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Previewing Derby Film Festival 2014

May 2, 2014 by Simon Kinnear in Festivals, Opinion with 0 Comments

Derby isn’t the first city that comes to people’s minds when asked to name a British city with a strong film culture.  Yet, thanks to the brilliant QUAD (and its legendary predecessor the Metro), Derby can boast one of the best art-house cinemas in the country.

What used to be a well-kept secret is becoming an internationally-recognised cinema thanks to the QUAD’s efforts to establish a film festival in Derby.  Its boutique festival ID Fest was launched successfully in 2010, and the Fantastiq festival devoted to sci-fi and horror has been around for roughly the same period.

Now both are being combined into the Derby Film Festival, a 10-day extravaganza taking place this month.

Derby Film Festival doesn’t try to compete with bigger cities in terms of previews.  Instead, it offers a more unusual, sideways glance at cinema.  Previous ID Fests explored different areas of identity and this year’s theme is technology, with screenings ranging from Westworld to Singin’ In The Rain.  Meanwhile, the inclusion of the Fantastiq strand means plenty of B-movies and gore.

That said, there are plenty of exclusives, ranging from Roman Polanski’s new film, Venus In Fur, to the Cannes-winning Mexican drama, Heli, plus Slint documentary Breadcrumb Trail as well as Lesson Of Evil, a typically mad offering from Takashi Miike.

Where QUAD’s festivals have really shown their class is by bringing some exceptional guests to Derby.  In previous years, we’ve seen Mike Hodges, Paddy Considine, Terry Jones and the mighty Brian Blessed, amongst many others.

This year, the guest of honour is John Hurt – Caligula, Kane, John Merrick and now Doctor Who.  Also attending are veteran character actor Phil Davis, veteran director Waris Hussein (who helmed the first ever Doctor Who story) and even Busted popstar-turned-actor Matt Willis!

With everything taking place under one roof, which also includes an art gallery, a great cafe/bar and a BFI Mediatheque, there’s basically no reason to leave the QUAD for 10 days.  But at the rate the festival is making a name for itself, next year they’ll probably need a bigger boat.

To find out more, or to book tickets, visit the Derby Film Festival website.

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