Keswick Film Festival

Festival History

Whether you're new to the event or want to revel in remembrance of films past, former Keswick Film Club Chairman Rod Evans takes you on a journey through the past.

The Festival's Second Year 2001

With the experience of running one festival and some cash in the bank, there was little question about keeping Keswick Film Festival alive, so when discussion turned to the programming of 'KFF2' we decided to stick to the recipe. Not to search for more Shakespeare, but to respond to the obvious desire on the part of our audiences (not, on the whole, in the first flush of youth) to enjoy a literary approach to cinema. So minds were focussed and a name for a strand was proposed: 'Literature Through the Lens'. This was relatively easy - put together some older Literary adaptations: Melville's 1950 version of Cocteau's Les Enfants Terribles, Truffaut's take on the Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451, and, because we had an opera lover on the selection panel, Zeffirelli's version of Verdi's version of a Dumas story, La Traviata. Then add the contemporary crop of intelligent literary movies, such as Edith Wharton's House of Mirth by Terence Davies, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity by Stephen Frears, Raoul Ruiz's direction of Time Regained, Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Parkand the Mike Figgis/Strindberg Miss Julie. Well, we couldn't resist just one Shakespeare, when Julie Taymor's Titus became available.

How to replace Kieslowski? Not quite from the same stable, but the Coen brothers seemed a pretty good stand-in. Blood Simple, Fargo and the bang up to date O Brother Where Art Thou? were the choices - the latter of course being inspired by our fourth film of that strand, Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels made back in 1941.

This is the time to apologise for the list-like description of KFF2 hitherto: the brochure for this festival was an example of how not to advertise your activity. The font is tiny, the film titles in light green, therefore unphotographable, and the list is not chronological, so ultimately confusing and unfit to reproduce here. Be warned!

To round off the programme, there was another stab at 'Best of the Fests' comprising Laurent Cantet's Ressources Humaines, Hideo Nakata's Ring and Abbas Kiarostami's The Wind Will Carry Us (not the best possible choice for rounding off a festival). There was also a Box o' Shorts and the event's opening film Once Upon a Time in the West which screened to all of 33 people at 10am on the Friday at the Alhambra. Ah well, you learn from your mistakes...

The comforting thought for the organisers when planning all this was that we had secured a £4000 guarantee against loss from Northern Arts, through the magic wand of our good fairy Katherine Anderson - at that time Film Exhibition Officer of NA, and of whom more later. However, Awards for All and one or two other generous funders ensured that we didn't have to draw on much of this sum, ticket sales remained steady, audiences averaged just over 50, and we approached KFF3 in 2002 with confidence undented.

See All KFF2 Films

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