Oscar winner attends Wells Film Festival

A taste of Hollywood arrived in Wells this weekend as the town's first film festival was graced with an Oscar winner and his prestigious prize.

Kevin Brownlow was presented with his Academy Award last year for his lifetime work on film history and silent films by double Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey, who said he had achieved a 'priceless accomplishment.'

Mr Brownlow has known Anne Krish for nearly 60 years, who is one of the Screen-next-the-Sea committee which organised the three-day festival.

He agreed to attend the event along with his impressive Oscar, which certainly turned plenty of heads.

Movie director Martin Scorcese described Mr Brownlow as 'a giant among film historians' and Wells festival administrator David Saunders said it was a 'great coup' to have him as a special guest.

'Hollywood has come to Wells,' said Mr Saunders enthusiastically. 'And Kevin Spacey has held that Oscar!'

'It has been fantastic and this is the most amazing community in terms of energy and activity. The Big Society is happening here.'

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Mr Brownlow spoke at the festival reception and chose the Saturday afternoon silents For Heavens Sake (Harold Lloyd) and The Cat And The Canary (Laura la Plante).

He was full of praise for the Wells initiative.

'It is very impressive and there is marvellous projection and very enterprising decoration. I think the use of film brings people together and what they are doing here is very admirable. I would like to take the theatre back brick by brick to London!'

Mr Brownlow first got interested in film at the age of 11 and said he had been 'very, very surprised' to get his Oscar.

'It is given by your peers and that means a lot.'

A total of 35 metres of red satin curtains were created for the festival club along with countless film posters and over the weekend eight films were shown in the Granary Theatre, which is part of the Maltings complex.

An estimated 400 people have attended the festival over the weekend, which is ending with a Groucho Marx double bill and people are getting in the spirit by wearing Marx glasses and moustaches.

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