Cheltenham announces opening and closing films

Lost Translations and White Riot to bookend online festival

by Amber Wilkinson

White Riot
White Riot Photo: Courtesy of London Film Festival
Cheltenham Inetnational Film Festival has announced it will hold this year's edition online, opening on June 8 with Simon Pegg-starrer Lost Transmissions and closing with documentary White Riot on June 14.

Pegg stars in Katharine O'Brien's debut feature as Theo, a successful record producer struggling with schizophrenic rages, alongside Juno Temple as his singer-writer friend Hanah, who rallies friends in a bid to commit Theo to a psychiatric facility.

Rubika Shah's White Riot traces the roots of the 1976 Rock Against Racism movement. Pegg, who is an honorary patron of the festival, and Shah will both take part in post-screening audience Q&As.

Tickets for the event - the first UK international film festival to take its edition online since the coronavirus lockdown - will be on sale from June 1. The festival plans to screen up to 35 films, most of which have not been seen in the UK and are not available to watch on any other streaming platform.

Festival director Leslie Montgomery Sheldon said: “We wanted to distance our festival from other streaming platforms. In part, we have achieved this by keeping to the Festival spirit, scheduling films on specific days and at designated times, and by programming eight Q&As and counting after film screenings”.

Pegg said: “My association with Cheltenham International Film Festival is founded on a personal commitment to support and help to bring the best of independent cinema to the next generation of audience. It pleases me that Cheltenham, on becoming the first narrative international film festival in the UK to go online, is reaching out to audiences across the country, many of whom never have the opportunity to visit a film festival or watch some of the best of new independent films. And I am delighted that my own film, Lost Transmissions, will open the Festival on 8th June."

The film festival focuses on emerging filmmakers from all over the world; screening narrative and documentary features and shorts from over 20 countries as well as organising an Italian film strand of six films.

The full programme and booking information will be published on June 1 at cheltfilm.com

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