The Cambridge Film Festival, the UK’s third longest-running film festival returns 3rd – 13th September 2015 for its 35th edition, at the Arts Picturehouse, the Light Cinema and other venues across Cambridge. One of the UK’s most prestigious and well-respected film festivals, 2015 also celebrates Festival Director Tony Jones’s 30th anniversary with the festival, which has been shaped by Tony’s passion and exceptional knowledge of cinema.
This year’s festival features specially selected screenings for everyone, from parents with babies to retirees, the programme offers a diverse mix of films of short and feature length spanning different genres including 7 World Premieres, 55 UK Premieres, with films from more than 30 countries, plus special guests and complementary events and workshops, all scheduled at convenient times and locations. The Cambridge Film Festival is operated by the charitable Cambridge Film Trust and funded by BFI Film Forever.
Movies on the Meadows launches the festival with the return of the biggest and best outdoor cinema experience over the bank holiday weekend event 29th-31st August, under the night sky at Grantchester Meadows, on the banks of the River Cam. As part of the Movies on the Meadows weekend, acclaimed A/V DJ duo, Addictive TV will perform a specially curated festival remix set of their ‘supercuts’ following the outdoor screening of Back To The Future on Sunday 30th August. Addictive TV will serve up a blend of cinema and electronic music, described by Paste Magazine as “a compelling pop culture audio/visual avalanche”. Prepare to be engulfed. Riverside Romance on Monday 31st August, will feature classic love stories; Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, Max Ophüls Letter From An Unknown Woman and Thomas Vinterberg’s recent adaptation of Far From The Madding Crowd, plus a special punt-side screening of Jean Renoir’s Partie de Campagne, on the river itself, with hampers, blankets and brollies!
We look to the heavens for Cambridge’s Opening Night Gala, Star*Men (3rd September). The film follows four exceptional UK astronomers, Donald Lynden-Bell FRS and Roger Griffin, both Cambridge educated and Wal Sargent FRS and Neville Woolf from Manchester University. Celebrating 50 years of work and friendship, the film follows them on a road trip to the South West States where they worked during the most exciting and productive periods in astronomy’s history. Alison Rose’s insightful film is a funny and humbling portrait of a lifetime’s friendship; recapturing youthful adventures and recounting influences which led to help building the world’s biggest observatories and making revolutionary discoveries about our evolving universe.
The Festival is delighted to welcome Dr. Brian May for a special 3D evening. Whilst he is best known as Queen’s guitarist and co-composer/arranger, he also is recognised for his interest in astronomy. Less known perhaps is his keen passion for stereoscopic photography; both as one of the world’s leading collectors and as a practitioner. He will come to talk about all things 3D with Dennis Pellerin, co-author of “Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell”, and to present their stereoscopic short film One Night in Hell and a curated compilation of restored 3D rarities (4th September). One Night in Hell is a devilishly spectacular 3D animated short that tells the story of one skeleton’s journey into stereoscopic hell. Following sold out screenings at MOMA – New York, Cambridge will premiere the UK premiere of 3D rarities, with material assembled and restored by the 3D Archive over the last 30 years. The screening features rare demonstration footage from the 20s, full colour 3D ‘New Dimensions’ first shown at the New York World’s Fair in 1940 and long lost movies from the 50s including a controversial anti-atomic testing film mysteriously pulled from its release in 1953.
This year there are a number of high profile artist commissions and programmes specially created for Cambridge. As previously mentioned the Festival will exclusively present BBC Arena at 40: Night and Day – The Arena Time Machine as a special closing night event. 2015 marks 40 years of the iconic, multi-award winning arts strand. Founded in 1975, Arena has won 9 BAFTA Awards and was voted by TV executives in Broadcast Magazine one of the top 50 most influential programmes of all time. Night and Day is Arena’s most ambitious project to date – a 24-hour continuous film marking the passage of day to night to day, exactly in sync with British summer time on the 13th to 14th September, made entirely from material from the Arena archive. This is truly a unique opportunity for a ‘one of a kind’ viewing experience.
