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The museum, IMAX and Pictureville are temporarily closed. Find out about our major transformation.

Widescreen Weekend film festival to celebrate the 70th anniversary of pioneering CinemaScope 

  • Festival returns to the National Science and Media Museum’s Pictureville Cinema from the 28 September – 2 October 
  • Festival will open with first South Asian film to be in CinemaScope  
  • Pictureville Cinema is now the only place in the world to see Cinerama  
  • Full festival programme and passes are available online now  

Widescreen Weekend film festival will return for its 27th edition this autumn with a programme showcasing the pioneering process of CinemaScope, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary.  
 
From Thursday 28 September – Monday 2 October, festivalgoers can explore screen history and cinema technology with a programme of big, bold cinema experiences, celebrating the past, present and future of film.  
 
This year’s festival will pay homage to CinemaScope, a process that dominated cinema in the 1950s and 1960s. The process was created in reaction to the growth of television, with the aim to entice audiences back to the cinema with a more immersive viewing experience.  
 
The festival will open with a special screening of Kaagaz Ke Phool or Paper Flowers (1959), the first South Asian film to be in CinemaScope. This heartfelt story is told in black and white and was widely considered to be ahead of its time.  
 
Other key titles include screenings of The Robe (1953), the first film to be released in CinemaScope, and Lady and the Tramp (1955), the first animation using the process. The festival will also spotlight international adaptations of the process, including the French ‘Franscope’, with a screening of The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), as well as Japan’s ‘TohoScope’, with The Hidden Fortress (1958). 
 
Celebrating some of the trailblazing actors of this era of cinema, the Queens of the Scope Age strand will spotlight Joanne Woodward, Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons, and Hideko Takamine, with screenings of No Down Payment (1957), Guys and Dolls (1955), Bonjour Tristesse (1958), and When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960).  
 
On Saturday 30 September, the festival will also host its first overnight movie marathon. Festivalgoers can experience all three of the extended cuts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy back-to-back. This not to be missed event will show the films on Pictureville Cinema’s unique curved Cinerama screen, the last of its kind in the world, providing a truly unique and immersive experience.  
 
With Pictureville cinema now the only place in the world to see Cinerama, the festival programme will feature opportunities to see this cinematic spectacle in both analogue and digital formats. There will be a series of one-off Cinerama screenings, including Windjammer: The Voyage of Christian Radich (1958) and by popular demand, Battle of the Bulge (1965), the latter also marking the 100th anniversary of Warner Brothers.  
 
A further series of special events and screenings will also be announced later this summer. The festival will also be heading out into the city, with a series of double bills screening at Bradford Playhouse, as well as other community screenings throughout the weekend.  
 
Commenting on this year’s programme, Sally Folkard, Head of Screen and Cultural Engagement, said: “We are thrilled that Widescreen Weekend Festival is returning this autumn with a packed programme celebrating a diverse range of stories from around the world. This year’s programme is particularly special as it marks the 70th anniversary of CinemaScope, a process which dominated cinema in its golden age. We’re excited to be opening the festival with a screening of Kaagaz Ke Phool the first South Asian film to be made in CinemaScope, it’s a beautiful film and a real treat for audiences to see it on the big screen. Our programme allows festivalgoers to be immersed in truly unique cinema experiences, including being able to see Cinerama in the last remaining venue in the world to screen it. We already have a fantastic lineup of speakers and special events confirmed and will announce more very soon, so watch this space.”
 
The full Widescreen Weekend programme and passes are available on the National Science and Media Museum website.
 
The National Science and Media Museum is currently closed to the public until summer 2024 to undergo a £6m once-in-a-generation transformation. Thanks to support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and money raised by National Lottery players, the major Sound and Vision project will create two new galleries, an additional passenger lift and an enhanced foyer space. In addition to funding received from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project also has support from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2022-24, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and the Science Museum Group, which the National Science and Media Museum is a part of.  
 
Throughout the period of closure, Pictureville Cinema and Bar will remain open seven days a week with an enhanced programme of film screenings.  
 
Ends

Notes to Editors  

For more information, interviews, and images please contact Katie Canning, Communications Manager on katie.canning@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk or (0)1274 203027 
 
A press pack of images is available to download.
 
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. It draws on more than three million objects from its national collection to explore the science and culture of image and sound technologies, and their impact on our lives.   
   
The museum creates special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults, and is home to Pictureville, Yorkshire’s biggest independent cinema with three screens including the most immersive IMAX in the region and the only public Cinerama venue in the world.  
 
Please note, the museum is now temporarily closed to the public until summer 2024 to undergo a ‘once-in-a-generation’ transformation. Pictureville Cinema and Bar will remain open 7 days a week. For more information and updates on re-opening, please visit our website.

Widescreen Weekend 2023 supporters 

Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Cinerama Inc, Leonardo Hotels