British Film Festival 2013

FOR the first time in Australia, the inaugural British Film Festival will bring a slate of new and classic British films to Melbourne screens. Sol Ahn has the details.

Australia’s inaugural British Film Festival will be in Melbourne from November 20 until December 1 at Palace Cinemas.

Speaking to Meld Magazine, Palace Cinemas’ Programming Director Kim Petalas believes this festival “will become one of the major highlights on the Palace Festival Calendar” and give strong, worthy British films that “potentially won’t have the opportunity to have theatrical release in Australia” a good showcase.

“Australian audiences have had a strong affinity with British culture [and the British Film Festival] is also a great opportunity to reflect on the rich past of British cinema with many classic films being remastered through new technology,” said Ms Petelas.

With recent British films including The King’s Speech, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Iron Lady having already captivated the hearts and minds of Australian audiences, what films can people expect to catch at the inaugural British Film Festival?

British Film Festival 2013 Highlights

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One Chance is based on the true story of Britain’s Got Talent‘s season one winner. Image supplied.

On the opening night of the film festival, the heartwarming and inspiring film One Chance will be screened.

The film, based on the true story of Paul Potts, the shy winner of the first season Britain’s Got Talent, is directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Hope Springs) and will follow after pre-drinks at the cinema.

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Judi Dench (The Queen, Skyfall) and Steve Coogan (What Maisie Knew, Ruby Sparks) in the drama, Philomena. Image supplied.

Closing the festival is Philomena, a new film by Academy Award-nominated director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons).

Also based on a true story, Philomena sees Academy Award-winning actress Judi Dench (famously known as M in the James Bond movies) embark on a search for her lost son.

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Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3, The Town) and Eric Bana (Chopper, Munich) star in Closed Circuit. Bana will be in Melbourne to answer questions. Image supplied.

Furthermore, a special Q&A screening with renowned Australian actor, Eric Bana on November 1 for his new film, Closed Circuit, has also been planned.

“[The Q&A screening] gives our patrons an opportunity to gain an insight into the making of an international film and to see in person one of Australia’s most successful international actors.”

Unfortunately, the Q&A with the renowned Australian actor has sold out here in Melbourne, though an extra session with an introduction by Bana has also been added into the program.

On top of the slate of contemporary films, the British Film Festival will also screen five of the most esteemed classic British films at the festival.

“To complement the festival, we chose the top 5 classic films out of the British Film Institute’s Top 100 list of the greatest British films of the 20th century: The Third Man, Brief Encounter, Lawrence of Arabia, The 39 Steps and Great Expectations,” said Kim.

Having secured “contemporary films that are diverse in subject matter” that reflect the current state of British cinema, one should imagine that the British Film Festival will in coming years be a staple on Melbourne’s already stacked film festival calendar.

The British Film Festival 2013 will commence on November 20 and finish on December 1. For the full program of films screening at the festival, event information or other details, visit the British Film Festival’s official website

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