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Salford Fest flies

The first ever Salford Film Festival drew to a close with crowds flocking to see the premiere of Oscar-tipped Salford short, Talking With Angels. Two screenings had to be hastily arranged at the 500 seat theatre at Red Cinema, in Salford Quays, as the 15 minute feature, starring 12 year old Stephen Buckley and a host of residents from the city's Langworthy Estate, proved incredibly popular.

At the premiere - a highlight of the Salford Film Festival - messages of support were read out from an array of famous Salfordians, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Russell Watson and Christopher Eccleston, who said that the casts of community films, Gas and Air, WrecKeD and Talking With Angels were "Salford's future" **

At the post-premiere party New Order's Peter Hook joined upcoming local band, Hanky Park' on stage for an impromptu version of Joy Division's famous hit, Love Will Tear Us Apart..."written in Salford". And Salford-based British and Commonwealth light middleweight champion, Jamie Moore, who couldn't be at the bash as he was successfully defending his belt in Belfast the following night, sang down a mobile phone with Hanky Park frontman, James Davenport.

Meanwhile, Salford Reds rugby players displayed three cups the club won this year as they gained promotion to the Premiership, as the event turned into a complete celebration of Salford.

Earlier in the day Home Office Minister and Salford MP, Hazel Blears, revealed that she appears in kitchen sink classic, A Taste of Honey, shown at the Festival.

"They filmed it at the bottom of our road" she recalled "And I was in one scene wearing bunches and a little kilt. My brother sang `The Big Ship Sails On The Ally Ally O'..."

In all, up to 3000 people attended the three-day Film Festival, which featured screenings of Salford classics like Love On The Dole, East Is East and Hobson's Choice.

Premieres of community films, Talking With Angels, and Gas and Air, were a spectacular success with the latter attracting nearly 500 local and mainly young people to see Langworthy residents arrive in a stream of limos. The Gas and Air soundtrack featured exclusive new tracks by The Fall and Stella Grundy.

Workshops , seminars and exhibitions were also included in the Festival, and over 200 people who had never been near a camera or script before found themselves on celluloid, acting out lines from famous films or finding out how to make their own movies.

"All events were free to maximise access to the community and the community - from local business firms to Salford University students to housewives - responded in their thousands" says Dr Jo Heeley, Director of Salford Innovation Park, which co-presented the Festival.

"We've had everything from a solicitor and reflexologist re-enacting scenes in Pulp Fiction, to school kids becoming Hollywood-style stars for a night" she adds "How do we follow that ? We're going to do another Festival next year and it's going to be even better, if that's possible."

Mike Knowles, co-producer of Talking With Angels, and director of Northern Film Network which co-presented the Festival adds:

"It was a success beyond my wildest dreams. It was great to see people aged 8 - 80 attending, and the response from film-makers, funders and the community was amazing. In its first year the Salford Film Festival has established itself as one of the largest film festivals in the region. Let's get more features made for next year and we want everyone to join us."

The Leader of Salford City Council, Cllr John Merry, says:

"It is always great to see the good things that have come from our city, and we saw Salford's stars of the past appearing alongside what I'm sure will be the stars of the future."


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