IT IS a film that would ordinarily be showcased for the first time at Leicester Square in London, but ‘Resident Evil 5: Retribution’ will instead be given its UK premiere right here in Berwick.
Based on video games of the same name, the fifth instalment of the multimillion-dollar Resident Evil series will be screened at the Maltings later this month thanks to a close connection between Berwick and the movie’s writer and director, Paul W.S. Anderson.
His father, the late Chris Anderson, was a key member of the board responsible for creating the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival in 2005. Although Chris was unable to see the festival flourish in later years, his name has become synonymous with the Best Young Filmmaker Award, which was created in 2007 in partnership with his widow Chrissie Anderson and son Paul.
Each year, Paul has donated a cash prize for the winner to go towards their next filmmaking project, along with special prizes donated by Paul and his wife, the actress Milla Jovovich, who plays the lead role in the Resident Evil series.
The UK premiere, which will be shown in Berwick on September 20, eight days before going on general release throughout the country, will be preceded by a specially recorded introduction from Paul and Milla.
Anderson said: “We’ve supported the festival over the last few years and we are dedicated to encouraging young filmmaking and are very proud to have the UK premiere in Berwick-upon-Tweed.”
Born in Newcastle, Anderson attended Newcastle Royal Grammar School, before going on to graduate from the University of Warwick as the youngest student to achieve a BA in Film & Literature. He made his debut as the writer-director of ‘Shopping’, which starred Sean Pertwee, Jude Law and Sadie Frost.
Following this, he directed the successful 1995 video game adaptation ‘Mortal Combat’. While prior video game movies were big flops, ‘Mortal Kombat’ was well received by fans and critics alike.
This gave Anderson, who is based in Los Angeles, the opportunity to develop a filmography of comic book and video game cult status, such as ‘Event Horizon’, ‘Aliens vs Predator’ and the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise.
The horror, sci-fi, action thrillers have become the most successful movie series to be based on video games, the first four films collectively bringing in $675 million worldwide on a $183 million budget.
Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival director Melanie Iredale said: “This is an unbelievable opportunity for people in Berwick to see this big release film before everyone else in the country, and it’s a great coup for our ever-growing youth programme, bringing our patron of the Chris Anderson award’s latest film for older teenagers and young adults to enjoy.”
To mark the occasion, Berwick Film Festival is organising a night of entertainment, starting with an apocalyptic-themed pre-film party at the Berwick Youth Project’s Beehive.
Zombie face-painting, video games and music will are also on the programme, culminating in a Zombie Walk through Berwick town centre.
Adam Graham, the youth projects producer at the Berwick Film Festival said: “We’ve been in talks with Paul and with Impact Pictures and Sony Pictures for a couple of months now, but the film was still being made so they’ve really come through for us, allowing us to preview the film so soon after it’s been finished, within the festival dates, and before it gets its big release.
“It was Paul who said in an email: ‘Let’s make this happen’ – and he did! The support form the director and Sony is unprecedented.”
The fifth instalment in the Resident Evil series sees protagonist Alice fight alongside a resistance movement in the continuing battle against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead.
The world premiere took place in Tokyo earlier this week and it is due to be released in the United States next week.
The eighth Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, which draws together independent cinema with moving image art, takes place at venues throughout the town from September 19-23 and expects to attract thousands of visitors.