Kevin Brownlow with his Oscar statuette at the inaugural, 2012, Wells Film Festival. He will be back to present a selection of British documentary makers' work at the second festival. Picture by Matthew Usher

Best of British theme for second Wells Film Festival

Thursday, January 3, 2013
11.43 AM

Action... take two! Get ready for the second Wells Film Festival.

It will run at the Granary Theatre from Friday to Sunday, March 1-3, and follows the success of the inaugural one held last year by the Screen-next-the-Sea team in the town.

Organisers were bowled over by the success of that festival, which had a comedy theme and also included the rare appearance in Wells of a real Oscar statuette.

That was owned by Kevin Brownlow, who received his honorary Academy Award in 2010 for his role in preserving precious film and cinema history, especially the heritage of the silent movies era.

Kevin has since agreed to be Screen-next-the-Sea’s patron, and he will be back for the second festival to present a selection of films by British documentary-makers.

The 2013 festival theme will be Best of British, featuring locations dotted across the British Isles and films dating from the 1960s to the present day.

Joolz Saunders, of Screen-next-the-Sea, said the success of the inaugural event surpassed the organisers’ wildest dreams, not least because it had attracted the interest of film-lovers from right across Norfolk.

“We were just ecstatic,” she said. “We could not believe that it would take off in the way that it did, and that is the reason why we have decided to do another one this year.”

Originally, the aim had been to run a festival at Wells maybe every other year, since organisation took a great deal of work for the small Screen-next-the Scene team. “But the pressure was too great, so here we go!” said Joolz.

Festival events will get under way on the Friday with the 2010 coming-of-age movie, Submarine, set in Swansea, and the 2011 BAFTA-winning drama, Tyrannosaur (Leeds/Wakefield).

The three films lined up for the Saturday are the 2012 thriller, Shadow Dancer, set in Belfast; Ken Loach’s 2012 comedy drama, The Angels’ Share (Glasgow); and Peace and Conflict, Tony Britten’s drama documentary about the Norfolk schooldays of Benjamin Britten.

The setting for that is Gresham’s School, which the composer attended in the late-1920s, and several of the young actors cast as characters were present-day pupils when the location cameras rolled at Holt a while back.

Among those chosen to perform were 18-year-old former Gresham’s student Chris Theobald, from Wells, who was cast as the future traitor and Soviet spy, Donald Maclean.

Tony Britten is to lead a question-and-answer session at Wells Film Festival.

The programme for the last day will include Kevin Brownlow’s documentaries presentation, Sally Potter’s 1992 drama/romance Orlando, featuring Blenheim Palace and nearby Woodstock, and the Battersea-set 1963 comedy, The Wrong Arm of the Law, starring Peter Sellers.

A Festival Club will open again daily during the three days from 10am, and the Wells Action for Fairtrade group will be organising soup and rolls at lunchtimes.

Festival tickets will go on sale from Monday, January 21, and you can find out more in the weeks ahead by checking out the Screen-next-the-Sea website, www.wells-cinema.com