Cambridge Film Festival unveils full programme line-up



The Cambridge Film Festival, the UK’s third longest-running film festival returns for its 34th edition, 28th August – 7th September 2014 at the Arts Picturehouse and other venues across Cambridge.

One of the UK’s most prestigious and well-respected film festivals, with a growing international reputation, the Cambridge Film Festival is operated by the charitable Cambridge Film Trust and funded by BFI Film Forever.

Known for its diverse programme of films and special events, the Festival opens with THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ, presented by director Guillaume Nicloux. Nicloux’s wildly funny film, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and won Best Screenplay at Tribeca Film Festival. When best-selling and famously reclusive French novelist Michel Houellebecq disappeared during a book tour in 2011, the rumours of his whereabouts led to endless speculation, including suspected suicide and as the title above suggests, a kidnapping. Partly based on real events, starring the controversial, award-winning novelist as himself, the film playfully blurs the line between fiction and documentary. Told throughout with bone-dry humour, Guilaume Nicloux will present his highly entertaining film at the Festival.

Also screening on opening night is a special preview of Woody Allen’s latest film, a 20s set Riviera romance, MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT, starring Colin Firth as a celebrated stage magician asked to debunk an American clairvoyant (Emma Stone) who appears to have hoodwinked a rich American family.

The Festival is thrilled to have a number of special guests attending the Festival including writer/director Rowan Joffe and novelist SJ Watson who will present BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, an amnesiac thriller starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. Skip Kite will present his timely tribute to a true national treasure, TONY BENN: WILL AND TESTAMENT which won the Audience Award at Edinburgh. The film is a touching, frank and deeply personal portrait of the respected statesman and anti-war campaigner who passed away in March, featuring intimate interviews with Benn himself, sharing his hopes, dreams and fears for the next generation. Amir Amirani’s documentary WE THE MANY touches on similar political themes, exploring the anti-war campaign against the impending war on Iraq in 2003, which became the biggest street demonstration in history.

Enfant terrible, maverick, historian and polymath, alumnus of Trinity College Cambridge, Andrew Sinclair brought together Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole to deliver UNDER MILK WOOD (1972). The film will be screened digitally to mark the Dylan Thomas centenary year as well as Sinclair’s DYLAN ON DYLAN, with the director in attendance to talk about his life and work with the finest of British acting talent in the 1970s. Andy Goddard’s SET FIRE TO THE STARS starring Elijah Wood, and covering Thomas’s first American tour in 1950, also screens as part of the Dylan Thomas centenary.

Also included in the line up are 2014 Jarman Award shortlisted filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard with their Sundance winning 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH starring Nick Cave. Using elements of music documentary and drama they bring us a fictional day in the life of the Bad Seeds frontman, featuring appearances by Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone and Cave’s bandmate Warren Ellis. Sylvian Chomet (BELLEVILLE RENDEZVOUS)’s first live action feature, ATTILA MARCEL is teasingly described by Variety as “a charming, family-friendly ode to hallucinogenic drug use”. The film centres on 33-year old Paul, a lifelong mute and piano prodigy with a narrative full of wry humanism, musical interludes, modern farce, heightened sense of reality and dollhouse décor. Pawel Pawlikowski’s multi-award winning IDA, a poetic, almost Bressonian exploration of the limits of faith, follows the story of Anna, a young novice in rural 1960s Poland, exquisitely composed and shot in luminescent black and white. SXSW and Edinburgh International Film Festival hit, I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS, first-time feature filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff’s affecting coming-of-age tale, a sensitively observed, impressionistic drama about a fantasy-prone teen who mistakes a brooding bad boy as her Prince Charming. Matthew Warchus (SIMPATICO)’s new film PRIDE, starring Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Andrew Scott and Paddy Considine, tells the story of the UK gay and lesbian activists working to help miners during the lengthy miners strike of 1984.

