CINECITY Brighton Film Festival kicks off this Friday

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The CINECITY 17th Brighton Film Festival kicks off this Friday 8th November and runs until 17th November. 

CINECITY presents the 17th edition of Brighton Film festival this November with the very best in world cinema and a diverse programme of premieres and previews, treasures from the archive, live soundtracks, artists’ moving image, talks and special events. The festival gives audiences first sight of highly anticipated titles ahead of UK release and showcases many others brought to Brighton from around the world for one-off screenings.

CINECITY is the region’s biggest celebration of cinema and is presented in partnership with the University of Brighton. The main cinema venues are Duke of York’s Picturehouse and Depot in Lewes, but screenings and events take place at venues across Brighton & Hove. This includes the  Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Fabrica, Duke’s at Komedia, The Old Market, Lighthouse and the University of Brighton.

The festival opens this Friday 8th Nov (Duke of York’s) with a special preview of The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers second feature after the acclaimed The Witch. This highly anticipated psychological thriller featuring brilliant performances from Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, charts the slow descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers on a remote New England island at the turn of the 19th century. (The film goes on general release on 31st Jan.)

CINECITY closes on Sun 17 Nov (Duke of York’s) with the latest film from Taika Waititi, director of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do in the Shadows. Winner of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival’s Audience Award, Jojo Rabbit is an anti-hate satire that follows a lonely German boy whose imaginary friend is an idiotic Adolf Hitler. (The film is released into UK cinemas on Jan 1st.)

The festival presents a host of award-laden films all screening in the region for the first time, and ahead of UK release. Just some of the highlights include Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the latest from Céline Sciamma (Girlhood) winner of Best Screenplay at this year’s Cannes.

It Must Be Heaven from award-winning director Elia Suleiman (Chronicle of a Disappearance, Divine Intervention), is an absurdist comic saga exploring identity, nationality and belonging. The film received the Jury Special Mention and Critics’ Awards at this year’s Cannes and is Palestine’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

Other titles screening include: Waves, Knives Out, And Then We Danced, Judy & Punch, System Crasher, The Nightingale, Koko-Di Koko-Da, Sons of Denmark, So Long, My Son and The Whistlers.

The festival places an emphasis on film debuts with half the programme comprised of first features; the showcase for new and emerging talent continues with many more debuts from local film-makers, selected from open submissions to the festival.

Best of British

British Cinema highlights include Rocks, a standout portrait of teenage female friendship from Sarah Gavron, the director of Suffragette.

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Perfect 10 is the debut feature from Eva Riley and was shot in Brighton. It’s about how an aspiring teen gymnast’s world is turned upside down with the arrival of the half-brother she never knew she had. It features impressive newcomer Frankie Box as 14-year-old Leigh. It’s a brilliantly assured debut with excellent performances from its lead duo and a strong visual style. This spirited coming-of-age story has picked up a host of great reviews since its recent world premiere at London Film Festival.

Real is an authentic and heart-warming love story as a young couple struggle to manage personal hardship at the start of their blossoming relationship. This impressive debut feature marks actor turned writer-director Aki Omoshaybi as a real talent to watch.

The programme also features a host of debuts from local film-makers, selected from submissions to the festival (CINECITY Open) and a new showcase for emerging talent aged 25 and under, New Voices, supported by Screen and Film School, Brighton.

36-hour Film Challenge

How long does it take to make a film? Weeks? Months? Years? What happens when you have 36 hours? That’s the challenge for students from the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex. The finished films made over the weekend are screened on Sun 17 Nov 8.30pm in the Jane Attenborough Studio at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.

Live Soundtracks

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Berlin: die Sinfonie der Großstadt) Dir: Walter Ruttmann. Germany 1927. The UK premiere of a new live score to this classic ‘city symphony’, composed and performed by Simon Fisher Turner, Klara Lewis and Rainier Lericolais. This special event marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  (Sun 10 Nov 7pm Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts).


A fresh-faced Bjork stars in Nietzchka Keene’s mystical and haunting fairytale, The Juniper Tree (1990) now lovingly restored for the big screen. Filmed in rich monochrome, the film draws loose inspiration from a macabre tale from the Brothers Grimm.


Screening as part of the BFI’s Musicals! UK-wide season of screenings and events:

East Side Story (Dir: Dana Ranga) The Iron Curtain musical is an overlooked phenomenon but this fascinating and highly entertaining documentary made in 1997 explores the little-known genre and features extracts from myriad musicals such as Tractor Drivers (USSR) and Vacation on the Black Sea (Romania). We are also introduced to the ‘Doris Day of the East’ and Stalin’s favourite musical Volga, Volga, which he reportedly watched over a hundred times.

The Orphanage (Dir: Shahrbanoo Sadat) Cinema is everything for 15-year-old street kid Qodrat growing up in late 1980s Kabul. Placed in an orphanage he has to learn new methods of survival. Luckily, Qodrat has an escape strategy: the elaborate, joyous Bollywood-esque musical numbers he stages in his imagination.

Screening the Victorians

The BFI National Archive’s collection of British Victorian film (1895-1901) has now been digitised. Bryony Dixon, Curator of Silent Cinema at the BFI, presents the incredible range and inventiveness of Britain’s dynamic film pioneers.  They experimented with the new medium during these early years, creating news, animation, drama and fantasy, sometimes in colour. With live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne and introduced by Frank Gray of Screen Archive South East (Sat 16 Nov Depot, Lewes).


For full programme details visit:


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