INTERVIEW: Tyne Valley Film Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Chasing Ice

An eclectic, community-programmed festival that brings together rural film clubs and community organisations for a celebration of film, Tyne Valley Film Festival is returning from Thursday 19th-Sunday 29th March after the massive success of their first event last year.

This time boasting thirty screenings across fourteen unique venues and a sweeping range of films that span the history of cinema, David Nixon, Programme and Communication Manager at Forum Cinema Hexham, is enthusiastic about the imminent return of the festival. “With a truly diverse programme of films and events, taking place across the whole of the Tyne Valley, we believe there is something for everyone, whether you’re a certified cinephile or occasional cinema-goer.”

Opening in 1937, Forum Cinema Hexham is Northumberland’s only full-time independent cinema. It is owned by the local community, showing a diverse programme that includes recent releases, world cinema and live broadcasts, acting as a hub for film in Hexham and the Tyne Valley Film Festival.

From silent-era classics through contemporary foreign language and everything in between, the 2020 programme features films from a total of nine countries, with at least one film plucked from every decade between 1910 and 2020. Part of Great Northumberland’s Winter Festival, local support includes a large number of community organisations including Hexham Book Festival, Nordic Voices, Hexham and District Photographic Society and others, and a vast range of venues including Tarset Village Hall, the General Havelock pub, and even the Old Booking Hall at Haltwhistle Train Station. “We love collaborating with other community organisations and venues,” said David, “and Tyne Valley Film Festival allows us to work together to sustain and grow film-related activity across the region.”

Tyne Valley Film Festival allows us to work together to sustain and grow film-related activity across the region

The festival kicks off on Thursday 19th with Chasing Ice – a visually stunning documentary which follows the efforts of nature photographer James Balog to publicise the effects of climate change in the Arctic. The screening will be accompanied by a talk from award-winning author Horatio Clare about his latest novel Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North, followed the next day by a screening of the as-yet-unconquerable Greatest Film Ever Made (TM) Citizen Kane on 35mm.

Taking advantage of the bounty of beautiful venues in the region, the stunning Hexham Abbey will welcome Jonathan Eyre on Saturday 21st to accompany a specially restored reissue of 1929’s The Phantom of the Opera, with a thrilling a live organ score, before handing over to Audrey Hepburn on the Saturday 28th for an afternoon tea-accompanied screening of iconic Audrey Hepburn rom-com Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

With a packed programme including riotous Serbian comedy Black Cat, White Cat; new documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy Blache; thirties British railway comedy Oh Mr Porter!; rock musical Tommy with live music by The Parkers; the story of ‘the black Beatles’ in Everything; documentary Searching for Light with director Q&A and Portrait of a Lady on Fire – one of the year’s best films – closing proceedings, all this and much, much more fills out what is sure to be an unforgettable sophomore year for the festival.

Tyne Valley Film Festival takes place at various venues from Thursday 19th-Sunday 29th March

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