Directed by series editor Anthony Wall (with Arena since 1978, first as a director and now celebrating his 30th anniversary as series editor) and film editor Emma Matthews, Night and Day is a portrait of the whole planet and its history since the dawn of film, featuring the most significant figures of our time in art and culture high and low, Nelson Mandela, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Harold Pinter, Luis Bunuel and Andy Warhol to name but a few. Material has been chosen from 600 episodes and from directors such as Jana Bokova, Nigel Finch, Mary Harron, Vikram Jayanti, Adam Low, James Marsh, Leslie Megahey, Volker Schlondorff, Martin Scorsese, Julien Temple, Leslie Woodhead, Alan Yentob, Mary Dickinson, Francis Hanly, Nicola Roberts, Paul Tickell, Nigel Williams and Anthony Wall. The festival will also screen Arena’s recent portrait of the Don’t Look Now director, Nicolas Roeg: It’s About Time (dir David Thompson) and the legendary Chelsea Hotel (directed by the late Nigel Finch).
Also festival regular Mark Cousins has created Scene by Scene – A Mash Up For The Love of Film specifically for Cambridge. A decade before The Story of Film, Cousins interviewed movie directors and actors about their craft for the BBC’s Scene by Scene. Running to 24 episodes the series featured a varied mix of interviewees from Roman Polanski to Jane Russell, Sean Connery to David Lynch and Martin Scorsese and Jeanne Moreau. The festival will also screen his latest film, Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise. 70 years ago the bombing of Hiroshima showed the destructive power of the atom and gave birth to the nuclear age. This bold documentary combines archive material, with a new score by Mogwai creating a kaleidoscope of our nuclear times, our atomic dreams and nightmares.
Moving image artists Brian and Gareth McClave’s will create a series of experimental images taken across the festival’s Movies on the Meadows weekend at Grantchester. Brothers Brian and Gareth McClave have collaborated on many innovative time-lapse projects over the years and together they run the UK’s leading industrial time-lapse filming company, Site-Eye. Capturing reality in a slow scanning motion across a scene, their photographic work is a new twist on the traditional long exposure, whereby moments of time do not merge together on top of each other but rather line up in sequence, in the same way as a line of words in a sentence, gaining meaning and insight when read from left to right. Their images will be exhibited at the Arts Picturehouse during the Festival.
Davy and Kristin McGuire’s award winning creative studio designs unique visual experiences through art installations and theatrical projects. Their hybrid art works are delicate filigree fantasies built with fragile materials, momentarily brought to life through digital projections and silent storytelling. Their intricate animated paper sculptures convey narrative drama in miniature. 35 years since his death, The Hitchcock Trilogy brings to life scenes recreated from 3 of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic films; The Birds, Rear Window and Psycho – Homage to Hitchcock. These exquisite installations will be at various Festival locations, luring audiences in to take a voyeuristic peek into Hitchcock’s world of terror and suspense.
The unique contribution of industrial music and experimental film to the UK’s underground culture of the 70s, 80s and 90s is explored in Dark Pictures – Industrial Music, Culture on Film. Thematically presenting work by Throbbing Gristle, Derek Jarman, Diamanda Galas, Jill Westwood, William Raban, Cordelia Swann and Brett Turnbull among others. Dark Pictures considers the roots of industrial culture in the squatting movement and 70s art scene which raised bold confrontational questions about materials, the body, politics, performance and the relationship between an artist and their audience. Engaging with the post-industrial sound and image landscape, Test Dept formed in London’s decaying Docklands in the early 80s. They made raw, visceral music out of repurposed scrap metal and machinery from derelict factories. They have recently re-emerged to engage with the current cultural and political climate and will present their new film DS30 at Cambridge.
From the great silent masterpieces of Victor Sjöström to the fertile visual imagination of award-winning Polish artist Lech Majewski this year’s edition, Cambridge’s largest, to date offers a range of eclectic cinema from across the world, including regular seasons Camera Catalonia and Contemporary German Cinema. The festival is delighted to welcome a number of filmmakers to present their work from across these programme strands.
