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Film Features


Picture: Jack Cardiff directing William Tell.
Jack Cardiff directing William Tell

Great Yarmouth Film Festival

A retrospective of the work of Great Yarmouth's Oscar-winning cinematographer Jack Cardiff is one of the highlights of the town's first film festival.


Great Yarmouth may not enjoy the soaring temperatures of Cannes or the romantic setting of Venice, but it is about to host its first film festival.

It will take place from Thursday 30 September until Sunday 3 October, 2004.

Highlights from the four days will include a master class with Great Yarmouth-born cinematographer Jack Cardiff, a visit from Norfolk entertainer Stephen Fry, a question and answer session with Harry Potter actor, Dereham's Chris Rankin and appearances from Dad's Army cast members.

It will also feature debut screenings of local films, the first UK back-to-back showing of The Matrix trilogy, screen-writing workshops, a collector's fair and children's entertainment.

Lesson in cinema

The star event will take place on Thursday night when the Hollywood on Marine Parade hosts a master class with double Oscar winner Jack Cardiff.

Picture: Stephen Fry.
Norfolk-born entertainer Stephen Fry

It will be led by UEA professor Charles Barr before the showing of Cardiff's classic A Matter Of Life And Death. The movie veteran will also be presented with a festival award by Stephen Fry.

The celebration of Norfolk's links with the silver screen has been put together by local arts organisations and the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority.

It is hoped the festival will help to extend the resort's holiday season and be an annual event.

"The festival is part of an overall strategy to increase the number of events going on throughout the year in Great Yarmouth," said Feargus Mack, the borough council's marketing and promotions manager.

"The reason why a film festival was picked is because Great Yarmouth has a rich heritage in cinema.

"In fact, the Little Gem [now the Windmill] on Marine Parade was the first electric picture house in the country when it opened in 1908," he added.

Special screenings

The festival curtain will raise at the Regent Theatre on Thursday morning for Calamity Jane. The Regent Road venue opened as a cinema in 1914 but was converted into a bingo hall in 1982.

A screen has been installed especially and to mark the Regent's return to a cinema for the day, the admission for Calamity Jane has been held at the 1982 price of £1.50.

Screens have also been set up at St George's Theatre for local film shows and at the Hippodrome Circus for the Archive And Industry Conference, Great Yarmouth Shorts and children's animation workshops.

Kids' events

Picture: Chris Rankin.
Chris Rankin stars in Harry Potter

Children can make animations using lots of materials and the day is split into two sessions for five to 10-year-olds and eight to 12-years-olds.

Youngsters can also enjoy a question and answer session with Harry Potter's Chris Rankin, who plays Percy Weasley. Children can dress up in costume for the event, to be held before the showing of the Prisoner Of Azkaban at the Hollywood on Saturday.

Chris said he was thrilled to be involved.

"East Anglia's cultural status is rapidly increasing in TV, film and theatre, and it's important that we have events like this film festival to celebrate our involvement with cultural arts," he said.

"By showing children's films, like Harry Potter alongside older films and rare footage from East Anglia's past, it will hopefully give people the opportunity to realise what an important genre of entertainment film has become in our society," he added.

Celeb spotting

The actor is also expected to drop into the collector's fair at the Marina Centre on Saturday, which will also be attended by James Bond girl Caroline Munro from the Spy Who Loved Me.

There will be more celebrity appearances from Dad's Army actors Bill Pertwee, Pamela Cundell, Frank Williams and director Harold Snoad. The Dad's Army special on Friday will also feature 1940s musical entertainment and two programmes filmed in Yarmouth.

However, if your interest lays behind the camera, then there are screen-writing workshops at the Hotel Elizabeth. Speakers will include Ray Allen, the scriptwriter for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, and the events are open to everyone regardless of experience.

For the full programme of events, times, prices and events log on to the Great Yarmouth Film Festival website.

last updated: 01/10/04
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