The 15th Bradford International Film Festival (BIFF) opens on Friday 13 March 2009 at the National Media Museum. For the following two weeks, the Museum’s beautifully designed cinemas will host over 200 screenings, presenting films in every format, from 16mm and 35mm to 70mm, 3-strip Cinerama and IMAX 3D and featuring film from Mexico, Latvia, Japan, Korea, France, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, The Netherlands and the USA.
This year’s festival selection was made from a record number of submissions and includes a wide variety of premieres and previews, a new documentary strand, a Widescreen Weekend and Uncharted States of America, which brings genuinely independent films from the US to UK audiences for the first time. The Shine Award will also be presented to the best new short film selected from hundreds of entries.
Among the highlights are the opening film, Is Anybody There? starring Michael Caine and David Morrissey; Genova, directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Colin Firth; and the hotly anticipated Polish drama Katyn. Other international highlights include Swedish vampire thriller Let the Right One In, black comedy Parking set in late-night Taipei and Encounters At The End Of The World, an Oscar-nominated portrait of Antarctica by legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog.
Special guests visiting BIFF include UK screen legend Virginia McKenna, writer, director, actor and Monty Python star Terry Jones and filmmaker Peter Whitehead, each of whom will be the subject of retrospective screenings and take part in live Screentalk interviews. Virginia McKenna will receive the annual Lifetime Achievement Award. Her retrospective includes Carve Her Name With Pride, A Town Like Alice, Swallows And Amazons and Born Free, as well as a screening of the lost classic Play Of The Month: Passage To India. Terry Jones’ film career is represented by screenings of Personal Services, Erik The Viking and The Wind In The Willows, while his TV work will be screened in the Museum’s TV Heaven viewing facility. Peter Whitehead’s counter-culture classics Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London and The Fall play alongside Led Zeppelin: Live At The Royal Albert Hall and a compilation of his music promos featuring The Rolling Stones, Eric Burdon and The Animals, Jimi Hendrix, The Small Faces and Nico. James Bond series producer and BIFF patron, Michael G Wilson, will give a special Masterclass session on film production.
The Widescreen Weekend strand will pay tribute to three movie icons: Sydney Pollack will be honoured with a 70mm screening of his film The Electric Horseman; a new 70mm print of Charlton Heston in Khartoum will be on the big screen; and a 70mm Richard Burton triple-bill will feature WWII classic Where Eagles Dare, Oscar-winning Becket and The Taming Of The Shrew, in which Elizabeth Taylor co-starred with her husband.
BRWC will be hopefully covering the event. Watch this space.
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