Oscar winner to be Ilkley Film Festival patron

Ilkley Gazette: Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench

The inaugural Ilkley Film Festival has announced Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench as the event’s official patron.

Nominated six times for Academy Awards, Dame Judi has sent a message of support: “Even though I am unable to attend this year's event, I am looking forward to seeing the Ilkley Film Festival grow.

“Film plays such an important part in our everyday lives and the opportunity to celebrate it through film festivals such as Ilkley is something to be grasped. I'm extremely proud not only to be the official patron of the festival but also to see such an event taking place in Yorkshire. I will be keeping my eye on the festival and hope to make it to one in the future.”

Highlights of the festival programme, which will take place from February 14 to 16, include Paul Merton presenting his acclaimed tribute to classic silent films Silent Clowns, with piano accompaniment by internationally-renowned Neil Brand (BBC4’s Sound of Film), at the King’s Hall.

Making its northern-most debut will be the critically acclaimed film and live performance by British Sea Power of From the Sea to the Land Beyond.

Award-winning director Penny Woolcock has collated more than 100 years of footage, drawn from the BFI National Archive, to create the film.

Film festival director Martin Pilkington, a secondary school teacher by day, plans to turn the King’s Hall on Station Road and Ilkley Playhouse, Weston Road, into working cinemas over the Valentine’s Day weekend.

He said: “To get the support of Dame Judi Dench in our first year is fantastic and a real boost to our confidence.

“Ilkley is the perfect setting for a film festival, with great venues – all within a short walk of each other – easy transport and a dramatic backdrop in the stunning Ilkley Moor.

“I’m over the moon that we have been able to attract such terrific films and artists as those we are announcing today, before we reveal the full programme in January.”

The full Ilkley Film Festival programme will be announced and tickets will go on sale on January 13.

For more details, visit ilkley filmfestival.co.uk.

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