One of Britain’s most celebrated directors, Mike Leigh, leads a parade of film industry figures coming to the Cheltenham International Film Festival which launches on 27th May.  The Festival, will sit alongside Cheltenham’s other high profile festivals – jazz, music, literary - and is the biggest new event to hit Cheltenham town for many a year.


The Film Festival opens on 27th May with the Preview of a major, new motion picture, Sometimes Always Never, starring Bill Nighy, followed by six days of events, including film screenings, director Q&As, master classes, panel discussions and talks by highly-respected film industry professionals and “name” celebrities.  The Festival looks forward to welcoming the director, Carl Hunter, to introduce the film and take audience Q&A.

Festival Director, Leslie Montgomery Sheldon, announced that the popular and celebrated actor, Simon Pegg, from Brockworth near Cheltenham, has agreed to be Patron of the Cheltenham International Film Festival.

Festival highlight will be the screening of two early Mike Leigh films, Bleak Moments and Nuts in May, as the Festival pays tribute to one of Britain’s great directors.  Mike will be in attendance to introduce both films, followed by audience Q&As.  The two films are the personal choice of the director. 

“We are delighted to give fans of these two films an opportunity to see them again and to introduce them to a new audience”, said Sheldon.

Among those coming to the Festival are Josie Rourke, director of Mary Queen of Scots, legendary Enfant Terrible, Steven Berkoff, and critically-acclaimed directors like Jan Komasa, from Poland. The Festival will screen Komasa’s 2011 film, Suicide Room, ahead of its time in dealing with youth, suicide and the impact of social media. Komasa and other Polish filmmakers will also be in attendance at the Festival.

The main part of the festival brings together films from all over the world in competition judged by a prestigious jury made up of Laurence Marks of BBC writing team Marks & Gran, local actress Emma Samms of Dynasty fame and leading industry figures, Phil Hunt MD of Bankside Films, Paul Ashton Head of Film at Creative England and award-winning director, Stephen Cookson; others may follow.

Maurice Gran, Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO of Creative England, critically-acclaimed cinematographer, Piotr Sobocinski Jr and a roll call of highly-regarded film industry professionals in the craft of filmmaking are coming to Cheltenham to take part in events focused on emerging and young filmmakers, including composing for film, makeup, special effects, costume design and scriptwriting.

When asked why a film festival in Cheltenham, Sheldon responded: “to introduce new audiences in and around town to the rich diversity of independent film and filmmaker”.  The Festival will deepen and widen appreciation of film, co-operating with the education charity, Into Film, which puts film at the heart of children’s eduction. And, is committed to highlight the contribution made by women who work in film, partnering with Bird’s Eye View’s Reclaim The Frame, to screen films like Capernaum, directed by Nadine LabakiAnimals (Sophie Hyde)Happy As Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)Mary Queen of Scots (Josie Rourke) and others.

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