Friday, 31 August 2012

Dartington Outdoor Film Festival is a total success Sunday - Wednesday 26-29 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises
Christian Bale is Bruce Wayne
under a magnificent full moon
What a spectacular end to the
Dartington Outdoor Film Festival

Congratualtions to Dartington Cinema Manager Jim Whittle for courage and resourcefulness.

In the face of possible downpours, and with the usual venue already waterlogged, Jim switched the outdoor film festival from the Tiltyard (a beautiful venue, but just too sodden) to the hard surface at Dartington Space. The big screen was repositioned on the tarmac-covered 'Tennis Courts', and the Barn Cinema put on stand-by in case audiences were driven indoors by a deluge.

In the event, each night was a huge success. Capacity audiences enjoyed great movies, old and new. The crisp cinematography and engaging comedy of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon in 'Some Like It Hot' was a sell-out sensation on the first night. (Marilyn Munroe as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk might have had something to do with it.) Everyone was in party spirit and got a much more intense experience than originally planned, sitting so much closer to the 40 foot screen. That's a big screen!

On the next two nights the rain continued to hold off and audiences enjoyed Ridley Scott's brand new block-buster 'Prometheus', and Alfred Hitchcock's classic 'North by North-West'. On the final night extra tickets had to be issued, and the old stand-by, the hand stamp, had to be introduced - as an unprecedented number of cinema fans flocked to see Christopher Nolan's three hour epic 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Heavy clouds swirled in the sky, threatening imminent inundation but, right on cue, the full moon rose flooding the outdoor auditorium in its baleful light. The audience's attention was torn between the incredible opening action sequence (Tom Hardy as 'Bane' leads a sabotage team who dismantle a light aircraft in flight!) and the incredible atmospheric and astronomical effects in the sky above.

As a few spots of rain fell umbrellas were erected and eyes stayed glued to the film - or the firmament! As the cinematic tension built - with the appearance of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson and Tom Conti - the roiling clouds kept everyone guessing what would happen next. Would there be a sudden exodus to the Barn?

In the event the film ran to the closing credits without incident (except on screen), deck chairs were packed up and the the audience left well satisfied with their evening's entertainment - at ten minutes to midnight! Just as everyone was in their car and filing out of the Dartington car park, the skies opened flooding every surface - what impeccable timing!

Many thanks to Jim and his team. Another wonderful film festival. Let's look forward to another next year - when the Tiltyard may be back in operation. Dartington Space has its advantages though . . .

Another Film Festival - at Chagford

News has just arrived of more movie fun at the Chagford Film Festival.

(Monday - Saturday 24 - 29 September)

Louise Brooks
The Lost Girl
This festival will involve many exciting extras including an evening of vintage Pathé news reels with accompanying talk, a museum of movie memorabilia and a mobile movie bus.

But movies in Chagford can only mean one thing - live harp accompaniment by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry. On Wednesday 26th Elizabeth-Jane will accompany Georg Pabst's 1929 film 'Tagebuch einer Verlorenen' (Diary of a Lost Girl) at Jubilee Hall in Chagford. Tragic beauty on screen, matched by the beautiful sound of Oberon the concert harp.

There will be outdoor film too. Extracts from Chagfrod Filmmaking Group's forthcoming film 'The Ballad of Mary Whyddon' will be projected onto Mary's former home (now the Three Crowns) and St Michael's Church on the evenings of 27 and 28 September.

On Wednesday 26th there will also be another chance to see this year's Fairy Film, 'The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh' with accompaniment conducted by Elizabeth-Jane and featuring Emma Graham playing Oberon.

Find out more - Chagford Film Festival website

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