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National Science and Media Museum

Widescreen Weekend 2017: full programme announced

Widescreen Weekend, the National Science and Media Museum’s world-renowned celebration of cinema technology past, present and future, today announces the programme for its 21st edition, featuring classics, blockbusters, restorations, never-seen-before shorts and anniversary screenings galore, all in widescreen format thanks to the museum’s unique cinema facilities.

Over four days (12–15 October 2017), special guests promise a unique insight into many varied aspects of film production. They include Gregory Orr, whose grandfather—Jack L. Warner—was President of Warner Brothers studios. Gregory would go on to become an award-winning filmmaker, and he discovered his passion for motion pictures while visiting the sets of classics such as My Fair Lady and Camelot in the golden age of widescreen.

Gregory said:

“It’s a very different business today than the one created by my family, but the goal is the same: to inspire, to delight, to inform, and to thrill an audience as the movies have done for generations.”

He joins the festival from New York to take part in an onstage interview, followed by a special screening of the 50th anniversary restoration of My Fair Lady (1964) starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn.

As part of BAFTA’s 70th anniversary celebrations, BAFTA at 70, award-winning costume designer Jane Petrie will be talking to film critic and journalist Anna Smith about her experience working on titles including Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Moon and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Her event is followed by the acclaimed sci-fi thriller Moon (2009) directed by Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey. The event is supported by the BFI and the Heritage Lottery Fund (both awarding funds from the National Lottery), the Independent Cinema Office and Into Film.

The festival also welcomes acclaimed film historian, documentary maker, filmmaker, and author Kevin Brownlow. Kevin will deliver a special talk on his incredible 50-year quest to restore Abel Gance’s five-and-a-half-hour silent masterpiece Napoléon (1927), which features one of the earliest uses of widescreen.

Smash hit Dunkirk, written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance, kicks off proceedings on Thursday 12 October 2017, with a 70mm widescreen presentation, highlighting its incredible cinematography. Film historian, author and Widescreen Weekend guest curator Sir Christopher Frayling will introduce the opening night film.

The closing night screening is David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962) from a new 70mm restoration print, also introduced by Sir Christopher, in the centenary year of the Battle of Aqaba, which is famously depicted in the film.

Festival director Kathryn Penny said:

“The Widescreen Weekend is just that—big, grand and spectacular. Widescreen films immerse you in visuals, story and sound unlike any other medium, and these four days offer an experience you will be hard pushed to find anywhere else in the world.”

This year the festival introduces a new event—Celluloid Saturday (14 October 2017), a whole day dedicated to a genuine celebration of movies from many genres. All share the fact they will be shown from film reels, using the skill of projectionists and giving audiences an unrivalled insight into the heart and soul of widescreen films. Titles include:

  • The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962). Showing in 3-strip Cinerama, a widescreen process launched in 1952 that projects film simultaneously from three synchronized 35mm projectors onto a huge, deeply curved screen. The National Science and Media Museum’s Pictureville cinema is one of only three cinemas in the world that can show 3-strip Cinerama.
  • Jailhouse Rock (1957) 60th Anniversary Screening. Shot in black and white Cinemascope, Jailhouse Rock was Elvis Presley’s third film but arguably his most famous. Elvis steals the show as Vince, a construction worker sentenced to jail for manslaughter, who rises to fame after learning to sing and play guitar from fellow cellmate and country singer Hunk Houghton (Mickey Shaughnessy).
  • The Untouchables (1987) 30th Anniversary Screening. Celebrating director Brian De Palma’s gangster movie with a screening of a rare 70mm print. A lavish production, this gangster classic stands out as one of the most enjoyable blockbusters of the 80s, as well as providing an Oscar for Sean Connery and making a superstar of Kevin Costner.
  • Suspiria (1977) 40th Anniversary Screening. After 40 years director Dario Argento’s masterpiece of Italian horror still terrifies audiences today, and is recognised as a cult classic and influencer in the horror genre.

Other notable films showing in the festival include a family screening of Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959). Now hailed as one of the best animated features ever made, Sleeping Beauty is a timeless classic and marks Widescreen Weekend’s first animated feature. Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich (1958) is a new Cinerama restoration, digitally revived from the original Cinerama 3-panel elements. The restoration team Randy Gitsch and Dave Strohmaier have rejuvenated the colour, the music and the artistry of this film depicting a magnificent Norwegian square-rigger sailing a 17,500-mile-journey. Screening is supported by Cinerama, Inc.

The IMIS (International Moving Image Society) Student Widescreen Film of the Year Competition once again celebrates new talent in widescreen filmmaking. The 2017 competition continues to showcase the best of the next generation of filmmakers who demonstrate widescreen values. With hundreds of submissions coming from around the world, a selected shortlist competes for the prestigious Student Widescreen Film of the Year Award.

Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara’s moving short film A Love Story was shortlisted for last year’s Student Widescreen Competition and went on to win this year’s BAFTA for Best Short Animation. Anushka returns to Widescreen Weekend to discuss her journey from being a student at the National Film and Television school to winning her first BAFTA in her talk Beginner to Winner

Full Widescreen Weekend passes, giving unlimited access to all four days of the event, are on sale until 15 September 2017 (£120 each, concessions available). Day Passes for Celluloid Saturday are also on sale (£35 each, concessions available). Tickets for individual screenings and events will be on sale from 18 September 2017.


Notes for editors

Press contact: Phil Oates / 01274 203 317

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults, including the recently opened Wonderlab gallery. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

Widescreen Weekend partners and supporters

Based at the world famous Pinewood Film Studios, the International Moving Image Society—and its predecessor, BKSTS—is a long established and respected professional body. It has an international professional membership employed in the craft, technical, operational and management grades of the moving image production industries. Its Accreditation scheme and work with film and media production university departments, and students, spans decades.

The Midland Hotel: Festival attendees receive a discounted rate at the festival hotel, the Midland Hotel. Situated in the heart of Bradford and only 100m from Bradford Forster Square Station, the Midland Hotel is one of the city’s finest Victorian buildings and includes magnificent public areas, spacious bedrooms and 24-hour room service.

Bradford City of Film: Bradford is the world's first UNESCO City of Film. This permanent title bestows international recognition on Bradford as a world centre for film because of the city’s rich film heritage, its inspirational movie locations and its many celebrations of the moving image through the city’s annual film festivals and film-related events.