UK film festivals: Bradford 2012 screens THE RAID, DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, SAMSARA and more

UK Twitch readers - time for another chance for you to get in on the film festival atmosphere without spending a fortune on jetting off to warmer climes. The Bradford International Film Festival returns for its 18th year from the 19th to the 29th of April 2012.

While Bradford's film festival might not have the profile of Edinburgh or London, it does have the fantastic National Media Museum as its main venue. This prestigious institution is dedicated to celebrating film, photography, television, animation and new media, meaning the festival hosts some stellar retrospective programmes as well as the best in mainstream, arthouse and genre cinema.

bradford media museum exterior 2_resize.JPGEight floors of exhibits, two cinemas, one with the only regular Cinerama installation in Europe (seeing How The West Was Won on that giant three-panel screen remains one of the best viewing experiences I've ever had at any cinema, enough to have me ordering the DVD and the soundtrack almost as soon as I'd walked out of the venue). Plus additional screenings at Bradford's Cineworld and the museum's IMAX theatre (the first to be opened in the UK).

The Bradford International Film Festival 2012 features:

Celebrated indie auteur Whit Stilman's latest character dramedy Damsels in Distress as the opening night presentation

Fan favourite Indonesian martial arts smash The Raid: Redemption, from director Gareth Evans

Bittersweet Spanish animated feature Wrinkles, shortlisted for the 2011 Oscars

Russian arthouse maestro Alexander Sokurov's take on the classic tale of Faust

Samsara
, director Ron Fricke's followup to the acclaimed 1992 documentary Baraka, another flood of astonishingly beautiful imagery from around the world

...and plenty more in the New Features and European Features Competition sections.

Retrospective screenings include:

A centenary celebration of the work of legendary animator Chuck Jones

A retrospective of French director Olivier Assayas (Carlos, Irma Vep et al) with the main himself in attendance

A look at the career of renowned British hard man actor Ray Winstone (Nil By Mouth, Sexy Beast, The Proposition)

Themed programmes include:

Uncharted States of America, the festival's look at the lesser-known features and documentaries on the US indie scene, and the second year of their Bradford After Dark strand, collecting horror favourites old and new such as:

The Innkeepers, the latest from US cult director Ti West (House of the Devil, Cabin Fever 2)

Livid, the sophomore film from two early stars of the recent wave of French horror, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

Gleefully ghoulish, uproariously funny Cuban zombie comedy-satire Juan of the Dead

and screenings of two Hammer Horror classics, Plague of the Zombies and The Reptile.

For more details of this year's lineup, partner offers and ticket bookings, consult the Bradford International Film Festival 2012 website. I'll be there for Twitch trying to cherry-pick as much of the good stuff as I can. Hopefully a few UK Twitchers can make it as well - if you're anywhere near Bradford at the end of the month, consider making the trip.

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