Old North East film clips promise a nostalgic trip down memory lane while other festival highlights include a visit from special guest Peter Flannery among a feast of films in unusual locations
The focus is turning to Whitley Bay Film Festival as preparations get rolling for the return of the annual treat.
And it promises to be a crowd-puller with programme highlights this time around including a visit from Our Friends In The North writer Peter Flannery; a silent horror night – with live soundtrack – at a stately home, and archive film celebrating our local heritage.
The festival, which has Ian La Frenais as its patron, might have started out small but it always had big ambitions and it has succeeded in becoming a highlight of the region’s summer calender.
With revamp work currently underway in Whitley Bay, the Dome – one of its previous host locations – is out of bounds but there are plenty other venues, including people’s homes, St Mary’s Lighthouse, Seaton Delaval Hall and the great outdoors, to add the festival’s trademark quirky touch.
And it is dipping its toes beyond the coast for the first time to team up with the Tyne Theatre & Opera House in Newcastle to help mark the venue’s 150th birthday year.
Another collaboration sees organisers team up with North East Film Archive to present a mini-festival: Moving North: Coastal Comes to Whitley Bay.
Showing at The Playhouse Whitley Bay, this combination of amateur and home movies, travelogues and regional TV productions will relive some glory days in a rare treat for locals who are set to recognises places – and people – featured.
In all, it promises a treat for film buffs. Here’s a run-down of what to expect and when.
When is Whitley Bay Film Festival?
It will run between August 10 and September 3.
Films and events will play out at a range of venues including The Playhouse, Rendezvous Cafe and Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay; The Exchange and The Crescent Club in North Shields; Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland , and Tyne Theatre in Newcastle. There are also two outdoor locations which will be weather-dependent: the seafront at Whitley Bay Plaza and the town’s Station Masters Community Wildlife Garden.
The festival’s debut will be 1947 classic Brighton Rock, starring Richard Attenborough, at Rendezvous Cafe at 8pm on August 10.
There’s a hugely varied programme to come. The cafe is also hosting The Sweet Smell of Success on August 15; Jam Jar Cinema follows up on August 16 with Wish You Were Here then it’s the turn of St Mary’s Lighthouse. Local film historian Chris Phipps will present the atmospheric film The Isle of the Dead there on August 17 ahead of Song of the Sea on August 18; The Seventh Seal on August 18, and The Boat That Rocked on August 19. Peckish viewers can also eat while they watch at lighthouse screenings as local takeaway Pantrini’s is offering deliveries of fish and chips to St Mary’s for anyone arriving promptly at doors’ opening time wanting to place an order.
What is Moving North: Coastal Comes to Whitley Bay?
This is old archive film footage dug out by North East Film Archive (which stores lots of the region’s treasures) with the help of the BFI’s Britain on Film project which is all about their digital preservation.
What will it show?
All sorts. It promises to take viewers on quite a journey. There’ll be scenes of coastal communities, local industries and the launching of lifeboats. These will capture stories of how the seaside has attracted generations of locals and visitors. The coastline of Whitley Bay and surrounding areas will feature prominently and viewers will spot the white-domed Spanish City in its heyday and maybe even family or friends captured fleetingly on film!
When can we see it?
On Monday, August 28 at 6pm at The Playhouse. Visit here .
Is there anything else at the theatre?
The Playhouse has a Sunday Film Club with a matinee double bills including The Princess Bride and The Goonies on August 27 (to be followed by The Neverending Story and Flash Gordon).
When is Peter Flannery coming?
The Jarrow-born playwright and screenwriter will be back on home turf – Tyne Theatre to be exact – at 7.30pm on August 13, to help celebrate the final day of the mini film-festival, The Cinema Years.
So, what is he involved with?
He will be in conversation with Chris Phipps about his Newcastle-set The One & Only. The Q&A will follow a screening of the romantic comedy. And if you’re at the theatre earlier that day you will catch Phipps presenting Forget Carter: A Celebration of Newcastle in Film as well as a showing of The Clouded Yellow, also part-shot around the city.
What else is on the Tyne Theatre menu?
The three-day festival begins on August 11 with a presentation on The History Of Cinema and 1973’s Theatre Of Blood. Then on August 12 there’ll be 1933’s King Kong (showing 84 years after it played there during the theatre’s former days as The Stoll cinema) as well as a screening of silent film The Phantom of the Opera, dating from 1925, with an original live soundtrack. The mini-fest also includes a free exhibition of cinema-related artworks, films and documentaries – and a screening of Tarzan of the Apes to music!
What else can we look out for?
Back at the coast, the Crescent Club in Cullercoats will host the return of Phipps and The Kinetoscope Show on August 23 with more archive treasures (this time local BBC and documentary footage from around the North East); then Southern Softies: An Evening with Graham Fellows on August 24 which will see the actor and musician share his alter-ego John Shuttleworth. The Masonic Hall in Whitley Bay will present Monty Python & the Holy Grail on August 31.
And there’s an event this year at Seaton Delaval Hall?
Yes, expect chills and thrills! On August 30 the dramatic surroundings will be the backdrop of a screening of silent 1920 classic The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. And as an added treat a northern-inspired score will be played live by The Old Police House Collective – so expect the sound of electronics, guitars, vocals, zithers and drum machines to fully immerse you in the demonic story.
That’s a new choice of location – what other unusual ones are there?
Homes, gardens and public spaces in Victoria Avenue, Whitley Bay, will be opened up to present Arthouses 2017 – a mix of film, art performance and video on August 19 and 20. And Station Masters Community Wildlife Garden will present an outdoor screening of Brief Encounter on August 27. Then – again if weather permits – Whitley Bay Plaza seafront will come alive with the music of Mamma Mia! to give the festival a rousing send-off on September 1.
The Exchange in North Shields will host Punk in the Provinces on August 25-26. This punk art exhibition will be complemented by a punk discussion and screening of the Sex Pistols film The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle on August 26.