Leanne Pooley’s Beyond the Edge will play Bradford, one of the many BIFFs of the festival circuit. The West Riding BIFF (as opposed to Busan, Brisbane, Berlin Independent, Beloit, Bergen et al) celebrates its 20th edition this year, and lines up seven World Premieres in a programme that spends a lot of time looking backwards.
The festival opens with Ritesh Batra’s much-awarded The Lunchbox and closes out with Steven Knight’s Locke. Pooley’s film screens as an official selection, with the festival’s competitive feature section restricted to European titles.
Bradford was named the UNESCO City of Film for 2014, for reasons that continue to mystify. The festival programme strands include Bradford After Dark “for horror aficionados”, although in truth one doesn’t need a cinema screen to experience the horrors of Bradford at night.
Beyond the competition strands, the festival programme has a distinctly “anniversary” feel to it this year, making Beyond the Edge an appropriate selection.
Other more Bradford-themed titles include the Oscar-winning opening film of the first Bradford film festival, The Madness of King George. After the film ditched its original title, The Madness of King George IV, American audiences embraced it. No longer confused about how they’d managed to miss The Madness of King George 1, 2 and 3, they eventually gave it a couple of Oscars.
Missing from the Bradford line-up is any of the many screen adaptations of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or sis Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, several of which were shot in or around Bradford. Also absent are more contemporary British features which put Bradford back on the filmmaking map: Alan Clarke’s 1987 Rita, Sue and Bob, Too and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
The Bradford International Film Festival runs 27 March – 6 April.