Tickets are now on sale for this year's Stoke Your Fires Film Festival.
Focusing on the best of British cinema, organisers have put together a packed line-up, including film premieres, masterclass sessions from industry professionals and the region’s first film Marketplace.
The festival, which is funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is the city’s very own celebration of regional, national and international filmmaking and takes place between Friday, March 1 to March 5.
The festival will open with the UK premiere of a new British comedy, Pulp. Produced by Stoke-on-Trent company Reels in Motion and Staffordshire-based Dare Productions, the film was shot on location in the city and the West Midlands and already has a huge following online with more than a million views on YouTube.
This week Reels in Motion have announced that Microsoft have chosen Pulp to be the first feature film to be released exclusively through their Xbox Live service.
Reels in Motion co-founder and Pulp producer, Phil Bland, said:
“We are very honoured to be able to open Stoke Your Fires Film Festival. Pulp is the culmination of a lot of hard work from cast and crew, many of whom come from the region.
“A lot of the filming was done right here in Stoke-on-Trent so it is a truly local film and we're really proud that people at the festival will be able to see it before it’s released to millions via Xbox in March."
To celebrate independent British talent, three films developed in the Midlands - Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop and Tortoise In Love and Turbulence - will be screened at the festival along with a question and answer session with the directors.
Legendary British actor Michael Caine’s 80th birthday will also be marked with the screening of some of his most popular films, including The Italian Job and Funeral In Berlin.
On March 3, festival organisers have teamed up with B Arts and Bitjam to present Stoke-on-Trent’s first secret cinema experience, which at the moment is all Hush Hush. Participants will be collected from a pre-arranged meeting point and taken to a unique location in one of the most public buildings in the city, but the film they are about to watch and the exact whereabouts will not be revealed until the last minute.
To support the city’s film and digital sector this year’s festival will see the region’s first film Marketplace being held on Monday, March 4, where Film 4, Creative England, BFI Highpoint Media and other finance, development and distribution companies have confirmed their attendance. The Marketplace event is specifically designed for filmmakers, animators, writers or producers who have projects ready to go but need financial or professional support.
There will also be four, free filmmaking masterclass sessions during this year’s festival which will be led by BAFTA winning producers and directors.
Cabinet member for economic development, culture and sport, said:
“This year's festival is set to be a fantastic event with industry professionals from all over the UK descending on Stoke-on-Trent for five days.
“This is a great opportunity for Stoke-on-Trent’s creative talent to shine and rub shoulders with some of the UK's best filmmaking talent. This is another example of how we are turning our Mandate for Change into action.”
To view the full festival programme and book tickets, visit www.stokeyourfires.co.uk