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Film festivals are a vital piece of the film ecosystem, says the Motion Picture Association of America. Their impact is evident across our culture, providing a platform for new talent, attracting new audiences and promoting tourism and the local economy. Thus the Cheltenham International Film Festival was conceived under the direction of Cheltenham International Film Trust.
Cheltenham International Film Trust was created in September 2018 and received charity status in May, 2019. In one of its first actions, the Trust approached Cheltenham favourite son, the popular actor, Simon Pegg, to be Honorary Patron of Cheltenham International Film Festival and he agreed.
The Charity’s purpose is to introduce, attract and boost audience attendance for the best of independent film from around the world via Cheltenham International Film Festival; screening films that reflect the times we live in culturally, socially, politically, artistically and giving voice to a new generation of emerging filmmakers.
The scope of the Festival is international, the focus is local, attracting audiences in Cheltenham and from surrounding towns and rural communities, many without a cinema and almost all without an independent cinema; offering audiences an opportunity to share their emotions and ideas with filmmakers and other audience members to open a new perspective on a film.
A feature of the Trust’s activities is to focus on young people, and young people from disadvantaged communities in the town. In the event and to this purpose, the Trust plans to introduce the Cheltenham Youth International Film Festival (CYIFF) to run within and alongside the main film festival.
The CYIFF comprises film screenings and workshops in the arts & crafts of filmmaking. The plan is for young people to engage and interact with the festival. The objective is to support young people, to gain appreciation of independent cinema, thereby widening their cultural experience, and to have a greater knowledge of the art of film to give focus and inspiration to film as a career.
The launch – 2019:
Cheltenham International Film Festival launched in 2019, screening over 40 acclaimed feature films and shorts from 15 countries, including films from local/student filmmakers. Cheltenham welcomed celebrated directors and respected film industry professionals to the Festival, among them: cinema great, Mike Leigh, to whom the Festival paid tribute; famed theatre director, Josie Rourke, who directed her first feature, Mary Queen of Scots; legendary actor/writer/director, Steve Berkoff; highly-acclaimed Polish director, Jan Komasa; and Carl Hunter, with his first film, Sometimes Always Never, starring Bill Nighy.
The Festival intends to be bigger and better in 2020 with more celebrity names taking part. In this way, will we will complement the high-profile festivals that make up Cheltenham – the festival town. But, while the Festival is high profile with leading figures from the world of cinema, so we have a focus on young people studying filmmaking at local schools, colleges and universities and who may benefit from the Festival and from features such as “Open Call”.
Open Call is a series of master classes taken by respected and well-known film industry professionals with experience and knowledge of film direction, cinematography, editing scriptwriting, special effects, music and even stunt co-ordination. Open call is inspirational, reaching out to film students with the opportunity to meet, listen to and interact with leading figures from the film industry with experience and knowledge of the arts and crafts of filmmaking. And, it affords members of the public an opportunity to get a peek behind the scenes to see how the magic of film is created, to enhance the experience and enjoyment of watching a film on the big screen.
Promoting tourism and the local economy:
Film festivals attract attendees from their own community and from around the world, boosting the local economy. In 2017, Sundance Film Festival generated $151.5 million for Utah’s economy and brought more than $400 million to the state over the last five years. The Toronto International Film Festival contributed over $180 million to that city’s economy. Cheltenham International Film Festival is not there yet but it is on the way to generating revenue for the town and that can only be a good thing.
Thank you for your support.
CEO Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce
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