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City rolls out the red carpet for filmmakers from around the world

Filmmakers from Russia, America, Europe and across the UK descended upon Winchester this month to attend the 7th annual Winchester Film Festival gala at the Winchester Discovery Centre.

The black-tie award ceremony was the culmination of a week of sold out screenings at venues across Winchester, and celebrated the best films selected from over 50 countries.

The themes of this year’s festival were ‘Brave Women’, a nod to the anniversary of women’s suffrage, and ‘Lost Youth’ to mark the anniversary of the Great War. British films treating these themes included Lady by Will Nash, about the ladette culture of the ’90s, and The Smell of Petrol by Branko Tomovic, about a mother’s struggle when faced with an impossible task. Award-winning foreign films that championed these themes included the UK premiere of the brave feature film Carga about human trafficking, and the UK premiere of the controversial drama Detainment, based on the original transcripts of the James Bulger case, with directors of both films flying in to attend Q&As at the screenings.

With champagne flowing and live music from the south coast band The Dead Freights, the pre-gala filmmaker’s party kicked off at No.5 Bridge Street, commandeered along with The Black Hole and local guest houses to house visiting international filmmakers.

The gala proper was compered by Professor Lucy Mazdon from the University of Southampton. Actress Amy Doyle, attending the ceremony to represent the award-winning film Lady, described the festival as “flawless”, while a competing international film festival applauded Winchester “for having the strength and conviction to not only screen but award controversial films” that other festivals shied away from screening.

According to festival director John Hayes, the key to the success of the festival is its growing reputation for “providing audiences with window’s into other people’s worlds, seen through other people’s eyes. While the perspectives offered in our programme may not always be ones we share, the films offer us the opportunity to question our assumptions, test our limits, widen our horizons and reflect on the burning issues of our time. The award gala is our way of saying thank you to the filmmakers who provide us with this window into the world zeitgeist.”

The Winchester Film Festival takes place throughout the year, with screenings of films at venues across the District.

WFF 2018 Winners:

* Best Feature Film Award: Lev Prudkin and Vladimir Prudkin for No-One.

* Best Foreign Short Film: Vincent Lambe for Detainment.

* Best British Short Film: Vika Evdokimenko for Aamir.

* Best Short Documentary: Mina Fitzpatrik for Wandervogel.

* Best Animated Short: Sadegh Javedi Nikjeh for The Fox.

* Best Foreign New Director: Carolina Romillo Marin for A Different Afternoon.

* Best British New Director: Andrew St Maur for Pink.

* The Hampshire Prize: Will Nash for Lady.

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