The National Science and Media Museum’s world-renowned celebration of cinema technology, announces the programme for its 22nd edition of Widescreen Weekend (11-14 October 2018); featuring special guests, classic films, blockbusters, restorations, and anniversary screenings galore, all showing in widescreen format thanks to the museum’s unique cinema facilities.
The festival opens with a 50th anniversary screening of Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western, Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), the movie that Quentin Tarantino credits with inspiring him to take up filmmaking. Showing from a 35mm print, it also launches a strand of Westerns selected by guest curator and cinema historian Sir Christopher Frayling, including a three-strip Cinerama screening of the epic How the West Was Won (1962), Forty Guns (1957), as well as a modern interpretation of the genre – the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men (2007).
Christopher Frayling, who will introduce the opening night film among others, said: “On the big screen, Once Upon a Time in the West – Leone’s masterpiece – is a powerful aural and visual experience: watching it in 2018, as part of the Widescreen Weekend festival, is a very stylish way of celebrating its 50th anniversary.”
Closing the festival is another 50th anniversary screening: the film that made Barbra Streisand a star – Funny Girl (1968, dir William Wyler) – introduced by comedian and actress Maureen Younger. Maureen will draw on her own experiences as she gives a lively introduction to this Oscar winning tale of the life of Fanny Brice.
Other special guests over the four days include Walt Disney Studios’ Director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, who will be discussing the importance of protecting the artistry of historic films for current and future generations to enjoy. As well as giving a fascinating insight into Disney’s commitment to safeguarding original sounds and pictures from its archive, Theo will be introducing Lady and the Tramp restored from 64-year-old Cinemascope negatives and magnetic sound masters.
Hollywood VFX Artist Carin Anne Strohmaier (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future II, Forest Gump, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) will be introducing a screening of Contact (1997), one of the films she worked on with director Robert Zemeckis. Carin Anne’s event is also part of the 2018 festival’s focus on Women in Widescreen, as 2018 marks 100 years of women’s suffrage.
The festival will take a closer look at female representation in film, both on and off-screen, and guest speakers include broadcaster, journalist and self-confessed Western enthusiast, Samira Ahmed; Dr Eileen Rositzka, researcher at the Cinepoetics Center for Advanced Film Studies (Freie Universität Berlin); Annabel Grundy, Major Programmes Manager at the Film Audience Network; and Melanie Iredale, Deputy Director of Doc/Fest.
Festival director, Kathryn Penny, said: “This year, in addition to the usual stunning visual experience offered by the Widescreen Weekend, we will be welcoming back Sir Christopher Frayling to give us his fascinating insight into of one of cinema’s defining genres – the Western. We will also be welcoming a number of women with very different roles in the industry to discuss and debate how women are represented on and off screen.”
Returning for its second outing is Celluloid Saturday (Saturday 13 October) – a whole day dedicated to watching film on celluloid and the skill of projectionists, which proved very popular last year. A mix of classic, cult and critically acclaimed movies feature, including:
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000, dir Ang Lee) the epic ‘Wuxia’ (‘martial heroes’) film featuring Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi as standout lead characters; Flatliners (1990), Joel Schumacher’s dark, brat-pack, era thriller about a group of medical students experimenting with near-death experiences; Deaf Mute Heroine (1971, dir Wu Ma) another female hero takes centre stage in this influential martial arts adventure; and Year of the Dragon, Michael Cimino’s 1985 gangland action adventure, starring Mickey Rourke.
In addition to the extensive range of films, Widescreen Weekend and the National Science and Media Museum have the privilege of being part of the first ever UK tour of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities programme. A specially selected mix of virtual reality experiences, artistic artificial intelligence, and interactive and immersive story worlds will be presented free-of-charge in Bradford, in the build up to and during the festival. The tour is supported by Arts Council England.
Other films showing in the festival include one of the pictures that established cinema as a recognised artform, François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962), the title that’s considered one of the best racing car movies ever made – Grand Prix (1966, dir John Frankenheimer), a new 4k restoration of Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning The Apartment (1960) and It’s Always Fair Weather, the 1955 musical co-directed by and starring Gene Kelly, with an introduction by film score composer Gary Yershon.
Finally, the Student Widescreen Film of the Year Competition will once again nurture new talent in widescreen filmmaking with short film screenings and an awards ceremony.
Full Widescreen Weekend passes, giving unlimited access to all four days of the event, are on sale until 31 August 2018 (£120 each, concessions available). Day Passes for Celluloid Saturday are also on now sale (£40 each, concessions available). Tickets for individual screenings and events will be on sale from 3 September.