Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2011 Full Programme Announcement


Berwick-upon-Tweed Film & Media Arts Festival
Once Upon a Time: Friday 23 – Sunday 25 September

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival reveals a magical programme!

The 7th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is set to return, celebrating the art of film over one action-packed weekend, Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th Sep. Using Berwick-upon-Tweed as the perfect setting, and The Maltings Theatre & Cinema as a hub, the Festival invites you to join the adventure in various locations across the town, with new venues including Café Curio, a bistro-cum-antique sellers, and the recently restored Dewar’s Lane Granary. Today the Festival announces its full programme, in line with its theme – Once Upon a Time – as it explores the enchantment of fairy tales on film, from one of the very first examples of the genre, Alice in Wonderland (1903) through to the modern day, through its opening film, the World Premiere of I Am Nasrine (2011). The programme ventures into fantasy worlds with the likes of The Blue Bird (1918), which closes the Festival as part of a live event. Meanwhile Mastering Bambi (2010), which screens as an installation, represents a darker re-mastering of an original Disney tale. The event also features work inspired by local folklore through the Festival’s specially commissioned 3D animated projection, Penumbra (2011) by County Durham-based Gareth Hudson & Jack Burton, and through Mare (2011), the World Premiere of a short performance film by Faroese artists, Marianna Mørkøre & Rannvá Káradóttir, commissioned by Northumberland County Council and filmed on the nearby coastline.

Another Festival commission supported by Arts Council England, entitled Maria by Berlin-based artist Darren Johnston, sees a hologram projection in Bankhill Ice House depicting a flamenco dancer as she slowly emerges from the darkness to reveal an unexpected other world. The event invites you to watch the magic unfold through a series of feature film screenings, short film programmes, artists’ video installations, live events and specially commissioned pieces. It also encourage you to take part - to meet the storytellers and tell your own stories - with something for everyone, from the very young to the young at heart.


The Festival opens with a World Premiere!

The Festival is set to open with the World Premiere of I Am Nasrine – a “love song to the North East.

Directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Tina Gharavi and produced in the North East by her Newcastle-based production company Bridge + Tunnel, I Am Nasrine (2011) is the latest feature film to come out of the region – and set to tour film festivals world-wide!

The film is an intimate coming-of-age story following Nasrine and her brother Ali, as they flee their home in Tehran and set out to make another in the North East of England. Swept along by a dynamic soundtrack and a captivating performance by newcomer Micsha Sadeghi as the title character, I Am Nasrine is a startlingly beautiful and profound telling of the modern day refugee experience. Supporting cast includes first-time actress Nichole Hall from the North East and Harry Potter’s Christian Coulson.

Sir Ben Kingsley has championed the film personally, claiming I Am Nasrine to be “an important and much needed film.

Director Tina Gharavi, producers James Baillie and Gerry Maguire, as well as the film’s cast and crew will be present to introduce the film on stage at The Maltings Theatre & Cinema, on Friday 23rd September at 7pm.


Other premieres include:

Another feature film being premiered that weekend is Hello! How Are You? (2010) from Romania and fresh from screening at Karlovy Vary Film Festival. A bittersweet romance of the modern age, he film features a middle aged couple whose stale relationship leads each of them into the world of internet dating – only to find each other. With humour provided by the couple’s libidinous teenage son, Hello! How Are You? is being talked about as Romania’s first comedy in years.

The Artists’ Trail also offers the first chance in the UK to see the latest works by influential avant-garde animator Lawrence Jordan from the USA, and from established video artist Erwin Olaf from the Netherlands. Jordan’s 16mm adventure, Solar Sight, and Olaf’s take on a 19th Century costume drama, La Tristesse Riche, both screen as looped installations in the Town Hall Prison Cells all weekend.


And for all the family…

The Festival offers a whole host of activities for children, young people and their families on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September at The Maltings Theatre & Cinema.

Highlights on Saturday 24th September include Moomins and the Midsummer Madness (2009), where the Finnish fuzzy felt animated family are back for a new magical adventure based on Tove Jansson's well-loved books. Alternatively, come see Arrietty (2010), the latest tale from Studio Ghibli and based on Mary Norton’s ‘The Borrowers’. Or get creative - by drawing, painting and scratching directly onto 16mm cells along with Unravel: the Longest Hand-Painted Film in Britain, which is free, and open to everyone. The World Premiere of a 14min version of the 16-hour epic will be projected as a looped installation in the Town Hall Prison Cells throughout the weekend.

The Festival will also showcase the works of children and young people as part of the Chris Anderson Award – a competition for young filmmakers based in North East England and the Scottish Borders, with an opportunity to win a cash prize towards their next film as well as a guaranteed screening at Leeds Young People’s Film Festival – one of the largest young people’s film festivals in the UK!

On Sunday 25th, led by commissioned video artist, Gareth Hudson, the Festival offers a stop-motion Animation Workshop designed to let your imaginations run wild! While another specially commissioned workshop on Saturday gives children the opportunity to play with green screen technology, inspired by The Ice Book, a pop-up theatre performance of light and shadow, which runs as an installation on Saturday 24th.

The Grand Finale

The Festival is set to close with a live event at 7.30pm at the Maltings Theatre & Cinema, with a screening of a classic film from the silent era, The Blue Bird (1918). A magical tale of two poor children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, who are led by the fairy Berylune into various fantastical lands in the search for the blue bird of happiness. This stunning silent movie, preserved with original tinting, will be accompanied by Carl Heslop from County Durham, whose Compton Organ was recently restored to its former glory having been found abandoned in Berwickshire.

Booking Info:

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 30th September, from and from the Maltings Theatre & Cinema’s Box Office: Eastern Lane, Berwick-upon-tweed, Northumberland, TD15 1AJ, UK.

Box Office: 01289 330999

Tickets are priced as shown, and are subject to a 50p online booking fee.
The Festival Pass, priced at £20 / £15 concessions, offers entry to all films (excluding The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, satellite events and workshops). Entry to the Artists’ Trail is free, with no need to book.


Travel Info:

To find out about getting to Berwick, including special coaches running directly to the Festival from Newcastle Central Station, and back again, for only £5, go to

Return to the press release archive