That’s a wrap! Film festival chief Roger Gibson hails success of 26th movie fiesta

Roger Gibson

Roger Gibson is celebrating the success of the Chichester International Film Festival after the curtain came down on the city’s movie fiesta.

Artistic director Roger, pictured taking a “nap” at the conclusion of a busy August, was speaking following news that attendances soared for the 26th festival.

It has been staged at five venues in the city and was based at Chichester Cinema at New Park. The event screened 150 films from more than 30 countries.

He said: “With the fall in UK cinema admissions this summer, it is heartening to announce that CIFF has bucked the trend with a 10 per cent increase from last year’s festival with almost 7,000 admissions over the 20 days.

“We were delighted to have one of only two national screenings of The Square, the 2017 Palme D’Or winning film prior to its withdrawal for editing and distribution in March 2018.”

Film awards, announced by Gibson on 27 August before the screening of France’s heart-warming Back to Burgundy, the festival’s gala closing film, included Belgium’s Insyriated, a Syrian-set war drama winning the premiere-rreview top spot, the UK Premiere.

Dolores, a psychological thriller from Germany, attended by director Michael Rösel, took second place. Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins, took the prize in the new releases category, the Danish Land of Mine, the powerful, deeply emotionally resonant post-war drama, coming second.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore’s follow-up to his climate-change film a decade ago won the documentary category, Phil Grabsky’s David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts, taking second place. The low budget indie section was won by The Shepherd, a compelling drama of changing Spain.

Stephen Cookson’s dazzling Stanley: Man of Variety, starring Timothy Spall playing no less than seventeen characters including Max Wall and Margaret Rutherford, came second. Broken Hearts Club the low budget documentary winner, tells the story of four Ethiopian kids with heart defects arriving in Israel.

Walter Francisco, Chichester Cinema at New Park’s manager who oversees the festival thanked audiences who “came in their droves from even further afield this year”, adding: “Our high-quality red new seating getting the thumbs up, our thanks also to the invaluable volunteers and not least our sponsors, University of Chichester, Greenwood and the British Film Institute. What a year to remember!”

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Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.