Berwick rolled out a blood-stained red carpet last night for the UK premiere of one this year’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters.
As the Maltings Theatre still uses a 35mm projector, Sony had to fly a 35mm copy of the film from a cinema in Europe to ensure that ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ could be screened as part of the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival.
Prior to the screening, festival organisers hosted an apocalypse-themed pre-screening party with zombie face-painting and video games. The party culminated in a zombie walk through the town and down the gory red carpet – an old brown carpet stained red with bloody handprints – into the cinema, which was packed to the rafters.
The premiere took place in Berwick rather than Leicester Square in London due to the film festival’s connection with Los Angeles-based director Paul W.S. Anderson,
Paul’s late father, Chris Anderson, part-founded the film festival in 2005.
After Chris’s death, Chrissie, his widow, and Paul set up a young filmmaker award in conjunction with the festival, offering a cash prize for the winner to go towards their next film-making project as well as special prizes from Anderson and his actress and model wife, Milla Jovovich.
“I’m behind the award and behind the screening at Berwick to push this idea that you don’t have to grow up in Hollywood and you don’t even have to grow up in London and you don’t have to know anyone in the film industry,” said Anderson.
“When I was studying at Warwick, the director of Greystoke came to visit and just talking to somebody who really worked in the film industry was a massive boost to my enthusiasm to keep going.”
The film, the latest in a series based on the successful video game, topped the box office when it opened in the US with an estimated £13m for the first weekend.
Festival organisers hope that directors such as Paul will inspire the next generation of filmmakers.
Adam Graham, youth projects producer at the festival, said: “The premiere has inspired a lot of people in Berwick to get involved and make a big event of it.”
Anderson was unable to attend the premiere last night, but he and Jovovich, who stars in the film, recorded a personal introduction to it.