British Film Festival 2013

Palace Cinemas presents a treasure trove of both contemporary and classic British Cinema.

In a valuable addition to its commitment to annual foreign language film festivals, Palace Cinemas is including an annual English speaking festival to the mix. Kim Petalas, the programming director, spoke about the decision to create the inaugural British Film Festival, saying “We felt it was important to complement our foreign language film festivals with an English language festival. Our audience has always felt a really strong affinity toward British cinema and some of the highly grossing films across our circuit have been British films, like The King’s Speech and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The festival is a mix bag of films. “There’s something for everybody in this festival,” Petalas states. The program includes big name dramas like the closing night film Philomena, with Judi Dench and directed by Stephen Frears. Audiences will also get the chance to preview the highly anticipated adaptation of the young adult book How I Live Now featuring rising starlet Saoirse Ronan in a return to her native Ireland. There is a selection of independent films that may never otherwise have crossed the ocean to Australian audiences. One of these is Mission to Lars, an engaging and moving independent documentary made by three siblings as they try to help one of their brothers, who is severely autistic, to follow his dream and meet his hero, Lars Ulrich of Metallica. A highlight of the festival is Good Vibrations. A personal favourite of Patalas – who loved “the energy behind the film; it’s infectious. It really took me by surprise,” and set during The Troubles in 1970s Belfast, the film relates the true story of chaotic and passionate Terri Hooley, who decides to open a record store in the midst of the mayhem. His store evolves into a record label as his passion for an alternative voice against the violence turns him into the ‘godfather of punk’. Funny, poignant and altogether charming, this is a cinema event not to be missed. As well as a great assortment of Australian premieres, there is also a traditional element to the program. “We’ve always had a classic element to our film festivals,” says Patalas, “and the British Film Festival takes this to the next step. One of the initial ideas about putting together a British film festival was the absolute treasure trove of classics that we can tap into. There really was an embarrassment of riches and we felt that the best way to introduce our British Film Festival was to bring the top five films as voted as BFI professionals and showcase them in our inaugural year.” The top five classics are The Third Man, Brief Encounter, Lawrence of Arabia, The 39 Steps and Great Expectations. The British Film Festival runs from Friday, November 22 to Sunday, December 1 at Palace Nova East End.

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