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Curtain closes on Cambridge Film Festival

26th Cambridge Film Festival (6-16 July, Cambridge Arts Picturehouse)

“ This ever-expanding festival has really pushed the boat out this year, with an amazing slew of UK premieres – over 30 and counting. And this is only the tip of the iceberg!” The Guardian 1/7/06

“ The Cambridge Film Festival has developed into a leading showcase for art-house hits. It’s a taste of the best of what’s to come” The Observer 2/7/06

“Cambridge has the knack of attracting big names – to the irritation of its larger rivals” The Times 30/6/05

The 26th Cambridge Film Festival ended last weekend after eleven film-packed days of 225 screenings and events, which attracted admissions of over 14,500 making it the best attended festival ever. Saturday 8 July was the busiest day and broke the Festival’s box office record for the most tickets sold!

The 2006 Festival showed 116 feature films and nearly 300 shorts from 38 countries including 56 UK premieres, while thousands more watched outdoor screenings at Parker’s Piece, at Trumpington Cambridge Park and Ride, and Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk.

Festival Highlights
Film highlights included: Volver (Pedro Almodovar), Tideland (Terry Gilliam), A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater), Angel-A (Luc Besson), Edmond (Stuart Gordon), Atomised (Oskar Roehler), Echo Park LA (Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland), Renaissance (Christian Volckman), The Notorious Bettie Page (Mary Harron), The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry), Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (Lian Lunson), Cars (John Lasseter), Happy Endings (Don Roos), Keane (Lodge H Kerrigan), Be With Me (Eric Khoo), and 4.30 (Roystan Tan). Plus The Best of Baghdad: New Films from Iraq, Projecting Britain: Government Information Films and the Pioneers of the British Documentary Movement, Bruce Weber’s Work In Film: A Retrospective (including two UK premieres), A Brief History of Erotic Cinema selected by former Erotic Review editor, Rowan Pelling, New German Cinema (key titles: Unveiled, Tough Enough, and Berlin Stories) and a retrospective for French director Michel Gondry.

Festival Guests
The Festival played host to an impressive roster of guests including: Terry Gilliam (Tideland), Michael Winterbottom and producer Andrew Eaton, plus Steve Coogan, Stephen Fry, and Rob Brydon (for a special open-air screening at Felbrigg Hall of A Cock and Bull Story), Luc Besson (Angel-A), Graham Fellows aka ‘John Shuttleworth’ and photographer Martin Parr (Its Nice Up North), Mike Figgis (Tied Up at the Office), Kujtim Cashku (Magic Eye, and Kolonel Bunker), Irene von Alberti (Berlin Stories), Monika Treut (curator of the New German Cinema season), Jan Dunn (Gypo), Ali Smith (writer, who presented Theorem), Damian Lewis (star of Keane), Susannah York and Richard Bracewell (actress and director of The Gigolos), Fred Kelemen (Krisana), and Caradog W James (Little White Lies), Neil Brand and Gunter Buchwald (musicians) and members of the BFI archive with Open Road, Buket Alakus (Offside), Matt Daniels (Powerless), David Scheinmann (The West Wittering Affair), John Sergeant (The Brittany Job), Katie Barlow (Visit Palestine), PLUS Nizar Al Rawi (Head of Iraq Short Film Festival), Ammar Saad (filmmaker), Sadi Abdul Latif (Iraqi journalist), Dr Princess Nasreen El-Hashemite (Iraqi cultural commentator), Dr Bob Arnot (former NBC reporter in Iraq), Burhan Wazir (Film Editor, The Times) all of whom were in Cambridge to take part in the Best of Baghdad post screening debates.

Volver Wins People’s Favourite Film Award, with
Thousands of Cambridge film fans visited the festival website and many voted for their favourite festival film. The eventual winner was Volver starring Penelope Cruz (directed by Pedro Almodovar), which nudged Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep into second position, and Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly into third place. Volver will return to the Arts Picturehouse when the film goes on UK general release.

Audience Prize for Best Short Film
The winner of this year’s fiercely competitive award, following on the heels of Andrea Arnold’s Wasp, which won the 2004 ‘Best Short Film Award’ and which then went on to win the 2005 Oscar for ‘Best Short Film’, was Waiting/Hoping by Los Angeles based director Mike Flores, a 7 minute film about an expectant mother crossing the border from Mexico to the US and who finds out that life is not all she expected it to be on the other side.

The Cambridge Film Consortium Young Person’s Jury Winner
This year’s winner of the Young Person’s Jury Award was 14 year-old Melinda Barber from Parkside Community College (a designated media specialist college which is part of the Cambridge Film Consortium). The 14 members of the jury – all year 10 students and keen film reviewers - watched all the films in the Q103 Children’s Festival, took part in post-screening discussions and submitted their reviews to the festival website. A selection of the best were also printed in the festival Daily newspaper.


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