The 26th Cambridge Film Festival was an incredible success with admissions higher than 17,000 and a record number of voters registered their reviews and ratings of Festival films online, producing a Top 20 list that included titles as diverse as SILENTIUM, GYPO and A SCANNER DARKLY and was topped by Audience Award Winner VOLVER. Two major additions to the Festival proved highly popular; an ambitious programme of free screenings introduced Artist’s Moving Image work to new viewers, and the daily Festival Podcasts were a huge hit. Featuring interviews with Festival guests, audience members and programmers the podcasts made high-quality film journalism available to anyone with Internet access, developing the Festival audience and demonstrating the CFF’s ongoing commitment to technological innovation.
Other Festival highlights included Luc Besson presenting ANGEL-A; Terry Gilliam discussing TIDELAND; Neil Brand and Gunther Buchwald accompanying THE OPEN ROAD; Mike Figgis discussing erotic cinema with Rowan Pelling (former editor of The Erotic Review); Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Stephen Fry mingling with guests at the open air screening of A COCK AND BULL STORY at one of the film’s principal locations, Felbrigg Hall near Cromer; Graham Fellows (aka John Shuttleworth) and photographer Martin Parr discussing IT’S NICE UP NORTH; Fred Kelemen with KRISANA; Damian Lewis with KEANE; a filmed introduction from Eric Khoo to BE WITH ME; and UK Premieres of A SCANNER DARKLY, ATOMISED, THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE, LEONARD COHEN: I’M YOUR MAN, THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP, RENAISSANCE and 4.30.
The New German Cinema season and UK Focus brought many young film-makers to Cambridge and the Festival’s special seasons were strongly appreciated by both audiences and national press: PROJECTING BRITAIN: GOVERNMENT INFORMATION FILMS AND THE PIONEERS OF THE BRITISH DOCUMENTARY MOVEMENT celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Central Office of Information with a series of five programmes tracing the British documentary from the 1930′s to the present day, culminating with a discussion comparing this cinematic heritage with prospects for the future, led by Professor Ian Christie.
The first complete retrospective of BRUCE WEBER’S work in film included a short film made specially for the Festival as well as a live internet broadcast Q&A, using a high speed broadband link, projected on screen, in which Bruce Weber answered audience questions about his work, from his home in Long Island. THE BEST OF BAGHDAD showcased the re-emergence of Iraqi cinema with screenings and discussions featuring Iraqi film- makers and cultural commentators and received substantial coverage by The Times, The Independent, BBC4, Radio 4, Al-Jazeerah International and Sky News.