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Chichester International Film Festival to celebrate its 20th anniversary

This August will mark the 20th Chichester International Film Festival, the biggest and most prestigious of its kind on the South Coast. Running from August 18 to September 4, 2011, the festival promises to bring cinema enthusiasts 18 days plus two separate pre-festival open air screenings crammed with premieres, special events and a shoalful of guests to celebrate the festival’s 20th anniversary.
Over the last five years past premieres – English or UK firsts – previews, and new releases at the festival have included The Illusionist, Made in Dagenham, Cyrus, Dog Pound, The Maid, Alamar, Conversations with My Gardener, Ben X, Tamara Drewe, L’Affaire Farewell, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Dorian Gray, Atonement, The Duchess, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I’ve Loved you so Long, The Wave and many others including Mike Leigh’s masterful Topsy Turvy.
Roger Gibson, Chichester International Festival’s artistic director, screened 93 films at last year’s event, over half being premieres, previews and new releases. Audiences, up by an impressive 20%, were treated to 136 screenings, six illustrated talks and 40 previews. Opening last year’s film festival, Screen South Chairman Graham Benson declared that it was ‘yet another action packed and bejewelled Chichester International Film Festival.’
This year’s film festival will include the following, specific previews, premieres and opening and closing Gala films to be revealed a month before the festival:
• Focus on the Documentary : Treasured from the Archives/ Classic Revivals;
• Talks: Discussions; Visiting Film-makers.
• Retrospectives on:
• Terence Rattigan, including David Hare introducing The Browning Version (1951) with Michael Redgrave, and an illustrated talk on Rattigan’s films by his biographer Michael Darlow, who also introduces Journey Together (1944),
• A short selection of the films of Sir Ian McKellen, including Richard III (1995) and Gods and Monsters(1998).
• Tributes to the late Claude Chabrol (1930-2010), including a preview of his last film Bellamy (2010),starring Gerard Depardieu, and Pete Postlethwaite with an illustrated talk by Michael Coveney
• Mahler’s Centenary with Ken Russell introducing his Mahler (1974), John Coldstream (Dirk Bogarde’s biographer),introducing Visconti’s Death in Venice(1971); Jeremy Barnham’s(Lecturer in Music) illustrated talk on Mahler in Film, and UK premiere of Mahler on the Couch (Percy and Felix Aldon,2010)
• Dirk Bogarde’s 90th commemoration(1921-1999) with an illustrated talk by nephew Brock Van den Bogaerde and John Coldstream-films include Victim (1961) King and Country (1964) , The Servant (1963).
• Partnerships with:
• Pallant House Gallery with Frida and Diego-complementing the exhibition with related films on Jacques Gelman,(Cantiflas films), Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin(1925),Thunder over Mexico (1933), Frida (2002 )and an illustrated talk on Film, Art and Politics by Ian Christie, Professor of film
• *Horrors at the Multiplex: The best of Fright Fest(5 horror films including Troll Hunters, A Lonely Place to Die).
• 50th anniversary of The Avengers, introduced by Roger Marshall, director, in conjunction with University of Sussex.
• Open Air all digital film screenings at Priory Park, Chichester: Bizet’s Carmen (Covent Garden(2007) on 12 August from 7.30 pm and 50th anniversary preview of the restored West Side Story (1961) on 13 August from 7.30 pm.
Over the last 20 years the festival has screened a range of global cinema that is wide and extraordinary – biopics, dramas, horror, comedies, documentaries – some of which have their first screenings at the cinema outside of Cannes, Berlin and Edinburgh. Last year retrospectives included works by Kurosawa and Jack Cardiff, archival material also part of the mix.
Guest artists and speakers, onstage and off, that have visited the premier South Coast film festival have included Alec Guinness, Mike Leigh, Phil Davis, Mike Figgis, David Hare, Stephen Poliakoff, Greta Scacchi, Corin Redgrave, Kathleen Turner, Tony Palmer, Derek Malcolm, Nick Moran, Ken Russell, Simon Callow and documentary maker Craig McCall.
Gibson said about the festival, ‘Last year’s festival was our biggest and most ambitious festival to date with many gratifying compliments about the range and variety of the programme. Despite recession and the inevitable reduction in funding and sponsorship, we bring to Chichester and the South Coast the very best in world cinema, to celebrate imagination, originality and diversity. With the festival celebrating its 20th anniversary this year’s programme promises to be as equally ambitious and exciting.’
The 20th Chichester International Film Festival programme will be announced in early summer.

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