Attendances soared for the 27th Chichester International Film Festival at five venues in the city, based at Chichester Cinema at New Park.
Roger Gibson, artistic director, said: “Once again the CIFF has shown what a small festival can achieve, almost 9,000 admissions over the 21 days and up by just under 2,000 from 2017.
“We were delighted to play a significant part in celebrating Bernstein’s Centenary in Chichester in the 140-strong brochure alongside films from 35 countries including Russia, Venezuela, Palestine and Bulgaria. Over 30 actors, directors, producers and others in film production attended Q&As including actor/screenwriter Steve Coogan.”
Film Awards, voted by the audience and announced by Roger before the screening of France’s comedy, C’est la Vie, the festival’s gala closing film, included the preview, The Children Act, starring Emma Thompson which won the Audience Award for Best New Film’s top spot. C’est La Vie, took second place. France’s Les Guardiennes, Xavier Beauvois’ latest film, came third.
Other strong contenders included the festival opening film, Matilda, from Russia, Poland’s Cold War, a preview, and UK’s Waiting for You (preview). Bernstein films dominated two of the categories, West Side Story winning the Classic Award, On the Waterfront, with Bernstein’s score, coming second. The Best Documentary award went to Christopher Swann’s 1984 film, Leonard Bernstein Conducting West Side Story: The Making of a Recording with Kiri Te Kanawa and José Carreras, Postcards from the 48%, from the vote Remain perspective, taking second place.
The Best Independent award was won by Steel Country, the English premiere starring Andrew Scott set in Trump’s America. Italy’s The Exodus, the story of a woman faced with major life changes and homelessness due to government changes, came second.
Retrospectives – Ingmar Bergman, Daniel Day Lewis, Agnès Varda – and Nordic Noir films joined From the Book to Film category based on Virginia Woolf’s novels (To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours) and Treasures of the Archives included rare screenings of Pandora’s Box and The Vampyr (1932 Germany) which played at St John’s Chapel with live organ accompaniment.
Walter Francisco, Chichester Cinema at New Park’s manager, said: “Our enthusiastic thanks go to audiences who came in their droves.”