Bradford International Film Festival announces full programme

Line-up features more than 120 features and new Canadian Cinema strand.

by Amber Wilkinson

The full programme details for the Bradford International Film Festival have been announced.

The 16th edition of the Festival, which runs from March 18 to 28, will open with the UK Premiere of Perrier's Bounty, directed by Ian Fitzgibbon and starring Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, Jodie Whittaker and Brendan Gleeson.

The Closing Night Gala will be the World Digital Premiere of the late Lionel Jeffries' classic The Railway Children. BIFF will host a unique reunion screening to celebrate the 40th anniversary with the stars expected to attend the new restoration including Jenny Agutter, Sally Thomsett and Bernard Cribbins.

Guests are expected to include Cillian Murphy and BAFTA award-winning writer and director Chris Morris, who will attend a Q&A at the UK Premiere of Four Lions.

The Festival will showcase more than 120 features from countries including Mexico, Switzerland, USA, Japan, South Korea and Sweden. The hub of the Festival will remain the National Media Museum which will be joined by an additional nine venues, each with its own exclusive programme.

Canadian cinema will be featured in the new strand introduced this year titled, Hollywood North: New Canadian Cinema. All six films in this strand will receive their UK premieres at the Festival: Crackie directed by Sherry White, Nurse.Fighter.Boy directed by Charles Officer, Benoit Pilon's The Necessities of Life, Terry Miles' The Red Rooster, David Bezmozgis' Victoria Day and New Denmark, directed by Rafael Ouellet.

Uncharted States of America will return for the fourth year, with highlights include International premieres of Matthew F Fountain's documentary Bonecrusher, Peter Thompson's documentary Lowlands, It Was Great But I Was Ready To Come Home directed by Kris Swanberg and the unusual documentary Freezer Fright directed by Nancy Silver.

The Widescreen Weekend, a forerunner to BIFF is now in its 17th year. This year The Alamo, The Blue Lagoon, Die Hard, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Hunt For Red October will all screen on 70mm over the weekend March 26 to 28, with additional titles being screened on March 29.

For the 12th year BIFF will give emerging directors an opportunity to compete for The Shine Short Film Award. Competing this year from Europe is, Crescendo by Pierre Terrade and Didier Woldemard, La Preda by Francesco Apice, The Man With All The Marbles by Hans Montelious and When The Hurlyburly's Done by Alex Eslam and Hanna Maria Heidrich. From North America, Richard Farmer's Under God and Nick Cross' Yellow Cake and from the UK Death Of A Double Act by Christine Entwhisle, An Ode To Modern Democracy and The Hairdresser by Matt Strachan and Jon Gilbert's Toshi.

Festival artistic director Tony Earnshaw said: "I am particularly pleased with our programme this year, it shows our diversity and really demonstrates our commitment to unveiling authentic independent cinema.

"We are proud to be celebrating our new status as City of Film and look forward to welcoming guests and audiences at the National Media Museum and our satellite venues throughout the Festival."

To coincide with the first weekend of the Festival, Bradford will be hosting events to celebrate its designation as the world's first UNESCO City of Film. Events include Family Film Fundays focusing on Roald Dahl. Animated Chocolate Factory Workshops, Be Mike Teavee, Face Painting, Storytelling and an opportunity to meet Willy Wonka and an Ooompa Loompa are all on offer.

John Hurt, Imelda Staunton and director Fernando Meirelles will also be attending, either to receive awards or as part of career retrospectives.

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