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By Rebecca Hill on

Widescreen Weekend 2018 in review

This October saw the 22nd edition of our film festival, Widescreen Weekend. Every year, hundreds of film fans from all over the world flock to the museum to indulge in big, bold cinema experiences.

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.

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling introduces Once Upon a Time in the West at Widescreen Weekend 2018 opening night
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling introduces Once Upon a Time in the West at Widescreen Weekend 2018 opening night. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling at the Widescreen Weekend 2018 opening night reception
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling at the Widescreen Weekend 2018 opening night reception. Photograph © Andy Garbutt

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.

The audience settles in for our screening of Forty Guns
The audience settles in for our screening of Forty Guns. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Samira Ahmed at Widescreen Weekend 2018
Samira Ahmed. Photograph © Andy Garbutt

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.

Carin-Anne Strohmaier on stage at Widescreen Weekend 2018
Carin-Anne Strohmaier on stage in Pictureville Cinema to introduce our screening of Contact. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Maureen Younger on stage at Widescreen Weekend 2018
Maureen Younger introduces Funny Girl. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Funny Girl on Pictureville Cinema's curved screen
Funny Girl in all its glory on Pictureville Cinema’s curved screen. Photograph © Andy Garbutt

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.

Disney's Theo Gluck on stage at Widescreen Weekend 2018
Disney’s Theo Gluck gives his presentation ‘The Importance of Film Restoration’. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Audience members during Theo Gluck's presentation
Audience members during Theo Gluck’s presentation. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Theo Gluck takes a look at the museum's collection with curator Toni Booth
Theo Gluck takes a look at the museum’s collection with curator Toni Booth. Photograph © Andy Garbutt

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 2018 display in the museum foyer
The festival trailer and film stills on display in the museum foyer. Photograph © Andy Garbutt
Widescreen Weekend 2018 delegates in our Media Café
Widescreen Weekend delegates in our Media Café. Photograph © Andy Garbutt

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!

The Widescreen Weekend 2018 team
The Widescreen Weekend team! Photograph © Andy Garbutt

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