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Cheltenham International Film Festival makes its debut

All Areas > Entertainment > Film

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 09:00

Mary Queen of Scots director Josie Rourke will be doing a Q&A during the festival Mary Queen of Scots director Josie Rourke will be doing a Q&A during the festival

Gloucestershire is packed to the brim with festivals, with Cheltenham arguably the ‘festival capital’ of the county.

The jazz, literature and science festivals all attract thousands of visitors every year – not to mention the Cheltenham Festival which brings in around 250,000 punters every March.

But if there’s one thing missing from the annual Cheltenham festivals roster, it’s a film festival.

And it’s something that Leslie Montgomery Sheldon noticed on a visit to the town 18 months ago.

“I was spending some time in Cheltenham and thought it was strange that there wasn’t a regular film festival,” he said.

“It’s home to so many high-profile events associated with the arts and it seemed as though film had just sort of been bypassed.

“So many towns and cities have a film festival and some people said I should think about setting one up. I put some ideas down on paper and got the ball rolling and here we are.”

The inaugural Cheltenham International Film Festival is now set to come to the town from Monday 27th May to Saturday 1st June, with a plethora of films, interviews, workshops and more for fans of cinema to enjoy.

Leslie, whose background in “all things media” helped him with the organising of the festival, explains the main themes of the six-day event.

He continued: “There’s going to be a focus on emerging filmmakers – we’ve got the best of emerging filmmakers who’ve submitted their films and a jury of highly-regarded film industry professionals to decide on the winners of awards.

“Then every year we shall pay tribute to great directors by screening their early films. This year, we are fortunate to be able to honour Mike Leigh who will attend the festival for the screening of two of his early films ‘Bleak Moments’ and ‘Nuts in May’.

“And we also have a country in focus which this year will be Poland. There’s a strong Polish community in Cheltenham and among others we’ll be welcoming Polish director Jan Komasa and screening his film ‘Suicide Room’ which deals with young people suicide and the impact of social media.”

Alongside Komasa and Leigh, other attendees include director of the 2018 period film ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Josie Rourke, actor Steven Berkoff of ‘Octopussy’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ fame, and local actress Emma Samms, star of Dynasty, who will be part of the competition judging panel.

There will also be workshops and panels with leading figures from the film industry on a wide range of film craft such as makeup, special effects, costume design, cinematography, composing music for film and screenwriting.

The Festival will be held in various venues around the town, including Cineworld, The Wilson, Parabola Arts Centre, The Frog and Fiddle and many more.

“Even though it’s our first year,” added Leslie, “we’ve already had comments from people saying how impressed they are with the line-up.”

For more information on the festival visit www.cheltfilm.com

Other Images

The festival will launch with a screening of 'Sometimes Always Never' starring Bill Nighy

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