2014 was the inaugural year of Derby Film Festival in its current guise. Successfully building on the impressive iD Fest and incorporating Fantastiq Film Festival into the programme, it was a high quality, very welcoming and fun affair. This year it has expanded even more – More previews, more top quality films from the vaults and more special events. The festival takes place at Derby QUAD over the first ten days in May, and some of the highlights are:
A Royal Night Out – Opening Night Preview – May 1
May 8th, 1945 – V.E. Day… a nation celebrates the victorious end to a long and costly war. Cloistered away in Buckingham Palace two princesses peer out longingly at the adoring crowd who ready themselves for the biggest party London has ever seen. Princess Elizabeth and her headstrong 15-year-old sister, Margaret, would give anything to join them.
The Tribe – May 2
Set at a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf, the film’s narrative unfolds purely through sign language without a need for employing subtitles or voiceover, resulting in a unique, never-before-seen cinematic experience that engages the audience on a new level.
Listen Up Philip – May 3
Starring Jason Scwartzman as Philip, the story follows him as he awaits the publication of his sure-to-succeed second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss), and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip’s idol Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce) offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject-himself. Philip faces mistakes and miseries affecting those around him, including his girlfriend, her sister, his idol, his idol’s daughter, and all the ex-girlfriends and enemies that lie in wait on the open streets of New York.
Timbuktu – May 4
Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes when Kidane accidentally kills Amadou, the fisherman who slaughtered “GPS,” his beloved cow. He now has to face the new laws of the foreign occupants. Timbuktu was Mauritania’s first entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
Heaven Adores You – May 5
Heaven Adores You is an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith (1969 – 2003). By threading the music of Elliott Smith through the dense, yet often isolating landscapes of the three major cities he lived in — Portland, New York City, Los Angeles — Heaven Adores You presents a visual journey and an earnest review of the singer’s prolific songwriting and the impact it continues to have on fans, friends, and fellow musicians.
Marshland – May 6
The Spanish deep South, 1980. A series of brutal murders of adolescent girls in a remote and forgotten town bring together two disparate characters – both detectives in the homicide division – to investigate the cases. With deep divisions in their ideology, detectives Juan and Pedro must put aside their differences if they are to successfully hunt down a killer who for years has terrorized a community in the shadow of a general disregard for women rooted in a misogynistic past.
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley’s Island Of Dr. Moreau – May 8
The filming of the ill-fated 1996 version of H. G. Welles’ THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU is the stuff of legend. For the first time since he was unceremoniously escorted off his longtime dream project, Richard (HARDWARE, DUST DEVIL) Stanley reveals in detail his spectacular original vision and how it was all ripped apart at the seams.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – May 10
A love story between two tortured souls In the Iranian Ghost town called Bad City, A place that reeks of death and loneliness, where a lonesome vampire is preying on the towns most depraved denizens.
Jenny Agutter is the special guest this year, and there will be a selection of her best films on show. As well as an impressive and diverse selection of films, there will also be a number of other special events around the festival, including conversations, panels and a chance to see The Radiophonic Workshop live. For further details, visit the website.