Hebden Bridge Arts Festival


Small town, big screen
for indie film-makers

June 13, 2006

Mozart, Chernobyl and Palestine are the subjects of three ground-breaking films receiving a rare showing during this year’s Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

“Small cinemas are hard-to-find gems these days, but Hebden Bridge is lucky to have The Picture House and a fantastic programme of films, including many that you just don’t get to see at the multiplexes,” says festival organiser Enid Stephenson. “So, we’re delighted that some top indie film-makers have chosen to screen here during the Arts Festival.”

In Search of Mozart (PG), described by Sir Roger Norrington as “the most comprehensive film about Mozart”, is award-winning filmmaker Phil Grabsky's long-awaited feature-length documen­tary.

Produced in association with some of the world's leading orchestras, opera houses, ensembles and soloists, the film travels 25,000 miles through Europe for a refreshing and in-depth look at the real life and world of Johannes Chrisostomos Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart.

The film is narrated by Juliet Stevenson, with Samuel West as the voice of Mozart, and features performances and interviews with more than 70 of the world's most significant artistes.

What drives a young, well-education Westerner to volunteer as a peace activist in the Middle East? This is the theme of Visit Palestine (15), with its harrowing frontline footage and intimate character portraits.

The Guardian described it as “raw, urgent movie-making” and the July 9 screening will be followed by a chance to ask questions of director Katie Barlow.

The third in the trio of indie films is Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl, filmed and directed by Phil Grabsky and David Bickerstaff. Mario Petrucci's award-winning book-length poem forms the narrative backbone of the film, which tells the story of the explosion and its catastrophic aftermath.

Over a year in the making, the result is an intensely moving film which, rather than relating the technical details of the world's biggest ever industrial accident, emphasises the effect of the disaster on the people of Chernobyl.

The film, showing at Hebden Bridge’s Little Theatre, will be introduced by Phil Grabsky and Mario Petrucci, and there will be a question and answer session after the showing.

The festival opens from July 1 with two days of fun street entertainment and runs until July 16. This year’s festival boasts more than 80 events – ranging from ground-breaking theatre and literary events to internationally acclaimed rap, world and classical music.

Programmes and booking forms are available from the festival office on Albert Street, Hebden Bridge or by calling 01422 842684. Details and regular news bulletins can also of course be found here at

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