Other highly anticipated films screening at the festival include, Kelly Reichart’s NIGHT MOVES, a taut paranoia thriller about 3 radical environmentalists who become uneasy about their planned eco-terrorism starring, Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard. Marking one of his final roles, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in Anton Corbijn’s A MOST WANTED MAN, alongside Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright in this big screen adaptation of John Le Carre’s twisty spy thriller. Director Hans Petter Moland’s darkly comic revenge drama, IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE stars Stellan Skarsgard as a father avenging the murder of his son against the backdrop of the wild Norwegian winter, in the latest collaboration between director and star (A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN, ABERDEEN).

The Cambridge Family Film Festival returns with a much-loved mixture of favourite film and television characters old and new, presented in a family-friendly environment, at an affordable price. Broad themes include ‘Superheroes’ with screenings of SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN 2, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and a Sing–a-long-a FROZEN and ‘Slapstickwith characters from LOONEY TUNES, WACKY RACES, BUGS BUNNY, SCOOBY DOO and PINK PANTHER. In addition there are special School of Slapstick film-making workshops, encouraging young audiences to come along and create, shoot and star in their own short silent comedy film, working with a professional theatre tutor and cameraman. The Festival will supply the props and costumes – with participants supplying the comic genius. The popular NOT SO SILENT MOVIES show of classic silent comedy shorts presented by Neil Brand returns for a third instalment. The programme also features a special screening of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2005) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Roald Dahl classic.

The New German Cinema strand returns with another exciting selection of contemporary films celebrating the latest cinematic developments from established and emerging German filmmakers from the last year, with the support of the Goethe-Institut London and German Films. Dietrich Brüggemann showed his previous film MOVE at CFF 2013, just before celebrating his first international competition premiere at the Berlinale this year with STATIONS OF THE CROSS, a story of religion, devotion and radical faith winning the Silver Bear for Best Script and Ecumenical Jury prize. Edgar Reitz, famous for his HEIMAT series, chronicling the history of the German people, received rave reviews after presenting HOME FROM HOME in Venice last year. The film acts as a prequel to the HEIMAT sagas, jumping back 100 years to look at the Simons family of the 18th Century. Both Jakob Lass (LOVE STEAKS) and Jan Ole Gerster (OH BOY) are new voices, bringing a breath of fresh air with very a-typical narratives that caused a stir at the German box office and at international festivals. Philip Gröning first film since INTO GREAT SILENCE his award-winning documentary, THE POLICEMAN’S WIFE, is an epic, poetic, fictional narrative on domestic abuse and a timely mediation on the potential for darkness that lurks in our hearts, and the love that keeps us going.

What keeps THE WOMAN WHO DARES going is lead actress Steffi Kuhnert (THE WHITE RIBBON)’s performance as a 50-year-old woman, who decides to cross the Channel swimming. Marc Rensing’s film is the story of one woman’s determination and courage to take control of her dreams in the face of crushing adversity. WEST by Christian Schwochow features a GDR refugee trapped in a Western German home for asylum seekers, offering a new and critical perspective of Germany’s “Mauerzeiten”. Long-time Festival friend and independent filmmaker extraordinaire, Monika Treut will personally present her latest film, the beautifully tranquil coming-of-age story OF GIRLS AND HORSES.

On the occasion of the Deutsche Kinemathek’s 50th anniversary, Cambridge focuses the spotlight on the early silent films of Gerhard Lamprecht, the Kinemathek’s founder. IN THE SLUMS OF BERLIN (1925), CHILDREN OF NO IMPORTANCE (1926), PEOPLE TO EACH OTHER (1926), and UNDER THE LANTERN (1928) have been digitally restored and will be presented with new scores. Supported as part of the digitisation initiative of the Federal Government’s Culture and Media Commission, these silent films take viewers to the underbelly of Berlin’s ‘Golden Twenties’ showing people on the margins of society and telling stories of ordinary people and sub-proletarians in their everyday life, in-between the promise of happiness, global economic crisis, and collapse in a sizzling, rapidly growing metropolis. To accompany the season, the festival will also screen Walter Ruttmann’s classic BERLIN: SYMPHONY OF A (GREAT) CITY (1927) and Edgar Ulmer’s PEOPLE ON SUNDAY (1930) accompanied by accomplished film musicians Neil Brand and Jeff Davenport who will also accompany Lamprecht’s CHILDREN OF NO IMPORTANCE.

