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Widescreen Weekend: 25th Anniversary Edition Programme Announced

The National Science and Media Museum is excited to announce the full programme for 2021’s Widescreen Weekend film festival, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The popular festival of large-screen formats and cinema technologies celebrates the past, present and future of film, and will return this year between the 7 – 10 October,with festival passes now available to book via the museum website.

This year’s festival will tie into the museum’s current Sound Season, including its two exhibitions Sonic: Adventures in Audio and Boom: Experiments in Sound, with The Sound of Cinema strand. The strand will spotlight legendary Italian film composer, Ennio Morricone, with a talk by Sir Christopher Frayling to commemorate Morricone’s long-spanning career composing the scores of classic films such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966); The Thing (1982); Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970); and The Mission (1986) — all of which will be showing as part of the programme.

The Sound of Cinema will also link into the festival’s Women in Widescreen strand, this year exploring female and non-binary score composers and their work across a range of genres, with screenings of Whale Rider (2002); Monos (2019); Tron (1982)and Dope (2015). On Friday 8 October, the festival is also excited to welcome broadcaster and podcast host, Edith Bowman, for an exclusive live recording of her podcast Soundtracking, where she speaks with film directors, actors, producers and composers about the music that inspires them.

Audiences will also see the return of the festival’s signature blend of new restorations, cult classics and Cinerama with the return of the Restorations and Rediscoveries strand, including a showing of Cinerama classic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), with a video introduction from Karen Kramer, wife of the film’s director Stanley Kramer; as well as screenings of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, 25th Anniversary Edition (1996)and Tangerine (2015), which was largely filmed on an iPhone. Pictureville Cinema is currently one of the last venues in the world where audiences can see Cinerama after classic venues such as Pacific Theatres’ Cinerama Dome in Hollywood closed indefinitely earlier this year.

To celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary, the museum has partnered with local community cinema venues to take the festival across the Bradford district. From bars to village halls, neighbourhood spaces will join in the widescreen celebrations, showing films as part of the festival programme. Partner venues will include Bradford Cathedral; Clayton and Thornton Community Cinemas; and the Nightrain Rock Venue. On Friday and Saturday there will also be special walking tours of Bradford, exploring the key destinations and stories which have awarded the city its coveted UNESCO City of Film status.

Kathryn Penny, Head of Screen Operation, said:

“We are so excited to be welcoming such an impressive line-up to help us celebrate Widescreen Weekend’s 25th anniversary. Since 1997, Widescreen Weekend has been entertaining cinema fans from Bradford and beyond, and it’s always wonderful to see familiar faces return year on year, as well as meeting new festival fans. There’s no denying the pressures cinema has felt over the past year and a half, but the experiences and memories of seeing film on the big screen are more important than ever, unifying people, providing a place to escape the everyday, or to feel the comfort of watching a classic. We pride ourselves on Widescreen Weekend being a safe space where everyone can enjoy something brand new or familiar and we can’t wait to welcome our festivalgoers and guests to the big screens this October.”

The festival programme will open on Thursday 7 October with a special screening of Spartacus (1960), which was screened at the first ever Widescreen Weekend in 1997. On Friday there will also be talks about William Friese-Greene ‘the true father of cinema’ from Toni Booth, Associate Curator of Film at the National Science and Media Museum; unlocking orphaned films from Dr Claudia Op Den Kamp, Lecturer in Film at Bournemouth University; and Cineramacana from Bill Lawrence, Founding Director of Widescreen Weekend.

On Sunday, there will be an opportunity to see a live performance from local organisation Dance United, followed by a screening of a short film about their work titled Here I Am. Over the weekend there will also be family friendly Kids’ Club screenings of Missing Link (2019).

To mark the festival’s 25th year, the team are also asking festival fans to send in their fond memories, personal stories, favourite moments, and anniversary wishes. These will be collated together to form an online story which will be available to read during the festival. The aim of the project is to bring together delegates both on-site in the cinema spaces and at home. Those who would like to share their contributions can contact:

For those who are unable to attend the festival this October, the museum recently launched Widescreen Weekend Rediscoveries, monthly screenings of heritage, classic and cult film favourites on a range of formats including print, digital and Cinerama. For the latest programme please visit the National Science and Media Museum website.

Full passes for Widescreen Weekend are on sale now via the National Science and Media Museum website and tickets for individual events and screenings will be made available in September. The public can also sign up to the festival newsletter for the latest updates.

For more information about Widescreen Weekend and to book tickets, visit:

For further information, images or interview requests, please contact: Katie Canning, National Science and Media Museum 01274 203027.