National Science and Media Museum in Bradford to host modern and vintage epics during Widescreen Weekend

A celebration of cinematic technology with screenings of modern features and historical epics is due to take place at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford.

The Widescreen Weekend festival between October 10 and 13 kicks off with the Steven Spielberg's visual feast Ready Player One (2018) from a 70mm print, and closes with a 60th anniversary screening of Ben-Hur (directed by William Wyler, 1959) featuring Charlton Heston in the starring role and the now legendary chariot race scene.

Film historian and guest curator of Widescreen Weekend at the National Media Museum in Bradford, Sir Christopher Frayling with Matthew Jeffrey, 23, at the festival in 2016. Picture by Bruce Rollinson

Film historian and guest curator of Widescreen Weekend at the National Media Museum in Bradford, Sir Christopher Frayling with Matthew Jeffrey, 23, at the festival in 2016. Picture by Bruce Rollinson

-> The double life of Bradford City Hall - used to film the House of Commons, the Old Bailey and Poirot police scenes
These bookend a selection of classics and cult favourites shown in "deeply immersive cinema formats", such as The Sound of Music (1965, from a new 70mm print) and West Side Story (1961) which, along with The Haunting (1963), provide a mini-retrospective of the director Robert Wise.

A 25th anniversary screening of Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) and a 20th birthday outing for animation The Iron Giant (Brad Bird, 1999) and the Cold War-era thriller Ice Station Zebra (John Sturges, 1968) will also feature.

Guest curator Professor Sir Christopher Frayling will present a themed selection—this year on Ancient Rome—which, in addition to Ben-Hur, includes Barabbas (Richard Fleischer, 1961) and Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000).

-> How Victorian Bradford made its mark on the history of cinema
Sir Christopher will also be giving an in-depth talk on Doris Day, who died earlier this year, as an introduction to her 1959 film Pillow Talk, which features her regular on-screen partner Rock Hudson.

David Wilson, Director of Bradford City of Film. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

David Wilson, Director of Bradford City of Film. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

He said: “When Doris Day died at the age of 97 in May of this year, it was front page news all over the world: her wholesome image and on-screen personification of innocence had made her ‘the last of the stars of the golden age’ even though she hadn't appeared in a film for over 50 years.

"Our screening of Pillow Talk will be our tribute to a much-misunderstood and much-loved superstar.”

This event also forms part of Women in Widescreen, a focus on the roles of women behind and in front of the camera.

-> These Yorkshire locations will appear in the new Downton Abbey film
As part of these screenings, journalist Samira Ahmed introduces another Doris Day film—this time starring opposite James Cagney in the musical drama Love Me or Leave Me (Charles Vidor, 1955).

Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954) and A League of Their Own (Penny Marshall, 1992) feature notable female characters, and Hollywood VFX editor Carin-Anne Strohmaier introduces a 25th anniversary screening of Forrest Gump, on which she worked as assistant editor with regular colleague, director Robert Zemeckis. The film went on to win six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

Donald Rosenfeld, former president of Merchant Ivory Productions, is a special guest at the festival.

He was at the helm of the company from 1986 to 1999, during which films such as Howards End and The Remains of the Day were released.

Mr Rosenfeld will be in conversation with BCB Radio’s Mary Dowson ahead of a screening of Effie Gray (Richard Laxton, 2014), written by and starring Emma Thompson, which he produced.

Director Clio Barnard will also attend the festival for a special screening of her 2013 film The Selfish Giant, a "tragic and compelling tale" shot on location in Bradford and starring young actors from the area.

She will be interviewed by David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film.

Elsewhere the festival includes sessions dedicated to visual technology— investigating how digital modelling is being used to explore and recreate archaeological sites that are little known, hard to access, or that don’t exist anymore and a panel discussion on the "sometimes acclaimed, sometimes derided", process of colouring black and white films.

There will also be a 360-degree cinema dome, and the popular Celluloid Saturday returns, featuring a whole day dedicated to screening an eclectic selection of movies from analogue film.

Finally, there will be Cinerama screenings - the museum is one of only three venues in the world which holds public screenings of the three-projector system which heralded the boom in immersive movie technology from the 1950s, and is the only one located outside the USA. This year’s Cinerama highlights include the travelogue Cinerama’s South Seas Adventure (1958).

Festival director Kathryn Penny said: “Widescreen Weekend is all about celebrating innovation and all styles of genres in cinema—as long as the films are big and bold. This year offers a huge range of anniversary screenings of classic films—from some of the most popular musicals ever made to the incredible spectacle of historical epics, as well as modern titles that make use of the very latest technologies. It will be a delight to hear from all the special guests and speakers as we get unique personal and professional insights into the film industry and the movies we’re showing.”

Full festival passes are no longer on sale, but people can pick up individual tickets.

For more information, visit www.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/whats-on/widescreen-weekend