Curtain set to raise on first ever Kingston International Film Festival

Kingston will be buzzing with creative talent this weekend with the launch of the first ever Kingston International Film Festival (KIFF).

Supported by BAFTA winning director Mike Newell and Academy Award winning actress Dame Vanessa Redgrave, and part-funded by Kingston Council, the event will see 99 films screened across 5 venues over 3 days. Running from 24-27 June,  the festival will showcase work by emerging British filmmakers and international talent, offering a new platform for independent filmmakers to show their work to the industry and kick-start their careers.

As well as screenings at fantastic local venues such as Kingston University’s RIBA Prize winning Town House, the Rose Theatre and the Odeon, there will also be networking at the Rotunda in the town centre. Actors Dougray Scott and Star Trek's Marina Sirtis are among the leading industry figures backing the festival, with Sirtis at the Rose on Saturday evening for the premiere of her film A Thousand Little Cuts.

Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture and Heritage, Councillor Peter Herlinger, said it shows the town’s huge potential as a creative and cultural hub:

“Creativity is part of Kingston’s DNA and Kingston International  Film Festival builds on that. We are embedding culture in our growth and recovery as we come out of the pandemic, bringing cultural events back to venues and high streets across the borough to help them diversify and attract investment.  

“Kingston is perfectly placed to focus on investing in and supporting emerging creative talent. Our strong relationships with leading creative industries educator Kingston University, Kingston College, and community based organisations such as Creative Youth, mean we have the right ingredients to support that creative talent pipeline. By doing so we can complement what’s happening in the rest of London.”

Alongside the exciting programme of premieres and workshops, the festival will host screenings for young people and community events. On Saturday there will be a free screening of iconic 80s classic Ghostbusters at Piper Hall for residents of the Cambridge Road Estate, complete with popcorn!

Festival patron and Harry Potter director Mike Newell is confident it will be a big success:

“The industry is crying out for a festival such as this, that is passionate about our independent British film industry and most importantly, the low budget films that create opportunities for talent that is all too often overlooked.

“From the vision that was shared with me back in July of last year, KIFF has now burgeoned into three days of screenings and events in this vibrant riverside setting of Kingston upon Thames. This is a truly diverse and exciting programme of films and workshops. In addition, they have assembled a terrific group of key Industry players to take part. A truly tremendous achievement for a first festival, and in years to come, it will undoubtedly find its place among the great film festivals of the world.”

Published: 22nd June 2022