Cheltenham Film Festival Debut

Posted on 13 August 2010

The first Cheltenham Film Festival, supported by Kraft Foods, is set to grip the Cotswold town already renowned for its Literature, Music and Jazz Festivals. The three day movie-fest will take place from 1-3 October.

Highlights of the eclectic programme include a rare opportunity to hear celebrated pianist Stephen Horne perform the score he composed for the 1929 silent movie ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’, as well as providing the live accompaniment to ‘A Throw of Dice’, as part of the BFI National Archive’s ‘Long Live Film’ season marking its 75th anniversary.

Newly restored by the BFI National Archive, Terence Fisher’s horror classic ‘Dracula’ (1958) offers a richly satisfying big screen experience – from Christopher Lee’s first appearance as the black-cloaked Count at the top of a flight of stairs, to the film’s breathtakingly choreographed finale.

Eclipsing genres from such British movie heritage to world cinema classics supplied by Arrow Films, the line-up also includes three previews, including ‘The Messenger’. The film follows two officers (Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson) faced with the unenviable task of notifying the loved ones of fallen soldiers. The two men form a unlikely bond that is threatened when one of the officers finds himself drawn to a young widow (Samantha Morton), setting off an ethical dilemma that plays out in touching and surprising ways.

The programme’s diversity is encapsulated in the screening of ‘Heavy Load’ a documentary following a punk outfit subject to the inflammatory mix of ego, fantasy, and desire that fuels any emerging band. They’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities. Shot over two years when the band recorded their first album, the film is a comedy of conflicting ambitions. Members of the band will be making an appearance after the screening, willing to answer questions from the festival audience.

CFF Education, the not for profit arm of the festival, is providing a range of free activities for budding young film makers; from hands-on workshops for primary and secondary pupils to specialist lectures for local film students, and a showcase for new film makers, curated by the University of Gloucestershire.

Co-founder of the Cheltenham Film Festival Adam Clarke says: “With British independent films from the legendary Pinewood Studios Group, the BFI’s special programme, family classics for all ages, plus the work of student film makers, the debut Cheltenham Film Festival promises to be an unabashed, gluttonous indulgence for anyone with a passion for film.”

The Cheltenham Film Festival runs from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 October 2010.
A number of fringe events and previews will take place between Monday 27 and Thursday 30 September.

For full programme listings and box office details visit

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