very happy to have the Roundhill Picture Palace, the 13-seater cinema at the entrance to the cinema, continues to be a real talking point as well as a further venue, a great asset to the film festival. Our thanks too go to St. John’s Chapel, Chichester Cathedral and Priory Park Fenwick’s Café.’
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