A distinguished and leading light in both visual arts and filmmaking, Lech Majewski will present a retrospective of his films, including his Renaissance Triptych: The Garden of Earthly Delights; a highly erotic treatise on art, love and death based on the work of Hieronymus Bosch, The Mill and The Cross, a multi-layered visual tapestry, inspired by Pietr Bruegel’s Way To Calvary, starring Rutger Hauer and Charlotte Rampling and Onirica – Field of Dogs, a visionary romance and sumptuous exploration of loss and spiritual redemption, based on a contemporary reading of Dante.
An exciting Contemporary German Cinema strand in association with the Goethe-Institut and German Films brings together a host of acclaimed features and shorts including 2 world premieres and 8 UK premieres, offering a glimpse into the artistic diversity from current German Cinema. Rainer Werner Fassbinder would have turned 70 this year, Danish Director Christian Braad Thomsen’s intimate portrait of his friend, Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands features previously unseen interviews with the famous auteur. Marcin Malaszczak’s The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills is a unique exploration of female identity and womanhood set in Berlin and Poland, while Janina Herrhofer’s documentary, After Work is a curious investigation into people’s leisure activities.
Returning for a fourth year Camera Catalonia, in association with Institut Ramon Llull showcases the extraordinary and diverse talent developing in this nation within Spain, as it argues for full independence. Maria Ripoll’s Traces of Sandalwood, based on the popular novel by Asha Miró and Anna Soler-Pon is a cross-border romance, traveling between Mumbai and Barcelona. Silvia Munt’s The Marina Café, adapts the popular Catalan play. Set in a fishing village at the turn of the 20th Century, the parish is brought together on the eve of an impending wedding.
Highly regarded as a founding father of Swedish cinema Victor Sjöström made his reputation as a master of silent films. He worked in Hollywood as well as Sweden, directing masterpieces The Wind and The Scarlet Letter with Lillian Gish, and The Divine Woman with Greta Garbo and was also known as an actor, famously starring in fellow Swede, Ingmar Bergman’s award-winning Wild Strawberries. The festival screens new restorations of some of his most famous Swedish and English titles including; He Who Gets Slapped, The Wind, The Outlaw And His Wife, The Phantom Carriage, Under The Red Robe, and Wild Strawberries.
Cambridge is excited to be teaming up with the city’s newest multiplex cinema, the Light to present a significant portion of the Festival programme. This is the first time that the Festival has joined forces with the Light, who will be screening major titles from the programme as well as hosting a number of high profile events, including our special 3D evening with Brian May on 4th September. Two screens at the Light will be dedicated to Festival films for the full 11 days, including Lates@TheLight, a programme of late night thrills, presenting boundary pushing cult classics and fresh horror talent.
Lates@TheLight features new prints of 54: The Directors Cut; Mark Christopher’s cinematic monument to 70s hedonism, Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griifths’ terrifying big cat home invasion movie, Roar, Walerian Borowczyk’s wildly imaginative and erotic The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osborne, plus new horror titles rejuvenating the genre, with special previews of The Entity, The Hallow and Hellions. Alongside the Festival’s commitment to this exciting new venue, the Cambridge Film Trust is pleased to be working with the Light’s other venues around the UK, in a partnership which aims to bring new and varied content to audiences nationwide.
The Cambridge Family Film Festival returns with a mixture of much-loved film and television characters old and new, presented in a family-friendly environment. This year’s programme focuses on favourite characters from much-loved children’s books, including screenings of Mr Men, The Gruffalo, the original BBC TV Paddington Bear series, Harry Potter, Charlie and Lola and a Roald Dahl Day, plus Family Film Festival favourite, acclaimed musician, composer and broadcaster Neil Brand, returns with Keaton for Kids, a special show celebrating the magic deadpan of comic genius Buster Keaton including a live performance to Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.
The main features programme includes a host of world and UK premieres from around the world, highly anticipated titles, award-winning debuts and inspiring, hard-hitting documentary subjects.
