Widescreen Weekend 2018 took place between 11–14 October and boasted the festival’s biggest, most varied programme yet, with screenings across the museum’s three cinemas, an exhibit of immersive technology, and two days of family activities. All films were shown on a range of formats—from 70mm and 3-strip Cinerama to 4k digital restorations—and screenings were introduced by a variety of guests and speakers.
We kicked off Widescreen Weekend 2018 with a sold out opening night. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Once Upon a Time in the West screened from an archive 35mm print. The screening not only started the festival but was a part of this year’s Widescreen Westerns strand, curated by festival friend Professor Sir Christopher Frayling.
The strand featured a variety of films in the western genre, including the Coen brothers’ contemporary western No Country for Old Men, and Forty Guns, our black-and-white western introduced by broadcaster and journalist Samira Ahmed.
Widescreen Weekend 2018 featured our celebration of Women in Widescreen, showcasing female-powered narratives and themes, strong women characters, and women behind the camera—from editors and writers to VFX artists. Each film was indicated by a unique Women in Widescreen stamp; featured films included the likes of Thelma & Louise; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and It’s Always Fair Weather.
This celebration also meant that half of our film introductions were delivered by women. We were excited to welcome VFX artist Carin-Anne Strohmaier to the festival to introduce a 35mm screening of Contact—a film she worked on with legendary director Robert Zemeckis. We also welcomed comedian Maureen Younger to the stage to introduce our closing night film, Funny Girl. Maureen gave a funny yet poignant account of being a performer—the perfect prologue to Barbra Streisand’s fabulous performance as Fanny Brice.
The highlight of the festival came in the form of special guest Theo Gluck, Director of Library Restoration and Preservation at Walt Disney Studios. Theo delivered a presentation on the importance of film restoration to an audience which included the new generation of widescreen filmmakers, and also introduced our family-friendly screening of Disney classic Lady and the Tramp.
Celluloid Saturday returned for its second year. With all films on the day being screened from either 3-strip Cinerama, 70mm or 35mm, it was a chance to welcome new visitors and show what the festival is all about! We also screened new 4k restorations of Billy Wilder’s The Apartment and Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, and introduced world cinema to Widescreen Weekend with an archive screening of 60s French New Wave drama Jules et Jim.
Widescreen Weekend will return next October—but in the meantime, a huge thank you from the team to all our visitors, delegates and guests who made the festival a success. Now to plan for 2019!