Building on a successful two years of celebrating the best of Catalan Cinema, the Festival returns with a third programme of films showcasing the extraordinary and diverse talent developing in this nation within Spain as it argues for full independence. Leading the way is Sergio Caballero’s extraordinary comically surreal, and utterly cinematic fantasy THE DISTANCE, in an alternate future/universe where people communicate via telepathy and possess telekinetic powers. Think Tarkovsky’s STALKER but with more jokes. Citing the 2011 closing of Catalan institution El Bulli as his inspiration as well as culinary cinema classics like, BIG NIGHT and BABETTE’S FEAST, Roger Gual’s romantic comedy TASTING MENU tells the stories of a group of diners enjoying a final meal in one of the world’s best restaurants on its last evening of service. Alba Gomez’s documentary A POEM IN EXILE explores the origins of a musical masterpiece and message of peace that finds its roots in Catalan poetry and tales of exile. The strand also includes work from upcoming young talent; Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font (OTHELLO), Jesus Monllao (SON OF CAIN) plus award-winning second feature from director Mar Coll, WE ALL WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR HER, about a woman, recovering from a car accident struggling to find her place in the world.

Continuing on the success of last year’s collaboration with Eye on Films, an exciting initiative to promote the work of emerging talent, this year’s programme kicks off with Tamar Van Den Dop’s Berlinale Generation contender, SUPERNOVA, about a teenage girl who wishes a car would crash into her home to spice up her humdrum existence. Championing a new distribution model, FilmDoo a new film discovery VOD platform, will distribute Eye on Films/ Eye to Eye sub-label for first time directors. Launching this initiative, SUPERNOVA is released day on date on VOD through FilmDoo, as well as theatrically in the UK through Matchbox Films, in partnership with the Cambridge Film Festival.

Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti’s first feature NOOR, a docudrama about a teenage runaway taken under the wing of Pakistan’s transgender community, was well received at last year’s festival. NOOR will be available on VOD through the Cambridge Film Festival site. Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti’s follow up, NINGEN will be presented by the filmmakers at the festival. Stemming from a Japanese fairytale, where a raccoon and a fox decide upon one of their many wagers to transform into humans and see who can accumulate the most wealth, NINGEN follows the ‘human’ players of the tale who have forgotten that they were pretending to be human. Hovering between dream and reality, Peter Kruger’s narratively rich and truly striking N: THE MADNESS OF REASON recounts the story of the Frenchman Raymond Borremans, who left Europe for Africa in the mid-20th-century. He devoted his life to the creation of the first encyclopaedia of this other world. He died, however, having only reached the letter N. With his encyclopaedia incomplete, his restless spirit drifts around West Africa, caught between life and death, past and present.

A typically strong documentary strand includes the extraordinary THE CASE AGAINST 8, a behind-the-scenes inside look into the high profile case to overrun California’s controversial ban on same-sex marriage, THE IRAN JOB about American Pro basketball player Kevin Sheppard who signs to play for the Iranian super league team A.S. Shiraz, Alex Gibney’s documentary FINDING FELA about the life and work of Nigerian musical legend Fela Kuti, Jesse Moss’s provocative modern-day ‘love thy neighbour’ parable in North Dakota’s oil fields, THE OVERNIGHTERS which won the Sundance Jury Prize and WATERMARK from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. Andre Singer’s film, NIGHT WILL FALL, about the discovery of WW2 film footage that is revealed to be a documentary shot by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein in 1945 about the German concentration camps won a special mention at Sheffield Doc/Fest. CINEMA PARADISO director Giuseppe Tornatore is the subject of GIUSEPPE TORNATORE: EVERY FILM MY FIRST FILM.

