Shropshire Youth Theatre


Shropshire Youth Theatre

Borderlines Film Festival and the Festival of British Cinema at Hay-on-Wye combine to bring film bonanza to the Marches

Norah Baring and Uno Henning in A Cottage on Dartmoor
Norah Baring and Uno Henning in A Cottage on Dartmoor

Running from Friday 27 February to Sunday 15 March 2015, Borderlines, the UK’s largest rural film festival, now in its 13th year, joins forces with the Festival of British Cinema at Hay-on-Wye to bring a cornucopia of film treats, from previews and new releases to silent films with live music accompaniment and film industry talent and experts.

The Festival of British Cinema, formerly run by a team of local volunteers, will launch the Borderlines opening weekend and take place from Friday 27 February to Sunday 1 March in four venues in Hay-on Wye: Booth’s Bookshop Cinema, the Parish Hall, the Church of St Mary the Virgin, which hosts a screening of the passion and jealousy-driven British silent classic, A Cottage on Dartmoor with live organ accompaniment by Father Richard Williams, and, as an exclusive addition to the line-up, the Picturehouse Mobile Cinema, which will be located in the Oxford Road car park.

This 100-seater mobile cinema, recently acquired by Picturehouse, is an impressive 55ft long, 36 ton articulated lorry, which, within an hour of parking up, transforms miraculously into a comfortable, air conditioned cinema auditorium, with full digital projection facilities for patrons to enjoy their cinema viewing in total comfort.

As well as some of the more interesting new releases, the Festival of British Cinema will reveal the three British films that have most influenced leading film-maker Ken Loach, a reappraisal of overlooked 1940s films by women filmmakers, Jill Craigie, Kay Mander, Ruby Grierson and Muriel Box, curated and presented by cinema expert, Professor Ian Christie,Birkbeck, University of London, and A View from the Cutting Room, a fascinating presentation by distinguished editor Tony Lawson about his experiences working with directors Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Roeg and Neil Jordan.

The 2015 Festival programme, made public this week, comprises around 230 screenings, with approximately 90 films and events in 30 venues stretching across four counties in the Marches: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Powys and into Worcestershire at the beautifully-restored Art Deco splendor of the Regal Cinema in Tenbury Wells.

Highlights of the programme include ‘Les Demoiselles de Borderlines’ a follow-up to last year’s ‘Ah Mon Héros’ season, a focus on alternative female stars of the French cinema curated by Festival Patron and broadcaster, Francine Stock, and a collection of three films by internationally acclaimed Palestinian filmmakers, selected by Annemarie Jacir, the Oscar-nominated Omar by Hany Abu-Assad, Villa Touma directed by Suha Arraf (Lemon Tree) and Open Bethlehem by Leila Sansour (Jeremy Hardy vs. the Israeli Army). Both Annemarie Jacir and Leila Sansour will be present to discuss the films alongside the latest trends in Palestinian filmmaking. This compilation is delivered in association with the Bristol Palestine Film Festival as part of the BFI funded project called Conversations About Cinema: Impact of Conflict.

In addition to A Cottage on Dartmoor at Hay, the main festival incorporates two further silent films with live accompaniment: the sensational German silent Pandora’ s Box, starring Louise Brooks as a siren who drives men mad, with live piano by one of the country’s most renowned silent film accompanists, Stephen Horne, as well as Five Years in the Fifties, a film documenting rural life in the mid fifties, created from the remarkable film archive of Frank Dale, a Leominster farmer and businessman, with a live score and poetic commentary. The latter is a collaboration between the North Herefordshire Archive Film Group and the Rural Media Company, funded by the Heritage Lottery.

The festival programme has been put together for the third year running by David Sin from the Independent Cinema Office. The number of previews, films that are shown prior to general release with special permission from distributors, has further increased this year to a phenomenal eighteen in total. Among these titles are The Clouds of Sils Maria from French director, Olivier Assayas, starring Juliette Binoche as a maturing actor reprising a hit play in an older role, with Kristen Stewart as her assistant, Dark Horse, a British documentary about a syndicate from the Welsh valleys who breed a winning racehorse (shot partly in Hereford) and A Little Chaos, directed by Alan Rickman, starring Kate Winslet as a woman landscape designer at the court of Louis XIV.

The festival is also privileged to include many titles that won major European Film Awards in 2014: Winter Sleep (Palme D’Or, Cannes), A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Golden Lion, Venice), Black Coal, Thin Ice (Golden Bear, Berlin), Leviathan (Official Competition, BFI London FF), The Tribe (Sutherland Award, BFI London FF) as well as Whiplash (Sundance).

Festival Director, Naomi Vera-Sanso said, “In recent years our audiences have responded with ever-increasing enthusiasm to the widening selection of titles that we have been able to provide.

This year, for the 17-day period of the festival rural audiences in the Marches will have the opportunity to watch a colossal number of films that the rest of the country, even in big cities, will not be able to see for several months.

“Borderlines is, above all, a festival for the viewing public, and incorporating for 2015 the Festival of British Cinema, the only one of its kind in the whole of the UK, I feel sure that our audiences will appreciate and enjoy truly being at the cutting edge of cinema.”

Other highlights are a strand of films by Australian director, Rolf de Heer, (Charlie’s Country, Ten Canoes, The Tracker), all starring the charismatic Aboriginal actor, David Gulpilil who made his screen debut back in 1971 in Roeg’s Walkabout. Adam Woodward, Deputy Editor of Little White Lies magazine will introduce a screening of Charlie’s Country at The Courtyard, Hereford. Along with the customary mix of the best of world cinema, documentaries and classics, Borderlines also offers the opportunity to see multi-BAFTA-nominated films Birdman and Boyhood as well as the much-anticipated The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that reunites Dames Maggie Smith and Judy Dench with Bill Nighy and Dev Patel for more adventures at the very singular Indian hotel ‘for the Elderly and Beautiful.’
Other confirmed guests for both the Festival of British Cinema and Borderlines include Uberto Pasolini, director of Still Life, starring Eddie Marsan as a council worker whose job is to track the next-of-kin of those who have died alone, Morgan Matthews, director of X+Y, starring Asa Butterfield as a gauche maths prodigy, Sinead Kirwan, producer of Miner’s Strike documentary Still the Enemy Within and Berwyn Rowlands, Director of Cardiff’s Iris Prize Festival who will introduce a section of the best British LGBT shorts.

Booking for all films and events commences on Monday 19 January at 10.00am either in person at The Courtyard, Hereford, online at, by calling the Central Box Office number 01432 340555, alternatively by contacting individual venues directly.