From Leintwardine in North Herefordshire up to Oswestry in North Shropshire, and from Ellesmere down to Ludlow, people have made considerable journeys to catch the film of their choice. One of the characteristics of Borderlines is the sheer variety of cinema experiences that it encompasses.
Malvern Theatres have joined the Borderlines family for the first time, and the trial run has proved a resounding success with audiences flocking to matinee and evening performances of Jackie and Lion, and then to register their opinions of what they have just seen through the rating and feedback channels that the Festival provides.
Ludlow Assembly Rooms ran a weekend film festival within Borderlines from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 March with a rich package of old and new films; from archive collections on Railways (a big draw for rail enthusiasts in the West Midlands) and Rural Life, and an airing of the ’60s cult classic Blow-Up, introduced by David Hemmings’ ghost-writer Peter Burden, to three previews and the UK premiere of Waiting For You, starring Merlin’s Colin Morgan and French star Fanny Ardant.
Two magical silent film screenings with live music took place at The Courtyard this week: Asta Nielsen’s 1921 Hamlet with Lillian Henley at the piano, and the 1916 social drama Shoes, with accompanist John Sweeney.
Hereford audiences have been effusive in their appreciation of what the Festival offers. Stephen Hopkins from south of the county commented, ‘The BFF is a wonderful, vital, enlivening, essential manifestation.’
And student Jack Miller said, ‘The Festival is brilliant once again! Glad to have a rural festival so close. As always end up basically living here for a film filled week.’
There are seven days of film festival still to relish – with superb movies from all over the world, many of them showing well before their UK release.
Must Sees include tender Finnish romance (in a boxing context) The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, Loving, both based on true stories and Personal Shopper, a film starring Twilight’s Kirsten Stewart from French director Olivier Assayas.
A new guest to the Festival has been announced; at The Courtyard Hereford on Sunday 12 March, Edson Burton from Bristol’s Come the Revolution will introduce the documentary I Am Not Your Negro based on James Baldwin’s final, unfinished book, as well as the Oscar Best Picture winner Moonlight, now virtually sold out.
Wednesday sees the announcement of the winner of the Festival’s Best Short Film competition for Breakthrough Talent, open to 16-24-year-olds, run in collaboration with The Rural Media Company. The four shortlisted films will be screened at the Future Filmmakers event at The Courtyard and the winner will go on stage to receive the £500 cash prize from the judges.
Pop-up events abound in the run-up to the final weekend of Borderlines. A huge industrial space above the restaurants at Hereford’s Old Market shopping complex will be transformed for three nights from Thursday 9 March when MASH Cinema takes it over for an audio-visual extravanza. Local and international artists will be projecting their work in the space, there will be short films by Hereford College of Arts students, and a retrospective of the late British animator, Run Wrake. The spectacle promises to be dazzling.
Down at the Left Bank in Hereford, members of the public are invited to contribute to an impromptu celebration of celluloid film. 35mm, 16mm, Standard and Super 8 projectors will be standing ready to screen whatever turns up on the evening (Thursday 9 March) at the venue’s Speakeasy Bar.
Last but not least, the Festival Party, a fund-raising event, welcomes cinema-lovers and supporters of this engaging local and national film festival. The venue is the Left Bank on Saturday 11 March. Mama Funk will provide live music, Beefy Boys burgers will be on hand, a red carpet provides the atmosphere. There will be dancing, a film score quiz with prizes and the riverside bar will be open till late. Tickets £10 are available from the Central Box Office or on the door.
The Film Festival runs through to Sunday 12 March. Tickets for remaining films and events are on sale through the Central Box Office at The Courtyard Hereford 01432 340555 or online from borderlinesfilmfestival.org.
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