Anticipation is building for cinephiles as the Widescreen Weekend film festival returns for its 27th edition this autumn. Running from 28 September to 2 October, this celebrated cinematic event promises an unparalleled experience for film enthusiasts. With a blend of classic and contemporary films, captivating talks by industry leaders, stunning print screenings and more, the festival will take place at the National Science and Media Museum’s Pictureville Cinema in Bradford, home to world-class projection facilities and highly skilled projectionists.
A tribute to CinemaScope
This year’s festival pays homage to CinemaScope, a groundbreaking cinematic process that took the film industry by storm in the 1950s and 1960s. CinemaScope was developed as a response to the growing popularity of television. It offered audiences a more immersive and larger-than-life viewing experience that couldn’t be replicated at home.
The festival’s opening night will feature a rare screening of Kaagaz Ke Phool (Paper Flowers), a poignant black-and-white film from 1959 and the first South Asian film to be shot in CinemaScope. This classic is a testament to the innovation and artistic vision that CinemaScope brought to the silver screen.
A diverse line-up
The Widescreen Weekend film festival promises an eclectic lineup of films that showcase the magic of widescreen cinematography. From the first film released in CinemaScope, The Robe (1953), to the pioneering animation Lady and the Tramp (1955), the festival offers a journey through the history of widescreen cinema.
Notable screenings include a 70mm presentation of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015), shot in the rarely used Ultra Panavision 70 format. Another highlight is the exclusive 70mm screening of Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece Roma (2018), offering a unique opportunity to experience the film’s stunning black-and-white visuals on the big screen.
Local gems and special screenings
The festival also celebrates local cinema heritage with a 60th-anniversary screening of the Bradford-filmed Billy Liar (1963), along with a brand new 35mm print of Rebel Without a Cause (1955), presented in partnership with the BFI’s Keep Film on Film campaign. These films offer a glimpse into the past while honouring the art of filmmaking.
Adding to the excitement, the festival will feature special one-off Cinerama screenings, showcasing the unique cinematic experience that this format offers. The Pictureville Cinema is now the sole venue in the world where Cinerama can be enjoyed in both analogue and digital formats.
A cinematic journey beyond the screen
This year’s Widescreen Weekend film festival is not limited to the confines of the theatre. The festival is expanding its reach with partner screenings across the city. From iconic films like The Greatest Showman (2017) to engaging events hosted by local film clubs, the festival aims to involve the community and extend the love of cinema beyond the theatre walls.
While the National Science and Media Museum itself is undergoing a transformative renovation, Pictureville Cinema and bar will continue to operate, providing film enthusiasts with an enriched program of screenings and events. The ongoing support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players is helping to create enhanced spaces for visitors to engage with the world of media and cinema.
A thrilling line-up awaits
As the curtain rises on the Widescreen Weekend film festival’s 27th edition, film lovers and enthusiasts can expect an unforgettable experience that bridges the gap between cinematic history and the modern-day film landscape. From classic gems to modern masterpieces, the festival invites attendees to immerse themselves in the magic of widescreen storytelling, rekindling their love for the movies and celebrating the art of filmmaking.
Tickets are available now, so mark your calendars for this cinematic celebration that promises to leave an indelible mark on your movie-loving soul. For the full festival program and ticket information, visit the National Science and Media Museum website.