Welcome to the 26th Chichester International Film Festival!
Following our five and a half weeks shut down, many of our patrons are no doubt suffering withdrawal symptoms, now you can delight in selecting from almost 150 films in 18 days (plus the open-air events) from over 30 countries in our 5 separate screens. With the cinema being closed over so many weeks, the Festival has included a number of new releases from those 2 months which would have escaped a Chichester screening, so I have selected some of the plums including ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Maudie’, ‘Hampstead’, ‘The Other Side of Hope’, ‘Souvenir’, ‘Odyssey’ etc.
However over 40 of our new films are either UK premieres or previews, and we are especially delighted to welcome from abroad 3 directors to introduce/Q&A their films; Shubhashish Bhutiani from India (‘Hotel Salvation’ - described as an art version of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Michael Rosel from Germany (‘Dolores’ - an intriguing psychological drama with fantastic elements); Llewelyn Greeff from South Africa (‘Blood and Glory’ - echoes of Escape to Victory set in the Boer War - with rugby!). In addition, we welcome film makers of 7 UK films to introduce and discuss their work.
Direct from Cannes we are proud to have acquired early previews in Chichester of the controversial Palme d’Or winner ‘The Square’, and the popular hit at both Sundance and Cannes – ‘Patti Cake$’. At the other end of the film spectrum we are always keen to support independent film makers and present 17 mainly UK premieres of low budget films from around the world, divided into Feature and Documentary sections for which there are 2 Audience Awards, so please do not forget to vote - these film makers are anxious for your feedback.
This year we have 4 special live musical events with films including 2 masters of accompanying silent classics: John Sweeney returns for Eisenstein’s monumental classic ‘Oktober’, as part of the centenary of the Russian Revolution section: Stephen Horne accompanies Hitchcock’s creepy ‘The Lodger’ presented in St Johns Chapel, continuing our popular annual gothic theme with silent classics.
Buster plays Buster jazz group also returns with another Buster Keaton classic – ‘Steamboat Bill’, and finally we welcome Claire Martin and friends to present a live jazz tribute to the late great Bobby Wellins preceded by the documentary on his life and work. Almost ‘live’ we offer 3 wonderful operas recorded live for the Festival: Mozart’s ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’ from La Scalla: Puccini’s ‘La Bohème’ from Teatro Antico di Taormina ; and Verdi’s La Traviata directed by Sofia Coppola, and for art lovers, 3 new documentaries on Raphael, Botticelli and David Hockney.
We also pay tribute to the great Polish master Andrzej Wajda and British actor John Hurt, with 8 varied films including a preview of one on his last films ‘That Good Night’, introduced by director Eric Styles, plus an illustrated talk by director and personal friend of John’s, Don Boyd. We are continuing to explore more Eastern European cinema, with the 1917 Russian Revolution (with Ian Christie) and the underrated explosion on New Romanian Cinema of the past decade.
Other retrospectives include the work of the enigmatic Tilda Swinton and all these areas will be fully supported by illustrated talks. For those looking for off-mainstream fare, there is the opportunity again to savour the bizarre world of David Lynch, including his masterpiece ‘Blue Velvet’, with 2 more feature films and 2 documentaries. We are also delighted to be able to present a selective retrospective on the documentary work of producer/director Mick Csáky, now our local film maker, who will be on hand to introduce some of his work including a sneak preview of his latest production The Jazz Ambassadors’.
A new innovation this year will examine the relationship between pure cinema and TV series with Serial Boxes where complete episodes of Sherlock and SS-GB will be screened and discussed by producer Sally Woodward Gentle, screenwriter Robert Wade and critic Ian Haydn Smith. In an international Festival such as ours, the opportunity exists to experience films from countries that will never have a UK release, we hope you can take a chance and maybe explore some works that will never be seen again.
A tip. If you are an inveterate Festival Fan, nimble and energetic, you should be able to skip from main auditorium, to Picture Palace and to the Studio to fit in many films, as they are scheduled not to overlap and allow for short gaps between each screening. With thanks to all staff and volunteers.
, Artistic Director, July 2016