Wednesday, 14 February 2018

It is Time to Dance

There will be dance on stage and dance on screen at Keswick in the next couple of weeks.

On the Tuesday (20th Feb) before the Keswick Film Festival, Phoenix Dance Theatre's Windrush: Calyx and Shadows is staged at the Theatre by the Lake.

The work lets us glimpse what the first generation of Caribbean immigrants experienced when they came to England 70 years ago. These new arrivals, known as the Windrush generation, named after the ship the SS Empire Windrush which brought 492 people from the Caribbean to the UK in 1948, marked the start of the post war immigration boom which was to radically change British society.

Then as part of the Festival itself, we have Our Last Tango, screening at Rheged on Saturday 24th at 11.15am.

Our Last Tango tells the life and love story of Argentina's most famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart. Relaying their story to a group of young tango dancers and choreographers from Buenos Aires, their story of love, hatred and passion is transformed into unforgettable tango choreographies.

After the screening, dancers from the Cockermouth U3A Latin American Formation Team will perform a short routine at Rheged before opening the floor to everyone inspired by what they have seen to get up and dance.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Bruce Parry comes to Keswick to introduce Tawai

Bruce Parry is coming to Keswick to introduce Tawai – A Voice from the Forest and to host a Q&A afterwards.

Tawai is Bruce's first feature film and draws on his experiences from earlier expeditions that formed the basis of his award-winning television series. He is perhaps best known for Tribe, which ran for three seasons showing him spending time living with indigenous peoples in locations such as Gabon, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mongolia and Venezuela. However, he first came to prominence with children's programmes such as Serious Desert and Serious Jungle. His own jungle experience came, of course, with Amazon.

The film's title, Tawai, is the word the nomadic hunter gatherers of Borneo use to describe their inner feeling of connection to nature. The Guardian described the film as "an empathetic, sumptuously filmed homage to indigenous groups, particularly the Penan, a Bornean community that is held up by anthropologists as a model of a peaceful and egalitarian society."

Bruce is now a champion of the rights of indigenous peoples across the globe and feels that we in the west can and should learn from them. It will be a fascinating early evening session on Saturday 24th February.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

The Man who made Shane and Giant

Those of you browsing the Festival website might have wondered about the choice of Woman of the Year and Shane. The common factor is of course, Director George Stevens, one of Hollywood’s greats who also made Giant, A Place in the Sun and The Diary of Anne Frank

Neil Sinyard, an old friend of KFF – he was a guest at our very first event in 2000 - will be presenting a talk on the great man on Sunday 25th February. The talk, which will be illustrated with film extracts, will explore some recurrent preoccupations and characteristics of Stevens’ work: the yearnings of the social outsider; his hatred of class prejudice and racial intolerance; a commanding visual style where his signature slow dissolve is used to unite and inspire thoughts and ideas as well as signal transitions of time and place.

Colonel George C Stevens was part of the force that liberated Dachau at the end of World War ll and Neil will explore how his wartime service had a transformational impact on his film-making style. 

For those of us with an interest in the history of cinema, Neil’s talk will undoubtedly prove fascinating.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

More Guests Coming To Keswick

The Festival Programme is now complete and there are a few new highlights to tell you about.

Our family film this year is A Monster Calls, chosen by pupils from Keswick School. We are thrilled that Lewis MacDougall, who stars in the film alongside Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver, is coming to Keswick to introduce the film and host a Q&A afterwards.

We have told you about That Good Night, John Hurt’s last lead movie role. What is new is that Anwen Hurt will be travelling north to join us and to introduce the film on Saturday night.

Another guest coming to Keswick is Lisi Tribble. Lisi was married to Ken Russell and she was able to find a copy of Clouds of Glory, Ken's film about Wordsworth and Coleridge, originally commissioned by Melvyn Bragg for Granada TV. This will be a rare opportunity, so it's not one to miss. The search for Clouds of Glory was prompted by David Banning's talk, Cumbria on Film, based on his book An A-Z of Cumbria and the Lake District on Film. Friday evening in the Studio is going to be fascinating so book early!

