Conceptually, the Eastleigh Film Festival took a decisive step: aimed at cinéphiles and other film buffs, the festival evolves around the promise to create a true cinematic experience based on cult films. Watching the Coen Brothers’ Big Lebowski in a bowling alley or Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in an empty shopping mall is possible and you won’t even have to go to London for it.
BBC Film critic Danny Leigh helped in the shape of the film festival which will have its inaugural night on the 22nd of September. The first screenings of the festival were actually in the hand of the audience who got to choose between films pre-selected by Danny Leigh himself. The results are already up, The Shinning (Stanley Kubrick, 1980), Les diaboliques (Henri Georges Clouzot, 1955) and The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986) will be opening the cortege of classic films scheduled from the 22nd to the 27th of September.
In the words of Crispian Cook, the week-long Festival organiser, “Eastleigh Film Festival encourages audiences to experience film differently, offering exciting site-specific film screenings around the town in all sorts of unlikely locations.” The film festival counts eleven screenings over five days, five of them are set according to the universe of their feature film; dance performances are organised for Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom and a three-course meal accompanies Stanley Tucci’s Big Night.
The festival also interestingly offers a free Industry Day on the 25th of September aimed at aspiring filmmakers. The event starts in the afternoon with workshops on story-boarding (film, games and animation), film and TV directing, animation and film commissioning. It is followed in the evening by a panel discussion and a short film award ceremony. The day will be closed by the UK Premiere of Ego, directed by Lisa James-Larson.
Part of the European ‘Recreate’ project, the Eastleigh Film Festival works in association with eleven cities and urban areas from northern France. In parallel of its main schedule, the film festival will hold a New French Cinema Night on the 25th of September, introduced by the University of Southampton’s Film Lecturer Lucy Mazdon. Sylvain Chomet’s film The Illusionist (2010) will be screened that evening, its animator Eric Ormond will even be available for a Q&A afterwards.
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