The Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival has announced the full program line-up for the 18th edition of the festival, which will take place March 3-5. The festival champions films and filmmakers who push the boundaries of genre, form and convention to surprise expectations and enliven audience relationships with cinema.
The festival continues to explore what moving images can be and what they can do to help us navigate the increasingly fractured and perplexing world we all live in. With new funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority to reach more audiences, as well as renewed funding from partners including Arts Council England, BFI Audience Fund (awarding funds from the National Lottery) and Northumberland County Council, the festival has created a fully in-person program of screening events and exhibitions taking place across the town.
“We could not be more excited to welcome audiences back to our fully in-person festival this year,” said Peter Taylor, director of the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival. “As our new Spring festival dates promise, the festival has a new energy and a new lease of life and one which is reflected in a program of screenings and events which is just as eclectic and exciting as ever. Across the town, we look forward to collectively sharing these new and retrospective works with cinema-lovers as well as offering up more than a few surprises along the way.”
Jane Tarr, director north, Arts Council England said “Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival has long been a pioneer in bringing the best and most exciting work in film and moving image to the North East and I’m delighted that we are continuing to support the festival as a National Portfolio Organization for 2023/26. The program for this year’s festival is no exception and is all the more thrilling for being fully in person again; I’m looking forward to attending some of the events and exhibitions myself.”
This year’s Opening Night ceremonies will include the UK premiere of Anerca, Breath of Life (2022) by Finnish father and son filmmaking team of Markku and Johannes Lehmuskallio. The film documents the singing, dancing, and forms of contemporary living amongst indigenous peoples living in the Arctic Circle. Anerca means soul, or the breath of life that binds individuals and communities.
This year’s Closing Night film is the UK premiere of the smart, funny, and razor-sharp satire Arnold is a Model Student (2022). Inspired by the Bad Student movement calling for educational reform in Thailand, the film follows the titular protagonist as he joins forces with an underground syndicate of misfits helping students cheat on their exams. This subversive debut feature from Sorayos Prapapan moves deftly between moments of absurdist humor and heartfelt, urgent gestures of cinematic protest.
The festival is organized into regular strands including the New Cinema Awards which celebrates some of the most distinctive works of new cinema and artists’ moving image. Uniquely, all selected filmmakers in this strand receive an award rather than a single winner chosen by a jury.
Passes to the weekend are now on sale and along with travel and accommodation details are available via the BFMAF website here. Individual tickets for the festival go on sale in early February and are frozen at 2019 prices.