Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam and My Beautiful Laundrette director Stephen Frears are among guests of honour at this month’s annual British film festival in Nîmes.
The 10-day festival, from March 11 to 20, is organised by the Ecrans Britanniques/British Screen association (EBS), celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Previous guests have included Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, John Boorman, Peter Greenaway and Timothy Spall.
More intimate than Cannes
The festival shows around 40 films and attracts more than 5,000 visitors. EBS president Bernard Raynaud said it is easy for the public to meet stars.
“It’s not like Cannes. There is no red carpet, no prizes. Everything we do is for the cinema.”
The association was founded in 1997 by a group of French English teachers and cinema- lovers with the aim of introducing British cinema to as wide a public as possible.
As well as the festival, they hold monthly screenings and discussions.
Meet the directors
Mr Raynaud said: “Terry Gilliam is one of my favourite directors and it is wonderful he will be in Nîmes.
“We will show seven or eight of his films and he will introduce them, hold a question and answer session at the end, and there will be other opportunities for the public to meet him. Stephen Frears will be able to make it for the last weekend.”
He says the big names from Britain enjoy visiting: “We make a point of looking after our guests, wining and dining them, taking them to see the sights, letting them enjoy the south.”
Festival is hard work but worth it
EBS has about 350 signed-up members. A team of fewer than 20 put on the festival: “We are all volunteers and work hard to make it run smoothly.
“It can be a struggle to keep going and we are proud to have reached our 25th anniversary.
“We depend on finance from local business ads, council grants and, most importantly, our members. We would love more people to join us.”
The films are open to the general public but membership gives a discount and advance booking. It costs €15 a year, or €8 for students and jobseekers.
You can join via ecransbritanniques.org
Tickets for the festival will be on sale online a week or so before the opening.
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