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Filmmakers flock to Bolton for festival

Cinemagoers enjoy the films Photo: Julie Lomax

By Jahmal Williams-Thomas

The inaugural Bolton Film Festival came to a close last night after two days of film screenings and industry talks.

The Light Cinema in Market Place hosted the event with many filmmakers from all over England and even further afield attending.

The film festival was organised by Adrian Barber- a community filmmaker from Bradshaw and showcased a variety of different film types including documentary, comedy and experimental.

(L to R) Festival organiser Adrian Barber, Ian Aspinall, John Henshaw and Iain McKee Credit: Julie Lomax

The festival even showcased some BAFTA recognised short films and the panel included writer Chris Lunt and actor George Newton of ‘This Is England’ fame.

Speaking about how the idea for the event was conceived, Adrian said:

The idea came from my girlfriend- she spotted a cinema going up in [Market Place]. She was the one who said “why don’t you do a film festival.” I knew what goes into a film festival and I said “no chance” and she set up the first meetings and sponsorships and nine months later we’re stood here tonight with a successful event.

– Adrian Barber, Organiser
Industry talks were one highlight of the festival Credit: Joseph Richardson

As well as films from British filmmakers, a number of international films were shown including films from France, Sri Lanka and America in what Adrian describes as the “strongest category.”

Adrian believes the event was a big success: “I feel like it’s a big success. We’ve done a lot of surveys and when people are leaving the cinema they’re giving 8, 9 or 10.

“We hope to be back here again in 12 months time with a bigger, better and well organised film festival and something that’s recognised not just in the North West but across the country and hopefully one day across the world.”

The team behind Best North West short- 'Rabbit Punch' Credit: Julie Lomax

Bolton mayor Roger Hayes was also in attendance and was very impressed with the standard and believes that the festival will grow:

There have been some very thought-provoking, interesting films. The standard was very good and everybody in the audience found something to enjoy and to something to get them thinking. It’s been a very good start and it has the potential to carry on and get bigger “I remember when the food and drink festival was launched- that was small and is now one of the biggest in the country.”

– Roger Hayes, Mayor of Bolton

Other high profile attendees included Ancoats actor John Henshaw and Ian Aspinall who hails from Bolton.

The award winners were announced on Thursday evening to round off the festival. North West winners included ‘Rabbit Punch’ whos team scooped best North West film and Bolton production ‘Anxiety’ whos team won best community short.

FULL WINNERS LIST

  • Best North West Short – Rabbit Punch (Dir. Keith Farrell)
  • Best UK Short- 'Edith' (Dir. Christian Cook)
  • Best Community Short- 'Anxiety' (Dir. Gino Evans)
  • Best Documentary- ‘Gina’ (Dir. Wendell Cooke/Jeremy Macey)
  • Best Animation – 'A Love Story' (Dir. Anushka Naanayakkara)
  • Best Comedy – The Kidnapping of Richard Franco (Dir. Dan Clark)
  • Best International Short – 'The Devil is in the Detail' (Dir. Fabien Gorgeart)
  • Best Experimental - 'Green Screen Gringo' (Dir. Douwe Dijkstra)
  • Best Student Film (Sixth Form) – The Tale of Little Red (Dir. Ash Podda, Kendal College)
  • Best Student Film (Undergraduate) – 'Stalemate' (Dir. Kieran Stringfellow, Falmouth University)
  • Best Student Film (Postgraduate) – 'The Family Portrait' (Dir. Kelly Holmes)