01 April, 2010

Festival highlights: Part one

Bradford International Film Festival is regrettably over for another year, and what an 11 days it's been! We've seen Oscar nominees and BAFTA winners, actors and film industry luminaries, both home grown and international. It feels like it's finished before it's even begun, and as usual I didn't have time to go to half the films or events I planned on attending.

If you missed any of the highlights, not to worry! We recorded audio and video footage during some of the events, and can now give you the opportunity to watch selected clips from the comfort of your own home (or desk, or bus, or train...)

The first Screentalk took place on Friday 19 March, the first full day of the festival, when we welcomed a truly international special guest: Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God and The Constant Gardner (both of which were shown as part of Fernando's first retrospective outside his native Brazil).

Fernando was recently described as "one of the ten greatest directors working in the world today". He joined Professor Lúcia Nagib, director of the Centre for World Cinemas at the University of Leeds, and personal friend of Fernando, to discuss his career and answer questions.

As a special treat before the interview began, the audience were shown clips of Fernando's early work in commercials/documentary-mockumentaries, and heard about his accomplishments in Brazilian television, into which he "injected so much life and dynamism".

Despite his self-confessed shyness, Fernando is shown to be passionate and very funny indeed. During the evening, he told the story behind "the most expensive joke in history". It occurred during the filming of Blindness, when Gael García Bernal's improvised impersonation of Stevie Wonder cost the production thousands of dollars in music rights!

On the 6th day of the festival we were joined by Imelda Staunton, acclaimed actress who has appeared in countless films, most notibly Vera Drake, a performance which earned her a BAFTA and an Oscar nomination.

Imelda sat in conversation with Phil Penfold and discussed her career in theatre, television and films. She has a vast repetoire at her fingertips, so it was an absolute delight for the audience, particularly any burgeoning actors, to hear wisdom imparted directly from the mouth of one of Britain's most beloved character actresses.

In this clip you can watch Imelda discussing necessary adour in the early stages of an acting career, and the prudence she showed once hers had begun, the differences between 'then' and 'now', and the challenge of finding a decent musical!


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