Finally, at least for now, our friends at Rheged are putting on an additional screening of Human Flow on Sunday at 2.00pm. It is hoped that both screenings will be followed by a discussion about the issues raised in Ai Weiwei's remarkable film.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Guests at the Festival

Our Guests add so much to the experience and we are thrilled to be able to say that Simon Hunter, Neil Sinyard, David Banning and Patrick Glen will be at the Festival. Others may yet follow their example!

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter made his first film, Spaceman, at seven years old, starring his parents and his dog. After 50 more films whilst growing up in Dumfriesshire, he embarked on a more traditional film school education and his career to date has been littered with awards.

In 2016 Simon completed his third feature film, his passion project, Edie which tells the tale of an old lady (Sheila Hancock) who heads to Scotland to climb a mountain. The movie which opens KFF on Thursday 22nd, was an official selection in the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2016. 

Neil Sinyard

We are pleased to welcome Neil back to Keswick. Neil, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies at the University of Hull, was a guest at the very first KFF in 2000, where he spoke about Shakespeare in Film.

This time around he is telling the story of George Stevens, one of the legendary Directors from Hollywood’s golden age. Starting out on Laurel and Hardy Movies he went on to make films such as Giant, A Place in the Sun and The Diary of Anne Frank. To complement his talk we are screening Woman of the Year (the first pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) and arguably the best western ever, Shane.

David Banning

David is the author of ‘An A-Z of Cumbria & the Lake District on Film’ published by Hayloft in late 2016, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Lakeland Book of the Year. After studying History of Art and later, Lake District Landscape Studies, his passions combined when researching the films and pieces of social history that were spliced together throughout the A-Z.

In looking for a companion piece for David’s talk we have, thanks to Lisi Tribble, been able to find a rare copy of Clouds of Glory, Ken Russell’s film on the lives of Coleridge and Wordsworth.

Dr Patrick Glen

Patrick Glen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working at UCL History on the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project 'Remembering 1960s British Cinema-going'. Extensive interviews with cinema-goers from the period reveal much about the importance of film on social attitudes and behaviours at a time when smoking in the Odeon was the norm.

He is the ideal person to set the scene for our screening of Night of the Living Dead with his talk on Saturday night, Scared Stiff in the 60s.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Documentaries at Keswick Film Festival

This year will be a bumper year for documentaries at KFF.

We have already announced Ai Weiwei’s remarkable Human Flow, the visual spectacle of Our Last Tango and Matt Glasby’s suggestion of The Work, however there are some other tremendous documentary screenings to look out for.

Our link with Keswick Peace and Human Rights Group continues and their selections for KFF will certainly give pause for thought. Demain provides a comprehensive look at ways in which activists, organizers and everyday citizens are trying to make the world a better, greener, more sustainable place and Open Bethlehem spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation.

In Tawai – A Voice from the Forest, explorer Bruce Parry (The Tribe) travels the world living with indigenous peoples, delving deeper than ever on a journey into the heart of our collective human conscience.

Possibly our most challenging documentary of all is Trophy, a startling exploration of the evolving relationship between big-game hunting and wildlife conservation that will leave you debating what is right, what is wrong and what is necessary in order to save the great species of the world from extinction.

Be prepared to have your preconceptions challenged.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A Tribute to John Hurt

That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Dylan Thomas' words provide the title and the theme to John Hurt's penultimate film and his last lead role. In That Good Night he plays a terminally ill writer struggling to come to terms with his own mortality (and with no intentions of going gentle into that good night), to rebuild the wreckage of his family and to die with some semblance of dignity.

Superbly supported by Charles Dance and Sofia Helin (The Bridge) That Good Night will be screened as a tribute to our much-missed and much-loved Patron.

"Hurt and Dance are great, between them they have some fabulous dialogue - conversations which are incredibly timely given the continued euthanasia debates in Australia and globally. Hurt has some wonderful soliloquies, not surprising given this is adapted from a stage play, and Dance is his perfect counterpart."  - Film Blerg