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Monday 20 September 2010

It’s Festival Time: First up Branchage International Film Festival

It’s getting to that time of year when the art world is bursting at the seams. With all the fairs coming up in the next few weeks, as well as digital art, media and film festivals, this is one season where you can’t ever say those three horrid words –“I am bored.”

Having opened last week, the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, has been a huge success, and with countless festivals opening in late September and early October: Branchage (23 – 26 September), Raindance (29 September - 10 October) and the Abandon Normal Devices Festival (1 -7 October), you might find yourself darting between Jersey, London and Manchester.

This year sees the 3rd Branchage International Festival opening on Thursday with film screenings, live music events and parties in an array of weird and wonderful locations. Making use of Jersey’s many unusual indoor and outdoor settings such as the 13th Century Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey War Tunnels, several churches, the grandiose Jersey Opera House and the festival’s hub, the Barclays Wealth Spiegeltent - a century old structure crafted from wood, canvas and mirrors, Branchage really is unlike any film festival you’ve ever attended.

Kicking off the festival on Thursday (23rd September) is Stephen Frears’ brilliant new comedy Tamara Drewe, starring Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper opening the festival on 23 September in the grandiose Jersey Opera House. The Closing night gala screening 26 September, also at the Opera House, is Out of the Ashes, a documentary following the rise of the Afghan cricket team, partly shot in Jersey. Topped by a richly diverse programme of features, documentaries, animations and short films the line up this year, some of the highlights of this year’s confirmed programme so far include:

Commissioned especially for Branchage festival, Euros Childs and Richard James (ex- Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) perform a live score to the Russian fairytale animations of Yuri Norstein in a church / Japanese psychedelic metal quartet Bo Ningen perform to Tatsuo Sato’s 2001 anime Cat Soup / French krautrock duo Zombie Zombie perform to Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 classic Battleship Potemkin on a tugboat in St Helier’s harbour / electronica artiste Scanner performs a live set to a Victorian magic lantern show consisting of scenes of old Jersey / London based French singer-songwriter Pevin Kinel, formerly of Velofax, performs to Our Daily Bread in the Classic Herd Barn / Plus a huge 3D visual show themed around The Dambusters at Val de la Mare Dam, designed by Seeper Arts, the people behind the groundbreaking 2009 'Battle of Branchage’ at Mont Orgeuil Castle.

Some unusual screening locations include Lourdes in the Town Church, Went the Day Well? and Greetings From the Woods in the Classic Herd Barn, The Vanishing of the Bees in a polytunnel and Horses in a converted horse box. Other confirmed films include Seperado! featuring a Q&A with Super Furry Animals’ front man Gruff Rhys / Fly-on-the-wall documentary Out On His Own followed by a Q&A with Jersey based Gilbert O’Sullivan / Acclaimed documentary When You’re Strange featuring live musical tributes to The Doors / Shed Your Tears and Walk Away, plus Q&A / Cowboys in India plus Q&A. The film explores the British mining industry in India / American: The Bill Hicks Story and biopic Gainsbourg, British supernatural comedy Skeletons, cult French puppetoon A Town Called Panic, Jean—Luc Godard’s newly-restored feature Breathless and London River, starring Brenda Blethyn, plus over 100 short films and more to be announced.

Ian Svenonius (Nation of Ulysses, The Make Up, Weird War) reads from his Tales of the Psychic Soviet / Cutting Hedge Humour: An Afternoon of Comedy featuring London Comedy Awards finalist Jeff Leach (Big Brother’s Little Brother), cabaret-rapper The Midnight Expresso and Comedy Rocks’ Wayne Stewart, plus more guests to be announced / Yarnfest presents Four Stories High Storytelling. A classic tale is recreated in four different mediums: film, theatre, literature and music at a yet-to-be-announced location./ The Fabulous Flutterby’s puppet show for kids described as “**** a creepy crawly delight” by Time Out / New Jersey radio station WFMU return to the island for a live broadcast from the Barclays Wealth Spiegeltent.

With an education programme also included, this year’s Branchage Film Festival is set to be the best one to date.

Special festival passes on sale now: £59 throughout August, £69 in September and £79 walk-up during the festival. A bargain for 4 days of 60+ events and films! Available from Seetickets.com, and selected outlets in London (Close-Up Videos), Brighton (Resident Records), Southampton (Harbour Lights Picture House), Portsmouth (Sweet Memories Record Store), Guernsey (Guernsey Information Centre, iQ Apple Store) and Jersey (Jersey Tourism Information Centre, Freedom Surf Shop and iQ Apple Store)

For further programme details and information visit www.branchagefestival.com

If you do attend, drop us a line when you get back, and we’ll publish the best review online.

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