Back to normal as 30th Chichester International Film Festival begins

This year’s 30th Chichester International Film Festival will be bulging with no fewer than 156 films and more than 200 screenings – fully back to normal, back to pre-pandemic size.

Roger Gibson
Roger Gibson

The first-ever film festival in 1992 offered 29 films. Its present size underlines just how far it has come across its three decades – and also how important it has become in the world of film generally.

Artistic director Roger Gibson said: “At the start someone asked me whether we are going to become like Cannes. I think we are nearer now than we have ever been!”

The film festival runs from August 5-28. Roger will turn 84 during the festival.

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    “Last year we were slightly reduced in size and last year we resisted the temptation to do online screenings. We really thought that films had to be watched live and that there was enough streaming out there!

    "So it is great to be back properly, and this year we have got, I think, the most films we've ever had, 156. We have got five a day in the main screen and we've got five a day in the studio and two in the Picture Palace – except for the first day.”

    As for audiences, inevitably that is the big question: “Things are quite tough and in some ways we have got quite a tough programme. We have got a section of Ukrainian cinema and an interesting thing about Ukrainian cinema is that it tended to be hidden under Russian cinema before. There are a lot of films that you thought were Russian but actually turned out to be Ukrainian. But this was something I really wanted to do and something I felt we should do.”

    As always there are a number of strands to the festival.

    This year’s festival features: open-air screenings; gala-screenings; That Special Relationship: UK & USA cinema; Europe Calling: Western European cinema; Europe Calling: Eastern European cinema; Vive La France: French cinema; Window On The World 2022; Focus on the Documentary; Andrew Eaton (Producer) presents; Olivia Colman retrospective; Alain Resnais centenary (1922-2022); Homage to Ukrainian cinema; David Gulpilil (1953-2021) – Remembered; Peter Bogdanovich (1939-2022) – Remembered; Monica Vitti (1931-2022) – Remembered; Jean-Paul Belmondo (1933-2021) – Remembered; Vangelis (1943-2022) – Remembered; Ennio Morricone (1928-2020) – Remembered; Made In Sussex; Ralph Vaughan-Williams – 150th anniversary; Charles Mingus Centenary Tribute: film & live jazz; animated gems; Pasolini centenary; special events; talks and visiting film-makers 2022.

    “I do think audiences are certainly coming out slowly. We are having full houses for the obvious things like Elvis and the Downton Abbey type of films. What I'm not so sure about is the Ukrainian section. It is a gamble but it is something that is absolutely right that we should be doing.”

    Another factor is the fact that the distributors are to an extent still hanging on to films. Last year the festival managed to get The Duke a long time before its official release.

    " The distributors are still very much waiting to see what the market is like with the kind of middle-range films that are very much our bread and butter.”

    Full details on chichesterfilmfestival.co.uk.