10 Jul 2023
The highly anticipated Chichester International Film Festival is set to return this August, captivating audiences with its outstanding programme of quality film screenings.
Celebrating its 31st year, the festival will run from 4 – 27 August, offering over 130 screenings that include exclusive premieres, open air events, silent films accompanied by live music, inspiring film talks and more. With an array of exciting events and notable guests, including Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, the much-anticipated Festival continues to solidify its position as the largest film festival in the region.
The festival will kick off with an Opening Gala on 10 August, officially opened by esteemed film producer Andrew Eaton (‘Rush’, ‘The Ipcress File’, ‘The Crown’, ‘Munich: The Edge of War’). This will be followed by the UK premiere of ‘Il Boemo’, a 2022 feature film about the life and career of the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček. This screening combined with Eaton’s presence and his extensive experience and contributions to the world of cinema, sets the stage for an exciting and unforgettable Festival ahead.
A highlight of this year’s festival will include a special retrospective and film talk on the acclaimed Australian actress Cate Blanchett. Audiences will have the opportunity to appreciate Blanchett’s extraordinary and versatile talent through a curated selection of her notable works including her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in ‘The Aviator,’ her Oscar-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth I in ‘Elizabeth,’ and her captivating role in ‘Tár’. Blanchett will be a very special guest of the festival, taking part in a Q&A led by film writer and historian Pamela Hutchinson and Festival Director Roger Gibson, following the screening of Todd Field’s ‘Tár’ on 21 August.
This year’s festival also includes the first ever retrospective on award-winning British actor Hugh Bonneville. On 20 August, the Sussex-based actor will attend the festival to give an introduction to his film ‘To Olivia’ where he plays the role of Roald Dahl followed by a Q&A after the screening.
Other retrospectives in the programme will pay homage to the pioneer of the French New Wave film movement, Jean-Luc Goddard as well as filmmaker Lindsay Anderson and the 150th anniversary of Russian composer, Rachmaninoff.
This year’s Chichester International Film Festival proudly presents several world and UK premieres, showcasing ground-breaking films that highlight relevant and thought-provoking topics. One such premiere is ‘I’m Still Here,’ a powerful documentary that explores the issue of homelessness during the pandemic. Conceived, directed, and filmed by filmmaker Franc Vissers and writer, actor and presenter Elizabeth Healey, the film captures the raw realities and personal stories of individuals experiencing homelessness. There will also be a Q&A with Vissers, Healey and Elizabeth McGovern, acclaimed actress and star of ‘Downton Abbey,’ who is executive producer of the film. All future profits of the film will go to the charity, Under One Sky and the main protagonists featured in the documentary.
Mikkel Juel Iversen, Under One Sky founder comments: “That Under One Sky’s efforts to save lives on the streets of London during Covid-19 would end up on the big screen with a world premiere at Chichester Film Festival is the stuff of dreams”.
Other UK premieres include ‘The Trouble with Jessica’ including an introduction and Q&A with the director, Matt Winn as well as ‘And Then Come the Nightjars’ followed by a Q&A with lead actors Nigel Hastings and David Fielder.
Cinema Under the Stars
This year’s Film Festival once again invites film lovers to immerse themselves in the magic of cinema under the stars at Priory Park for the much-loved Open Air Screenings on 4, 5 and 6 August. Set against the stunning backdrop of the picturesque park, audiences can enjoy Wes Anderson’s visually stunning ‘Asteroid City,’ the thrilling adventure of ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,’ and the heart-warming originality of Pixar’s ‘Elemental.’
Live Music & Film
A popular strand of the festival, there will be a selection of silent film screenings accompanied by live music at guest venues including St John’s Chapel and the historic Guildhall in Chichester. Jazz enthusiasts will also be treated to a spectacular fusion of film and music, with a special programme of jazz-themed screenings, celebrating the vibrant and soulful genre. This includes the documentary ‘Ronnie’s: A Night at Ronnie Scott’s’ featuring a live jazz gig, and ‘Buster Plays Buster’ with a jazz quartet playing live to a Buster Keaton film.
Fond Farewell to Festival Director
This year’s Festival holds significant meaning as Artistic Director and Programmer Roger Gibson will be retiring after the summer. Having played a pivotal role in launching and curating the festival since its inception, Gibson’s final year marks a poignant moment. To honour his extraordinary contributions to the festival, a series of screenings will be dedicated to showcasing some of his favourite films, which, as he himself emphasises, are not necessarily the most obvious films but rather personal favourites that have inspired and shaped his lifelong passion for cinema. The selection includes the animated epic ‘Fantasia’, the acclaimed jazz documentary ‘Jazz on a Summer’s Day’ and the scathing Hollywood satire ‘Sunset Boulevard’.
Walter Francisco, Cinema Director & Programmer, comments: “We are immensely grateful to Roger for curating an incredible finale to his tenure as Artistic Director of the Chichester International Film Festival. His passion and dedication to cinema have shaped the festival for 31 remarkable years. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Roger for his invaluable contributions.”
Chichester International Film Festival is supported by Film Hub South East and sponsored by Greenwood Wealth Solutions.