British ambassador to Luxembourg John Marshall with festival director Geoff Thompson during the 2 September press conference. Photo: John Marshall/Twitter
Now in its 10th edition, the British & Irish film festival runs 13-22 September. A total of 16 features and a shorts programme will be screened over the 10-day event.
The festival kicks off with “Extra Ordinary”, a comedy-drama starring Maeve Higgins, who plays a woman who can see the paranormal. “We’re opening with an Irish film, a high-tempo comedy,” said festival director Geoff Thompson at the 2 September press conference held at the British embassy residence, who added that the screening takes place on “the same day [the film] goes on general release in Ireland.”
Closing the festival on 21 September is the highly anticipated “Downton Abbey”, which Thompson said will have its avant-premiere in Luxembourg.
Other highlights this year include the documentary double bill which will bring aviation to the forefront with the screenings of “Alcock and Brown: The True Story” chronicling the first non-stop transatlantic flight, and “The Man Who Wanted to Fly”, about an 80-year-old bachelor and farmer who dreamt of flying. Another double bill takes place during the festival’s “vintage evening” on 19 September with the screening of “Chariots of Fire” and “Educating Rita”.
Given that this year marks 10 years for the festival, a number of celebrations are in store, including an anniversary cake for the opening. But that’s not all: a special ciné cuisine will also take place on the evening of 15 September with “The Amber Light”, when a whisky tasting will follow the film’s screening.
Although the closing film takes place on 21 September, the shorts programme will take place on 22 September, preceded by a walking brunch.
Luxembourg co-productions have also made it into the lineup, including “The Spirit of the Game”, directed by Liam McEvoy, which delves into the world of the “Luxembourg Puckers” ice hockey team, and “Never Grow Old”, directed by Ivan Kavanagh and starring John Cusack, a western set on the American frontier. The two films will be screened on 18 and 20 September, respectively.
During Monday’s press conference, British ambassador John Marshall joked that he was pleased to talk about “the UK and Ireland in a context other than Brexit”.
Normally, his attendance is shared with the Irish ambassador, but Peader Carpenter left the grand duchy over the summer. His successor, Stephen Dawson, is expected to be in Luxembourg in time for the festival. In the festival brochure, ambassador-designate Dawson said the festival “will be almost the first event in my diary on arriving in Luxembourg at the start of September” and that he “look[s] forward to meeting both the films and the audience!”
The films will be screened across three cinemas, at Kinepolis (Kirchberg), Cinémathèque (Luxembourg-Centre) and Ciné Utopia (Limpertsberg). Tickets for each screening cost €9, but festival-goers can also opt for the €30-pass, which gives them access to 5 films of their choice.
Special tickets for the double billing as well as the vintage evening are also available at €15 for two films.