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By Emma Thom on

Opening weekend at BIFF 2013, in partnership with Virgin Media

We began with a glittering opening night, and followed suit with some magnificent special guests over the weekend.

What an opening weekend! Festival guests and attendees you did not disappoint, and our 19th international film festival kicked off in style with another cracking opening night. Festival Producer Fozia Bano tells it like it is:

“Bradford better than New York!”

… so says Matt Greenhalgh’s mum. While Manhattan may have the bright lights of Broadway, on Thursday night we brought a very sparkly and very appropriate touch of glamour to BIFF 2013 opening night in the shape of the very wonderful Em Brulee who entertained all those from Bradford and beyond who were able to join us.

BIFF 2013 Opening Night

We were thrilled to open the festival with The Look of Love directed by Michael Winterbottom, and starring the irrepressible Steve Coogan and the charming Anna Friel. We were also delighted to welcome the film’s screenwriter Matt Greehalgh who introduced the film and took part in a Q&A with festival Co-Director Tom Vincent. A thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all, with much excitement abound for the next 11 days. We look forward to seeing you at the festival.

Thanks, Foz!

On Saturday, we rolled out the red carpet for Sir Tom Courtenay, in the year of the 50th anniversary of Billy Liar, and thirty years since he starred alongside Albert Finney in The Dresser—both of which were filmed in our beloved city of Bradford.

Sir Tom sat in conversation with festival Co-Director Neil Young, and was presented with the BIFF 2013 Lifetime achievement award.

On Sunday we were entertained by the warm and incredibly funny Aidan Goatley, who performed ‘Ten Films with my Dad’ and gave us a sneak preview of his new show, ‘Aidan Goatley is Feeling Better Now’.

Aidan Goatley at BIFF 2013

Irna Qureshi, curator of our Bollywood Icons: 100 Years of Indian Cinema exhibition, gave a fascinating talk on the subject, in which we said “Salgirah Mubarak” to the most abundant of national cinemas.

Irna Qureshi - curator of our Bollywood Icons exhibition and BIFF special guest

We said “hello” to the directors of Cursed be the Phosphate and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, enchanted little cinema lovers with our Tom & Jerry Family Film Fundays, and of course, we showed some frankly magnificent films—all of which have got our dedicated festival attendees a-twittering.

Sir Tom Courtney outside the Museum with the Alhambra theatre in the background - in which he filmed The Dresser with Albert Finney in 1983

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