Shropshire Star

Major rural film festival to return to Shropshire region venues including village halls later this year

A major regional film festival will run 295 screenings in 24 venues across Herefordshire, Shropshire, the Malverns and the Welsh Marches, it has been announced.

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Anthony Hopkins in One Life

The Borderlines Film Festival will run from March 1 to March 17 this year and will include 68 feature films, including 23 previews, with the 2024 programme and tickets and passes going on sale on January 26.

Borderlines Film Festival is the UK’s largest rural film festival, supported by the British Film Institute. This year it will be bigger than ever with close on 295 across 24 venues in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Malvern, and the Welsh Marches for the 22nd year running.

The BFI funding, together with support from the Elmley Foundation and Hereford City Council, enables Borderlines to reach rural audiences across a wide geographical area, covering four counties.

As well as arts centres and cinemas such as The Courtyard Hereford, Malvern Theatres, Ludlow Assembly Rooms, Kinokulture in Oswestry and Booth’s Bookshop Cinema in Hay, the festival will play once again at The Regal, a wonderfully restored art deco cinema in Tenbury Wells.

Borderlines will also run in market towns like Bromyard, at The Conquest Theatre, Ledbury, at the Market Theatre, at Presteigne Screen and throughout the Flicks in the Sticks network of village halls and community centres.

Many of these smaller venues are located far from conventional cinema provision in this predominantly rural area.

Naomi Vera-Sanso, the Festival Director, said: “This year, we have multiple films in our programme that focus on people throughout the world who cross borders to seek refuge and a better life.

"Films like Io Capitano, Bye Bye Tiberias, Shayda, Norwegian Wood and the powerful, but rarely seen Syrian classic, The Dupes. We are proud to be able to show films that represent a variety of cultural experiences and are told from a different viewpoint from our own.

“We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who plays the National Lottery. Without your support, a film festival of this scale, ambition and reach would be impossible to mount.”

Borderlines is the only film festival to be programmed by the Independent Cinema Office. As a result, the programme contains many of the major prize-winning independent films from renowned international festivals that have yet to hit British cinemas.

Award-winning films included in the festival are: the 2023 winner of the Palme d’Or, Anatomy of a Fall, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster, awarded Best Screenplay, and Trần Anh Hùng given Best Director for The Taste of Things, all at Cannes Film Festival.

All of Us Strangers, The Zone of Interest, Past Lives, Anatomy of a Fall, One Life, and The Great Escaper are all tipped for BAFTA success.

They will also be highlighting fresh and highly original British filmmaking talent with Luna Carnoon’s Hoard and Naqqash Khalid’s In Camera, both with a main character who is an outsider at their heart.

Approximately a third of the titles in the programme in the programme are directed and/or written by women.

This year’s strands include trios of French and African films, new LGBTQ+ movies, themes that encompass Afterlife and as, you’d expect a wealth of films that reflect rural life all over the world.

And there’s a special treat for cyclists, screenings of possibly the best documentary about cycling ever made, the Danish A Sunday in Hell from 1977, to be introduced by Guardian cycling correspondent William Fotheringham, who will be signing copies of his book.

The festival brochure with details of the whole programme will be available to download from the Borderlines website from the fourth week of January.

The Festival Box Office, at The Courtyard Hereford, will open for sale of tickets in person or by phone (01432 340555) at 10am on Friday 26 January 2024.