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Saturday, 6 April 2024

Film Festival

Hebden Bridge Film Festival 2024

Festival Wraps with Record Numbers and Emotional Highlights

The fifth annual Hebden Bridge Film Festival, which took place at Hebden Bridge Picture House and Hebden Bridge Town Hall from 15-17 March celebrated international film and brought a record number of 2673 viewers to the Calder Valley for a weekend of entertainment, excitement and emotion.

An army of enthusiastic volunteers supported the screening of 16 films from a range of international directors and home-grown talent to the delight of audiences over the three-day event as well as having two high profile Industry events with internationally renowned filmmakers Jeanie Finlay, Kim Hopkins and Magareta Szabo. The short film competition, held for the first time at the Hebden Bridge Picture House, featured eleven short films and welcomed filmmakers from around the UK.

Louise Wadley, Hebden Bridge Film Festival Director said, "This year has seen us welcome more film loving audience members than ever before. The exceptional programme featured a host of award-winning international films and offered a real mix of thought provoking, emotional documentaries, heart-warming shorts and entertaining feature films. It was fantastic for us and our guests to feel a welcome from the local residents and businesses that only the Calder valley can offer"

Alongside the screenings, festival goers had the opportunity to attend Q&A sessions and panel discussions with special guests, including film directors, actors, writers and producers.

Highlights of this year's festival included:

Kicking off the opening night with a sold out COPA 71 at the Picture House followed by a live and in person Q and A, featuring the 'lost lionesses'' from the film, Chris Lockwood, Gill Sayell and Leah Caleb from the original 1971 England Women's World Cup team and two ex-England players - the first black woman to represent England and still one of the highest goal scorers in the Women's' game, Kerry Davis and Hebden Bridge's own Issy Pollard.

The audience loved the electric atmosphere and after a truly unforgettable night, voted COPA 71 the winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature Length Film.

Additionally, the women footballers gave young people from the Calder Valley including students from Ravenscliffe and the Hebden Bridge Saints U15 girls team, the treat of a lifetime with a private meet and greet after the screening. The Saints were so inspired they won their quarter final the next day and clinched the league title 2 weeks later with a re-sounding 8.0 defeat of their rivals.

Saturday saw the UK premiere of world renowned artist Angus MacDonald's award winning documentary "Freedom is Beautiful", an uplifting story of the power of love, hope and our shared humanity as Kurdish refugees Farhad Bandesh and Mostafa (Moz) Azimitabar flee persecution from Iran to Australia. The screening was preceded by an enchanting performance of Kurdish music and followed by a Q&A with Angus MacDonald (director) and Farhad Bandesh, one of the Kurdish refugees who's story was featured in the film.

The captivating "Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry," a Georgian gem by the talented Elene Naveriani, clinched the coveted feature film of the festival prize. Audiences were enthralled with this mesmerising work of cinema.

Shorts on stage

For the Shorts Competition, the Vocation sponsored first prize went to Sarah Myland's "Private View" featuring artist Sadie Lee while the Fox and Goose 2nd prize was awarded to Julia Zlotnick's original and distictive "Seeking Thomas". Matthew Reese's poignant short film "How To Build A Life," a heartfelt portrayal of his brother's journey with Asperger's, won the prestigious Audience Award at Sunday night's screening of our short film selection!

That's a wrap on the 2024 festival. Be the first to hear about future festivals by signing up to the festival mailing list at the Film Festival website.