Film extra for High Tide festival

A film festival will be a new feature of a unique festival for new writers and actors when it returns next year.

A film festival will be a new feature of a unique event for new writers and actors when it returns next year.

Last Easter, Halesworth was home to the first High Tide festival, whose patrons include Pirates of the Caribbean and Love Actually star Bill Nighy, Royal Shakespeare Company actor Sinead Cusack and renowned playwright David Hare.

It was set up to encourage young talent who might find it hard to get a break elsewhere, with experienced people on hand to help them develop.

The second festival will be held in May, with a new dimension of film from up-and-coming filmmakers.

It will again be based at the Cut arts centre, but with films screened at venues across the town. This year's event attracted 2,000 people, but organisers are hoping to attract more next time. The festival is directed by Sam Hodges, a 24-year-old actor who grew up in Suffolk.

Spokesman Matthew Austin said: "The vision is for it to carry on growing. This year's festival was a resounding success and the plan for 2008 is to follow similar lines, with new writing and theatre produced by young writers and directors.

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"Alongside that we are commissioning work from devised theatre companies, so there will be physical theatre as well, and the third strand will be the film festival.

"We presented a couple of short films at this year's festival and they went down really well, so we thought it would be good to extend that part.

"There are a lot of people out there making films who need to get them shown. By grouping them under the High Tide festival umbrella they will have them shown in a supportive atmosphere, with the chance to get criticism of their work."

The website for next year's festival has just been launched, and the festival committee has just put out a request for submissions from writers, filmmakers and theatre companies. Films can be documentary, fiction, or animation.

It is hoped that the event, which runs from May 2 to 5, will be a major draw to the town. Most of those attending this year's festival were from Suffolk, but there was a sizeable number from London, and others from as far afield as Bristol.

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