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Borderlines – Cutting Edge Cinema

Save the date for the 17TH BORDERLINES FILM FESTIVAL, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Malvern, and the Welsh Marches.

Friday 1 – Sunday 17 March 2019 

Borderlines Film Festival: bringing cutting-edge cinema to the Welsh Borders

Early next spring Borderlines Film Festival returns to bring the best, most thought-provoking films from across the world to this intensely rural part of the country. From Friday 1 to Sunday 17 March the Festival will present more than 80 separate films and events in the counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire, extending to Malvern in Worcestershire and across the Welsh Border, at Hay, Presteigne and Knighton in Powys.

Screenings – more than 250 in number – will take place in multiple venues, ranging in size and location from a large, purpose-built arts centre and pop-ups in Hereford City, to theatres, community cinemas and assembly rooms in market towns, as well as village and church halls in much smaller rural communities.

Earlier in 2018, Borderlines achieved record attendances of 20,248 despite heavy snowfall over the middle weekend of the Festival. A loyal and appreciative audience that widens each year, values and engages with the opportunity to sit for 17 days at the very cutting edge of cinema.

Festival Director Naomi Vera-Sanso, “Our audience loves being part of a festival that is curated with cinema lovers rather than industry at its heart. Rural Borderlines may be, but it is in no sense parochial. The people who come to the Festival relish the stimulus of viewing the world from different perspectives through the medium of film.”

For the seventh consecutive year the Festival will be programmed by the Independent Cinema Office. The number of previews, titles screening at Borderlines prior to their UK release date, rises annually, comprising one third of the whole programme in 2018.

It is anticipated that previews at Borderlines 2019 will match or exceed last year’s total of 30. Among them will be The White Crow, the third and most ambitious feature yet from actor Ralph Fiennes. Written by playwright David Hare (The Reader, Denial) and set in Paris in 1961, it focuses on young ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, poised on the brink of defection from Russia to the West.

Other confirmed previews are three outstanding films by women directors. The Kindergarten Teacher (Sara Colangelo) stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, in arguably her best role, as a teacher who discovers her infant pupil to be a poetic prodigy. A dream-like fable startlingly yokes together past and the present in Happy as Lazzaro from the Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher (The Wonders). Girls of the Sun (Eva Husson), the true story of a battalion of women fighting extremists who have conquered their small Kurdish town, was in shown in competition at Cannes 2018.

Borderlines will open for the second year running with a prestigious red carpet Gala screening (title to be confirmed) on the evening of Friday 1 March at The Courtyard Hereford.

Many of the new releases that make up the programme are strong awards contenders, notably Adam McKay’s political satire, Vice, recently nominated for six Golden Globes, starring Christian Bale as former US vice president Dick Cheney. Green Book, also the recipient of multiple Golden Globe nominations, is a true story of friendship between an African-American concert pianist (Marhershala Ali) and his Italian-American chauffeur (Viggo Mortenson) in the Deep South of 1962.

Also likely to perform well are Barry Jenkins follow-up to Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk, adapted from the James Baldwin novel, and Kenneth Branagh’s All is True. Retelling the final years of Shakespeare’s life, this boasts an all-star British cast including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Branagh himself as Shakespeare.

is a contemporary and unclassifiable Swedish folk-tale that fuses comedy, fantasy, romance, thrills and horror. Tina is a customs officer with an extraordinary nose for sniffing out trouble who finds her match in the equally strange Vore.

Potential award-winners – The Wife, A Star is Born – abound too within the films showing across the Flicks in the Sticks network. Village hall promoters have the opportunity, within the festival structure of making more adventurous choices for their audiences with foreign language titles such as Shoplifters, Cold War, Wajib and Dogman in place for 2019.

A major strand for Borderlines 2019 will be Growing Up, a season of films that explore the complications, challenges – and joys – facing young people all over the world today as they come of age. In Beirut, impoverished 12-year-old Zain sets out to sue his parents for giving birth to him (Capernaum), while from Kenya Rafiki tackles the out-of bounds topic of lesbianism. The range of titles will be extensive.

A further theme in Borderlines 2019, Breaking the Taboo, investigates areas in mental health that are often off-limits. Irene’s Ghost follows a son’s search to find out more about the mother he never knew and the secrecy surrounding her death. Walking/talking therapies are explored in Evelyn by the family of a schizophrenic who took his own life. In I Made This for You, a man who has attempted suicide is surprised to discover that people have not given up on him after all.

As long as gender imbalance within the film industry persists, Borderlines will continue to adopt the F-Rated badging that highlights films directed or written by women. The 2019 programme will feature the output of many prominent female writer-directors, notably Nadine Labaki (Caramel) whose emotionally explosive Capernaum won the Jury Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and Carol Morley (The Falling) whose new offbeat noir thriller Out of Blue screens at the Festival.

Retrospectives for 2019 are the work of New German Cinema director Margarethe von Trotta, the first female director to win the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, alongside a celebration of the career of one of Britain’s greatest directors, the recently deceased Nicolas Roeg, introduced by his sometime film editor Tony Lawson.

Borderlines joins forces for the third year running with Bristol-based South West Silents to revisit the work of prolific silent film director Lois Weber with a screening of her 1921 feature The Blot with live piano accompaniment from Lillian Henley. At one time the highest paid director in Hollywood, now undeservedly forgotten, Weber made over 40 features and 100 short films during her career.

Following on from the huge success of documentary Stories from the Hop Yards, premiered at last year’s Borderlines, local production company Catcher Media gleans more treasures from the recently unearthed archive of photographer Derek Evans for a new film, Carousel. This second instalment of the Heritage Lottery Funded Project Herefordshire Life Through a Lens promises to present a rich and vibrant portrait of Herefordshire’s social, cultural and political life in the 1950s and ’60s, penetrating the thrills of the May Fair, the spills of Hereford Football Club and the mysteries of Fownhope’s Heart of Oak Walk.

The Rural Media Company will again join Borderlines for its annual showcase of work by young people taking part in the BFI Film Academy, and this will be complemented by a programme of short films curated by SHYPP (Supported Housing for Young People Project). Meanwhile, Herefordshire filmmakers have been invited to submit their work for screening at a special event to take place at Hereford’sriverside venue, The Left Bank.

Borderlines 2019 will also incorporate pop-ups in Hereford City, following on from the fledgling B2 Film Festival that took place in October, relaxed and dementia-friendly screenings and Saturday morning family films at the Courtyard Hereford.

Comedian Jo Brand returns to Borderlines to present the feature film based on her novel The More You Ignore Me (originally set on the Herefordshire/Shropshire border). Other invited guests include photographer and artist Richard Billingham with his gritty debut  feature Ray & Liz, esteemed editor Tony Lawson, and Paul Conroy , a war photographer who will take part in the Q&A for A Private War. Further guests will be revealed when the full programme is announced on Wednesday 23 January.

The  Central Box Office at The Courtyard in Hereford opens for bookings from 10am on Friday 25 January.

Keep up to date with the line up as it is announced.