Festival Highlight: Tribute to Mike Leigh

Every year, the Festival will screen the earliest films of celebrated directors in tribute to their contribution to the legacy of great cinema.  In 2019, we recognised Mike Leigh, screening two of his early films, Bleak Moments and Nuts in May, selected by the director, himself.

Mike Leigh is one of Britain’s most celebrated directors and for fifty years has made many classic films, starting with Bleak Moments, Nuts in May and Abigail’s Party, moving on to Secrets & Lies which won Palme d’Or, Naked which won Best Director at Cannes, Vera Drake which won the Golden Lion, Mr Turner and many, many more.

Mike came to Cheltenham to introduce both of his films and to take audience Questions and Answers after each screening.  It should also be noted that Mike sat through both films, to share the moment with the audience which was well appreciated.

 Festival Highlight: Jan Komasa

In 2019, the Cheltenham International Film Festival paid tribute to Polish cinema, screening five films from emerging Polish filmmakers.

We were delighted to welcome the celebrated director, Jan Komasa, and screen his first film, Suicide Room, now considered a classic. Jan’s latest film, Corpus Christi was nominated for an Oscar (2020) for Best International Picture and his sequel to Suicide Room, The Hater, won Best International Picture at TriBeca (2020). Jan spent several days mixing with filmmakers and audiences.


 Festival Highlight: Shakespeare's Heroes & Villains with Steven Berkoff Q&A 

The festival was proud to welcome actor, director, writer and legendary Enfant Terrible Steven Berkoff to the Cheltenham Film Festival.

The festival premiered the first ever screening of Shakespeare's Heroes & Villains - a journey through Shakspeare's most notorious villains with Steven Berkoff as your informed and entertaining tour guide! From the 'genius' villain, Richard |||, through to 'wannabe' villain, Macbeth and 'student villain, Hamlet, Berkoff portrays each. The screening was followed by a Q&A with the man himself. Steven has acted in films as diverse as A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Passenger, Octopussy, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo, Under The Cherry Moon, Absolute Beginners and The Krays and directed and co-starred with Joan Collins in the film version of Decadence.

 Festival Highlight: Mary Queen of Scots with Josie Rourke followed by a Q&A

The festival was extremely excited to welcome English theatre and film director Josie Rourke to the Cheltenham Film Festival.

The festival screened Josie's very much talked about first film 'Mary Queen of Scots' starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. The film highlights the complex relationship between Elizabeth (Margot) and her cousin Mary (Saoirse) who was a danger to Elizabeth's hold to the English throne. The two woman were locked in a dynastic rivalry that could only end badly. 

After the screening, Josie took audience Questions & Answers from the audience.

Before moving into film, Josie Rourke was a celebrated theatre director and Artistic Director of the prestigious Donmar Warehouse.