CIFF 2023: Round Up
Cheltenham International Film Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2023...
Cheltenham International Film Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2023. Festival No.5 was our most successful to date in terms of creative accomplishments, audience participation, public awareness. One of the proudest accomplishments was the launch of our CineYouth programme, drawing in and reaching out to youth across town with a programme of film screenings and events.
It is now fair and true to say that after five years the film festival has come of age, well-positioned to go forward with credibility, intrinsic to the promotion of Cheltenham as the festival town. And we are making our way up the list of important film festivals; a festival with prestige attached to its brand.
As well as giving a big thank you to our team, we are grateful to our supporters, of which there have been many but single out accountancy firm, Harper Sheldon, the British Film Institute (BFI) and The National Lottery Community Fund, allowing us to continue on our mission to translate artistic and creative values into social and economic benefits for the town; introducing the culture of cinema and art of filmmaking to new audiences with a special emphasis on young people.
Two great directors, one film festival
The festival, this year, was doubly honoured to welcome Ken Loach, two-time winner of the Palme d’Or, with the UK premiere of The Old Oak, which some say will be his last film; and to welcome multi award-winning director, Sir Stephen Frears, who accepted our Master Award for his contribution to great cinema for over 50 years.
For the first time, the film festival introduced television to the festival which has been adopted by other major film festivals around the world. This year, we previewed, along with cast, writer and producers, the new BBC series, Boiling Point, which was well attended by young people with an interest in television production.
Young people also formed two sell-out audiences for our film shorts programme, itself, with films by new, young directors. This was followed by discussion between filmmakers and audience.
Closing night films
The festival concluded with two films of significance; The Miracle Club starring Dame Maggie Smith and the Polish film, Subuk, with a strong narrative based on a true story about a mother fighting for her son with Asperger Syndrome to be recognised by the Polish education system. The theme resonated with attendees from National Star College, with a focus on young people with disabilities, who were invited to attend the screening as our guest.
The film festival welcomed guest directors and actors such as Timothy Spall in what was a programme of over 40 films – a mix of commercial, independent ‘art house’, features, shorts, documentaries, a good number followed by discussion; attended by young people with an interest in film as our guest.
Friends & Community Partners of the film festival
And we introduced a programme of support for the film festival to include Friends of Cheltenham International Film Festival and Community Partners. We shall soon be making contact with the many people who enjoyed our film festival to welcome them to join us as Friend or Community Partner.