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Film Festivals & Conferences plus Special Screenings with Live Music

Big Screen Times

There have been several film festivals or related events I’ve been involved in such as the Anthony Minghella Retrospective, Hull Noir Festival, This Way Up Film Conference, City of Cinema and special screenings of Tuvalu & The Abominable Dr.Phibes with live score.

This page focuses mainly on the Hull Film Festival, Substance Film Festival and film screenings with live music.

Hull Film Festival included a programme of 30 films from 10 different countries, including an English premiere, some Yorkshire premieres, post-film Q&As plus very special guests.

I worked with the team at Hull Independent Cinema in partnership with Sheffield Doc Fest to programme some of the festival’s highlights, including three exclusive maritime-themed documentaries (Chasing Coral, The Gaze of the Sea, and Dreamboat) to tie in with Hull’s sea-faring history.

There was also the highly-anticipated documentary David Lynch: The Art Life, exploring the mind of the eccentric Twin Peaks director; narrated by David Lynch himself. Zoology, directed by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy, told the story of a middle-aged zoo worker stuck in a life with no surprises until one day, she grows a tail and turns her life around.

The trailer for the 2017 film festival

Thomas Kruithof’s thriller Scribe captured the tale of a middle-aged man whose job is to transcribe telephone calls – until one seems to end in murder. Then, given the connection with Hull, it made sense to show Jon Brewer’s documentary Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story – an intimate view into the life and work of Michael “Mick” Ronson, the guitarist/songwriter/producer and arranger and one of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars, and who also came from Hull.

Many film events took place across the city in 2017

Taking inspiration from the northern landscape, Substance Film Festival aimed to connect, engage and celebrate all things Northern.

From narratives based in inner-city neighbourhoods, to stories that draw parallels with other countries, these unique screenings offer personal perspectives in a universal world. The question was: what does it mean to be Northern in a globalised world?

There was a compelling line-up of 16 short films, curated by the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in four strands over four evenings.

Some of the films included were Place is a State of Mind exploring physical and abstract theories on the notion of place; Allegory Of A Jam Jar, about a businessman on the verge of a nervous breakdown; A Long Walk To Grimethrope which saw composer Joe Snape journey from Sheffield to Grimethorpe, tuba and sound recorder in hand, as he aims to find inspiration for a new piece of music; Human Stories reminding us of our humanity and how individual stories help us to relate to one another; and Complex Relationships looking at the dynamic nature of family relationships.

Each night included a panel Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening, which made for a lively and stimulating series of events.

Special Screenings with Live Music

The film Tuvalu with live score by Mr. Lee and IvaneSky

The first screening with live score was a unique adventure with a ground-breaking water-themed combination of film, music and audience participation.

Tuvalu, a modern silent film by German director Veit Helmer, received a new live soundtrack by Mr Lee & IvaneSky from Croatia. The event required volunteers to play their unusual handmade instruments – empty water bottles – and all attendees became part of the score using their mobile phones, with interactive elements that cued the audience and contribute to the soundtrack by cheering, clapping, gargling water and more…

Tuvulu screening with live performance preview film

Tuvalu was part of Live Cinema EU, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. It was made possible by by Live Cinema UK and Motovun Film Festival supported by the BFI in partnership with Film Hub North, and as part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network led by Showroom Workstation. With thanks to Anna Plant.

There was also a showing of the cult classic horror flick from 1971 – The Abominable Dr Phibes – directed by Robert Fuest and with a Basil Kirchin soundtrack.

This quintessential British horror film follows the title character (played by Vincent Price) – a theologian and musician – who believes incompetent doctors killed his wife and plots his revenge using methods inspired by the OId Testament’s Ten Plagues of Egypt.

Supported by the British Film Institute, this film screening was accompanied by live music from keyboard specialist Alexander Hawkins, played on the mighty Hull City Hall pipe organ.

The film was part of the Mind on the Run Festival for which I was a producer.

The influential This Way Up film conference held in Hull
Hull Noir Festival celebrated the life and work of one of the most influential of noir authors, Ted Lewis.
Aesthetica Magazine curated the films for Substance Film Festival