HARROGATE FILM FESTIVAL

The S

The Society's Association with the Harrogate Film Festival​

In a world where public discourse is being increasingly squeezed into binary opposites - yes, no, for, against - the need to see - beneath the surface, around the corner - is becoming ever more important. One of the great joys of cinema is that it helps us do exactly that whilst at the same time entertaining and enthralling us. 

Harrogate Film Society (HFS) is proud to be a longstanding part of the cinema landscape in Harrogate, working together with the other providers in the town to offer a wide range of cinematic experiences to the local community.

​History

In 2017 HFS was part of the team which conceived and ran the first Harrogate Film Festival.

In looking at Harrogate's range of cultural facilities and offerings including the world-renown crime-writing festival, we had been struck by the absence of a film festival. Under the leadership of a local commercial filmmaker and film enthusiast, Adam Chandler, several individuals and organisations came together to build the first Festival. ​

As part of that Festival, HFS hosted a screening of Brian De Palma's 1983 classic Scarface as a pop-up screening in a local bar, branded as 'Flash Film'. In subsequent years, HFS has continued to support the Festival with Flash Film pop-ups- for example Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs  in 2018 and in 2019 a double bill from the 1994 archive comprising Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. After the screenings, we have hosted discussions to explore the issues raised by the filmmakers.

This  'after event' discussion format was initially piloted at our regular screenings; launched in the 2015 season as Film Club. Both at the Festivals and at regular screenings, the success of Film Club has demonstrated the local appetite not just to watch engaging and challenging films but to participate in the broader social and cultural debates that swirl around these films and filmmaking in general.

As the Film Festival has grown in popularity- a four day event in 2017 and a ten day event in 2020- so too have the ambitions of the Film Society. In 2019, we hosted award-winning documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins for a screening of and discussion about his film The Eyes of Orson Welles.

​For the 2020 Festival we worked with the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers to bring celebrated music documentary filmmaker Tony Palmer to Harrogate. He appeared at the Cold Bath brewery Clubhouse where an hour long Q&A was followed by a rare screening of his 1977 Beatles documentary - Mighty Good. 

Additionally, the Society Committee took the opportunity to work with a local film company, Growler Films, to sponsor five young local filmmakers to contribute to a documentary film about the Tony Palmer event.  That 90 minute documentary is now in post-production with a release planned for 2021. In the meantime, the producers have made available a few short clips from an interview with Tony conducted in September 2020. 

ociety's Association with the Harrogate Film Festival​

In a world where public discourse is being increasingly squeezed into binary opposites - yes, no, for, against - the need to see - beneath the surface, around the corner - is becoming ever more important. One of the great joys of cinema is that it helps us do exactly that whilst at the same time entertaining and enthralling us. 

Harrogate Film Society (HFS) is proud to be a longstanding part of the cinema landscape in Harrogate, working together with the other providers in the town to offer a wide range of cinematic experiences to the local community.

​History

In 2017 HFS was part of the team which conceived and ran the first Harrogate Film Festival.

In looking at Harrogate's range of cultural facilities and offerings including the world-renown crime-writing festival, we had been struck by the absence of a film festival. Under the leadership of a local commercial filmmaker and film enthusiast, Adam Chandler, several individuals and organisations came together to build the first Festival. ​

As part of that Festival, HFS hosted a screening of Brian De Palma's 1983 classic Scarface as a pop-up screening in a local bar, branded as 'Flash Film'. In subsequent years, HFS has continued to support the Festival with Flash Film pop-ups- for example Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs  in 2018 and in 2019 a double bill from the 1994 archive comprising Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. After the screenings, we have hosted discussions to explore the issues raised by the filmmakers.

This  'after event' discussion format was initially piloted at our regular screenings; launched in the 2015 season as Film Club. Both at the Festivals and at regular screenings, the success of Film Club has demonstrated the local appetite not just to watch engaging and challenging films but to participate in the broader social and cultural debates that swirl around these films and filmmaking in general.

As the Film Festival has grown in popularity- a four day event in 2017 and a ten day event in 2020- so too have the ambitions of the Film Society. In 2019, we hosted award-winning documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins for a screening of and discussion about his film The Eyes of Orson Welles.

​For the 2020 Festival we worked with the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers to bring celebrated music documentary filmmaker Tony Palmer to Harrogate. He appeared at the Cold Bath brewery Clubhouse where an hour long Q&A was followed by a rare screening of his 1977 Beatles documentary - Mighty Good. 

Additionally, the Society Committee took the opportunity to work with a local film company, Growler Films, to sponsor five young local filmmakers to contribute to a documentary film about the Tony Palmer event.  That 90 minute documentary is now in post-production with a release planned for 2021. In the meantime, the producers have made available a few short clips from an interview with Tony conducted in September 2020. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Future

Jim Morrison, no less, reminded us that 'the future's uncertain . . . ' an aphorism writ large in the wake of the COVID pandemic that gripped the UK soon after the end of the 2020 Harrogate Film Festival.

While HFS is responding to the changes and planning a resumption of regular screenings, the constraints ushered in by the pandemic have also prompted us to think more carefully about our online offering. In addition to a range of content that will be made available through the Online Platform we propose to run a second festival competition for feature films starting in October 2021 and concluding in the summer of 2022.

Our first competition was experimental and clearly was subject to a range of problems caused by the pandemic. These problems included significant disruption of the Film Festival leading to postponement and cancellation of several live screening events. Nonetheless the online programme ran successfully and together with live screenings led to a comprehensive presentation of all the Festival Features films. It was also a success for several of the filmmakers who have subsequently secured distribution contracts.

HFS Festival Features offers a range of feature films from around the world. Once again HFS members and guests will have the opportunity to vote on each of these films and we plan to host big-screen presentations of the most popular films during the 2022 Harrogate Film Festival at the Odeon and Everyman cinemas and other venues with large screen facilities.