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Eastleigh film festival puts the magic back into cinema

PUBLISHED: 15:41 24 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:41 24 July 2014

Top Hat - Courtesy of BFI

Top Hat - Courtesy of BFI

Courtesy of BFI

Ever wanted to run from zombies in a real shopping centre? Hit the lanes and bowl in your old dressing gown? Or even share a ballroom with your favourite stars? Then the inaugural Eastleigh Film Festival is for you.

Bringing back the idea of film as an experience, Eastleigh Film Festival wants to banish thoughts of cinema as just an evening out, and make it something special again

Unique one-off events, high profile guests and chances to win big prizes are all being lined up to make it a week to remember.

The weeklong festival opens on Monday September 22 with a gala night hosted by Danny Leigh, co-presenter of BBC’s flagship review show Film 2014 and regular critic for The Guardian.

The films for the night were decided by a public vote. The winners were Stanley Kubrick’s sensationally creepy horror The Shining, gooey Sci-Fi spectacular The Fly and the Hitchcock–inspired foreign thriller Les Diaboliques. Each film will be personally introduced by Danny, with his unique insights promising to enhance the experience even further.

“The online vote came back with some fantastic choices,” enthused Danny.

“The Shining is this much-loved, much-feared classic, and you’ll notice so much more on the big screen; The Fly is everything a science fiction film should be - funny, subversive, thought provoking and strange; and Les Diaboliques is one of the most genuinely chilling thrillers I’ve ever seen. The idea of seeing that on the big screen is really exciting to me. I honestly don’t know if I could pick just one to watch on the night, but you’ll be in safe hands with any of them!”

More classic movies and cult favourites follow throughout the week, showing at hand-picked locations around the town.

Film fans can go bowling with ‘The Dude’ before enjoying The Coen brothers’ comedy The Big Lebowski, share a romantic meal while watching ristorante-set drama Big Night, and even experience seminal zombie spectacular Dawn of the Dead at Swan Centre after dark.

It’s not all blood and guts though, The Point will be screening Top Hat and Strictly Ballroom alongside opportunities to learn some moves from the experts on Friday September 26.

There’s something for little ones too, with Tim Burton’s gothic animated comedy Frankenweenie, complete with an ideal birthday party opportunity – the Eastleigh zombie trail, including zombie face-painting, ghoulish snacks and fun workshops. It promises to be an ideal opportunity to introduce children to the magical world of film.

Explaining why he was interested in supporting the festival, Danny said: “The dea of planting a seed and hoping that something will grow is a great thing to be a part of.

“Hopefully people will come along who perhaps haven’t fallen in love with Film before, and will be exposed to something wonderful.”

Opportunities abound for young filmmakers as well. A short film competition promises prizes and industry feedback, while Industry Day gives up-and-coming filmmakers a chance to meet the experts including Oscar-shortlisted director Lisa James-Larsson, story-boarding specialist Marcus Pullen and BBC Commissioning Executive Gerard Melling’s insider knowledge on funding.

This free day-long event at The Point will feature talks from industry insiders, networking opportunities and guest appearances from established filmmakers.

Whatever your tastes, there’s something for everyone at Eastleigh Film Festival.

Eastleigh Film Festival is made possible thanks to invaluable funding from the Interreg-funded Recreate project. This EU cross-channel initiative, of which Eastleigh is one of 16 members, is focused on rejuvenating small towns through cultural regeneration.

For more information visit www.eastleighfilmfestival.com.

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Timetable of events

Monday 22 Sept: Opening Night Gala at Vue Eastleigh

Tuesday 23 Sept: The Big Lebowski at AMF Bowling

Wednesday 24 Sept: Big Night at La Fenice | French Cinema Night at The Point | English Premiere of Loulou, l’incroyable secret

Thursday 25 Sept: Industry Day at The Point | UK Premiere of Ego

Friday 26 Sept: Top Hat at The Point | Strictly Ballroom at The Point

Saturday 27 Sept: Kids Zombie Trail | Frankenweenie at The Point | Dawn of the Dead at The Swan Centre

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