The ninth Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival got off to a blockbuster start on Wednesday night when a capacity crowd gathered at The Maltings for a thrilling Opening Gala.
Addressing the large crowd who took their seats for the premieres of crime dramas ‘The Case’ and ‘The Hidden Child’, festival director Melanie Iredale promised “the biggest and best festival to date” while chair Huw Davies said he was looking forward to Berwick once again becoming a hub of cultural activity.
This year’s theme ‘North by Northeast’ celebrates Berwick’s links with Scandinavia so it was only right that the two opening films had strong Scandinavian connections.
First up was ‘The Case’- director Cecilia Stenbom told us she was excited to see the film she shot in Berwick on the big screen but wasn’t giving too much away when asked what audiences should expect.
What they did see was a nine minute insight into residents’ views on crime in Berwick set against a backdrop of recogniseable local scenery and starring some familiar faces from both sides of the Border including Berwick’s Jackie Kaines and Eyemouth’s George Kay.
‘The Hidden Child’s’ director Per Hanejford has journeyed to Berwick on his 35th birthday for the film festival opening and he and lead actress Claudia Galli seemed overwhelmed by the response the gripping thriller received from the audience, who jumped out of their seats on more than one occassion!
The festival’s opening saw ended with previews of installations at the Gymnasium Gallery. A curious crowd took in Sidsel Christensen’s ‘Study for Composition X’, shot on location in Berwick in July and Matt Hulse’s ‘Better To Wear Out Shoes Than Sheets’, tied in with Matt’s film ‘Dummy Jim’ which will premiere at The Maltings on Saturday.
As the evening drew to a close Melanie and her festival team could certainly toast to a fantastic opening. The 2013 Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival certainly made a great first impression.