Highlights include the UK premiere of Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep. Redford stars and directs in this tense and intelligent political thriller exploring the idealism of youth about an anti-Vietnam War militant attempting to escape his 60s radical past. Redford also stars in A Walk In The Woods, an adaptation of Bill Bryson’s 1998 travel memoir about his return to the US when he reacquainted himself with the land by undertaking a grueling 2200 mile hike. Taking Inspiration from Iranian filmmakers Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi, the World Premiere of, Dance Iranian Style blends documentary and fiction. A young Iranian girl is denied refuge by Dutch immigration. Living on the streets of Amsterdam as an illegal she strives to make a new life, a camera crew following her experiences make a decision to intervene. The UK premiere of Infinitely Polar Bear, the hilarious and heartbreaking semi-autobiographical directorial debut by screenwriter Maya Forbes (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), stars Mark Ruffalo as Cameron, a man with bipolar disorder, who is left to manage his kids when his wife goes to business school to secure the qualifications needed as the family’s main breadwinner.
There are also a number of fictional portraits of artists. Andrew Kötting’s new film, By Our Selves retraces the journey by 19th Century poet John Clare from Epping Forest to Northamptonshire accompanied by a straw bear. Starring Toby and Freddie Jones, the film has appearances from Iain Sinclair and Alan Moore. The festival are delighted to welcome Andrew Kötting for a special screening of his debut, Gallivant as part of Driving Visions, a short season of innovative British debut features and in conversation events with Chris Petit (Radio On) and Philip Ridley (The Reflecting Skin) and Jason Wood, author of Faber’s New British Cinema. Peter Greenaway’s latest film is a portrait of Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, following the auteur’s journey to Mexico in 1931 to film Que Viva Mexico. Greenaway uses Eisenstein’s iconic cinematic techniques to get closer to Eisenstein the man. From the team behind the hit CBBC series Horrible Histories comes family drama, Bill, an alternative and humorous retelling of the last years of William Shakespeare. Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini stars Willem Defoe as the great Italian poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, reconstructing the last day before his brutal murder.
In addition there are screenings of Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre, a witty biographical blend of comedy and pathos, starring John Turturro. 99 Homes starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern, reflects upon the current economic climate where the losses of the many are offset by the gains of the few. The new Kray Twins biopic, Legend stars Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy as the iconic East End gangsters, and Woody Allen’s philosophical thrillerIrrational Man stars Joaquin Phoenix as a philosophy professor who finds himself in an existential crisis when he enters into a relationship with one of his students (Emma Stone).
There is an 80% probability that the global population will reach 10 Billion by 2050. The UK premiere of 10 Billion – What’s On Your Plate? is a heated debate about food poverty, and the attempts to find a solution to world hunger with already overstretched resources. On this subject there is also the UK premiere of esteemed director Peter Webber and renowned scientist Stephen Emmett’s (Professor and Head of Computational Science at Microsoft Research in Cambridge) timely and urgent message, Ten Billion, highlighting various environmental issues around over population and the choices we are making about the planet as a species. The UK premiere of Land Grabbing gives an insight into the world of international agro-business; food export, bio fuels and land for profit, looking at both sides, the investors and their victims.
The UK premiere of Invisible Heroes tells the story of the 2800 North Americans who volunteered to defend the Republic of Spain in the Spanish Civil War. Few people know that many of these men were African Americans. Invisible Heroes is fascinating documentary about the fight for democracy and for the civil rights denied in their own country. The ‘collective spirit’ of cinema in the Weimar Republic is explored in Rüdiger Suchsland’s award winning From Caligari to Hitler, based on celebrated sociologist Siegfried Kracauer’s seminal book. Michael Nyman’s War Work: 8 Songs With Film described as ‘a musical and visual fresco’ commemorates the WW1 Centenary, combining a Michael Nyman score for an innovative song cycle alongside the texts of WW1 poets, archive film extracts and musical motifs from the period.
Short Fusion, brings together the best short films from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, South Korea, Japan, Israel and the US, thematically linked by: Secrets, Space & Oddity, Childhood, Love & Death and motion. The shortlist was selected from over 600 submissions.
CFF Closing Night Gala is the UK premiere of Palio, Cosima Spender’s enthralling documentary, capturing the intensity of world’s oldest horse race, the Palio, in Sienna. Focusing on the competition between a young, aspiring outsider and the controversial, older existing champion, both riders are keen to win the dangerous but lucrative race. Described by the New York Times as “Rocky on Horseback”, this beautifully shot film from the producers of Senna depicts their passionate and dramatic battle as a cinematic tale of Italian life in microcosm.