Borderlines Film Festival 2017 weekend at Ludlow Assembly Rooms

Borderlines Film Festival returns to Ludlow Assembly Rooms from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 March for a weekend crammed with cinema treats.

Colin Morgan in Waiting for You
Colin Morgan in Waiting for You

The Festival, now one of the largest in the country, celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2017 with 84 films, including 28 previews, screening in 24 venues across Herefordshire, Shropshire and the Welsh Marches from Friday 24 February to Sunday 12 March.

Says Festival Director Naomi Vera-Sanso. “Ludlow Assembly Rooms has been one of the film festival’s prime venues since the very first edition in 2003. This year, our 15th, we’re trying something different by concentrating the Borderlines screenings in Ludlow into a single action-packed weekend”.

On Friday 3 March, the emphasis is on British films old and new. The festival-within-a-festival kicks off at 2pm with a screening of a feature debut by British Shorts director Jane Gull. My Feral Heart is a sensitive study of a young man Luke with Down’s’ Syndrome, played superbly by actor Steven Brandon.

At 4.30pm, Peter Burden, the ghostwriter of David Hemmings’ autobiography, introduces a rare screening of Blow-Up, the epitome of ‘60s cool. In the evening, well-respected production designer Charles Garrad presents the UK première of his directorial debut, an intensely visual mystery drama Waiting For You, starring Colin Morgan of TV’s Merlin fame alongside French screen legend Fanny Ardant. Garrad was born in Worcester and has family connections with Bishops Castle.

Titles screening before their UK release date are, on Saturday 4, a Chinese-American graphic-novel animation for all ages, Rock Dog, which tells the story of a Tibetan mastiff gripped by the rock star bug and beset by deadly enemies, brilliantly voiced by Eddie Izzard. In the evening, there’s the chance to preview The Odyssey, the stunningly shot barnacles-and-all biopic of legendary deep-sea explorer, filmmaker and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau.

For lovers of all things railway, a stunning package of British archive film from 1898 to 1970 captures the speed and romance of train travel. The collection will be introduced by Steve Foxon, Curator of the Moving Image at the BFI National Archive. Buster Keaton’s joyously hilarious railroad comedy The General, with live piano accompaniment by young Australian musician, Meg Morley, complements the train theme.

A second Britain on Film compendium from the BFI, this time on Rural Life, features archive footage from 1903 to 1981 and aptly for a rural film festival, touches on all aspects of life in the countryside from wok to social change and entertainment and includes short films from Eardisland in Herefordshire (1978), Machynlleth (1929) and Stroud (1951).

On the evening of Sunday 5, the Borderlines run closes with a preview of the eagerly anticipated British period drama Lady Macbeth, based on a dark 19th century Russian novella. It stars teenage actress Florence Pugh as a passionate young woman trapped in an arranged and loveless marriage, a role she carries out with ‘precocious poise, sensuality and venom’ (Variety).

Audiences will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite films over the weekend and to offer their feedback on individual titles.

Tickets for films and events in Ludlow are now on sale through the Ludlow Assembly Rooms Box Office, by calling 01584 878141 and online from borderlinesfilmfestival.org.