30 years on from the Miner’s Strike, STILL THE ENEMY WITHIN gives a unique insight by those who lived through it and experienced the strike first hand. The life and work of pioneering erotic filmmaker Peter De Rome, who passed away recently is celebrated in PETER DE ROME GRANDFATHER OF GAY PORN. “Punk Traveller” band The Levellers are the subject of A CURIOUS LIFE, an uplifting tale of battling demons, struggling for expression and survival over their 25 year history. Maverick independent American documentarian Lionel Rogosin who pioneered political cinema, non-fiction partisan filmmaking and docu-fiction is the focus of a mini retrospective including ON THE BOWERY (1956), about the transient community in the notorious New York neighbourhood, COME BACK, AFRICA (1959) featuring a young Miriam Makebe, about the harsh realities of life in South Africa under apartheid and GOOD TIMES, WONDERFUL TIMES (1966), his anti-war masterpiece made at the height of the Vietnam War.

Scalarama’s annual celebration championing independent cinema returns to Cambridge with a special presentation of Jorg Buttgereit’s previously banned, audacious cult horror NEKROMANTIC (1987). Restored prints of Childrens Film Foundation classics, THE BOY WHO TURNED YELLOW (1972) (Powell and Pressburger’s last film) and Harley Cokeliss’s THE GLITTERBALL (1977) return to the big screen.

Continuing the cult theme, the Festival will present a series of retro 3D classic titles from the heyday of 3D including CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) THE MAD MAGICIAN (1954) and HOUSE OF WAX (1953). In addition three long-lost short films, the ‘Hector Dimwittie Trilogy’ starring iconic comic genius Peter Sellers will be shown more than half a century after they were made, DEARTH OF A SALESMAN, INSOMNIA IS GOOD FOR YOU and COLD COMFORT (1957), offering audiences a rare chance to see Sellers flexing his comedy muscles, after his success on The Goon Show but before his big screen career took off.

The Short Fusion shorts programme returns with an impressive selection of amazing shorts spanning Belgian comedy, Australian sci-fi, German dreamscapes and Spanish romance. Highlights include CHARLIE SAYS by Lewis Arnold, starring Conner Chapman in the film that convinced Clio Barnard to cast Conner in THE SELFISH GIANT. Toby Froud (the baby from LABYRINTH)’s LESSONS LEARNED is a puppet animation short made in association with Heather Henson. Quebecois short, PETIT FRERE by Remi St-Michel was shown in competition at Cannes.

Known for its innovative use of Cambridge’s attractive locations, the 2014 Cambridge Film Festival is bookended by exciting outdoor events at Grantchester Meadows (23-24 August), pool-side screenings at Jesus Green Lido (14 September) and a special 3 day weekend event at Bletchley Park (19-21 September) – including special screenings for the BFI’s blockbuster Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season, celebrating the very best of science fiction in film and TV.

The ever-popular Grantchester Meadows outdoor weekender is the perfect preview for the Film Festival, presenting a programme of films for all ages, on the banks of the River Cam. The weekend programme includes a special Sci-Fi themed night with screenings of FLASH GORDON (1980), made available as a new digital print, H.G.Wells’ THINGS TO COME (1936) and provides a suitably atmospheric backdrop for Spielberg’s epic CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977). Other films include THE LEGO MOVIE, GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and CINEMA PARADISO (1988).

Presented by the Cambridge Film Trust in association with Independent Cinema Milton Keynes, Station X at Bletchley Park, is a curated season of immersive screenings and themed workshops exploring science fiction war narratives, totalitarian dystopias and the fear of the power of science set against the historic backdrop of the world-class heritage site. 2014 marks 60 years since the mysterious death of Alan Turing, one of Bletchley Park’s leading cryptanalysts who pioneered thought in computing and artificial intelligence. The programme will include the premiere of a new digital print of Hammer Films, British Sci-Fi, X THE UNKNOWN (1956) as well as THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961), THINGS TO COME (1936), BRAZIL (1985) and Kubrick’s anti-war classic DR. STRANGELOVE (1964), celebrating it’s 50th anniversary.

Cambridge Film Festival is also proud to announce an exciting new partnership with MUBI, the online cinema where users can watch, discover and share their thoughts on great movies from around the world. MUBI will be the online extension of the Festival, screening a selection of films that bring the festival magic to the rest of the UK. Find out more at

CFF 2014’s Closing Night Gala to be announced separately.

For more information on the festival and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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