Ambitious line-up is revealed for 10th anniversary of film festival

The team behind Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival have revealed an ambitious programme to mark the event’s 10th birthday.

Coinciding with the referendum for an independent Scotland next month and with Berwick occupying a unique position being the most northerly English town and bordering Scotland, the festival has chosen ‘Border Crossing’ as its theme for 2014, with its programme exploring border identities and the crossing of boundaries all over the world.

On announcing the programme festival director Melanie Iredale said “With over 75 features, short films and artists’ video works on offer, and opening up 13 unique locations around and within the town’s Elizabethan town walls, transforming everything from the ice houses to prison cells in to screening locations - the whole town will become a living cinema.

“We are thrilled to be bringing such a truly international programme to Berwick – representing over 35 countries in total - and to be welcoming artists and filmmakers from all over the world.”

This year sees the Festival paying homage to the technology of cinema’s past with a line-up that includes 35mm and Super 16mm film and installations.

Opening this celebration of celluloid on Wednesday, September 17 is ‘Mamarosh’ - the tale of a film projectionist from Serbia who flees to New York only to find that 35mm is dead and resolves to revive it.

Following this is a preview of a new installation by 16mm artist Ben Russell, and the first film the very next day sees The Maltings blowing the cobwebs off their 35mm film projector to screen Powell & Pressgurger’s classic ‘I Know Where I’m Going’!

Mamarosh marks just one of 18 UK Premieres for Berwick, and Ben Russell’s The Twilight State (produced in partnership with Northern Film & Media) one of four new commissions and six world premieres for the Festival which has a WOW and Culture Magazine awards to its name this year.

Thursday, September 18 will prove an exciting day to be on the border between England and Scotland with the preview of Berwick Visual Arts’ artist in residence Katie Davies’ ‘The Lawes of the Marche’s – an exploration of ancient traditions designed to preserve boundaries and a shorts programme themed around borders screening in The Barrels Ale House – where the idea for the Festival first originated ten years ago!

A number of German works in the programme – from ‘West’ in the film programme to the UK Premiere of ‘Lines of Resistance’ in the installations commemorate 25 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, while documentaries such as the UK Premiere of ‘Forbidden Voices’ and ‘The Uprising’ – for which Northumberland born, Belgium-based filmmaker Peter Snowdon will be in attendance - pay homage to the Arab Spring which saw borders crossed not only across the middle east but online, across the world.

A highlight for the Friday night is ‘Orchestra of Samples’, which see international audio-visual artists Addictive TV joined on stage by folk musicians from Northumbria and the Borders including fiddle player Shona Mooney and master of the concertina Alistair Anderson.

Other names to look out for over the five days include Philip Selway of Radiohead who comes to perform his new single accompanied by a Northumberland County Council commissioned music video, not to mention the illustrious panel of judges making up the Inntravel Short Film Awards, Catherine Shoard, Head of Film at the Guardian is joined by Festival co-founder Marcus Coates as model and broadcaster Eunice Olumide presents.

Also on Saturday 20th September is a preview of ‘Approved for Adoption’, a touching tale of a South Korean boy adopted in to a Belgian household. The film was selected by local students and forms part of the youth programme over the weekend which involves films made by and for children and young people, ranging from animations for those aged 3 and up, in Wee Films for Wee Ones, to ‘Giraffada’, an inspirational family film from Palestine.

The promenade of installations continues over the weekend, presenting an opportunity to see Berwick like you’ve never seen it before. Newly commissioned artists John Wallace & Professor Pete Smith have been exploring two rivers as a border in ‘Tweed-Sark Cinema, Glasgow-based artist Rachel Maclean’s ‘A Whole New World’ imagines a fallen British empire while Uzbekistan-born artist Kristina Cranfeld’s ‘Manufactured Britishness’ explores citizenship, all of which are sure to resonate with audiences from both sides of the border.

When it comes to those north of the border, ‘From Scotland ‘with Love represents the Festival itself crossing into Scotland for the first time, with this medley of archive footage being presented at Paxton House in Berwick – north of the Tweed on Sunday, September 21.

Closing the festival is a preview of ‘Ida’ – a firm favourite on the international festival circuit from BAFTA winning director Pawel Pawlikowski.

The festival continues to offer five day Festival passes. For just £7 per day visitors to Berwick can experience the full gamut of films, installations and live events.

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