Kirkcaldy rolls out red carpet for film festival

Cliff Fleming and Partners of Condies Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers who sponsored the Goldfinger gala screening
Cliff Fleming and Partners of Condies Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers who sponsored the Goldfinger gala screening

VIP screenings, a full house and huge rise in ticket sales for second annual festival

With a sell-out special screening ahead of a film’s world premiere and audience numbers up on last year, organisers of Kirkcaldy Film Festival are hailing the event a huge success.

From Friday to Sunday, audiences gathered at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy to enjoy a feast of cinema, which featured a diverse programme of cinematic features.

Among them were screenings of new films, ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ and the sell-out ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’.

There were also World War One films, films focusing the camera on Fife and for the kids there was a screening of ‘A Little Princess’ and storytelling workshops at the Kirkcaldy Galleries.

As well as the film showings, there were question and answer sessions and discussions with critics, and Harry Potter star Sean Biggerstaff chatted about working with Alan Rickman as a young actor in ‘The Winter Guest’, filmed in the East Neuk.

The Saturday evening saw cinema-goers turn out in their glad rags for a red carpet gala screening of 007’s ‘Goldfinger’.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Connery’s classic Bond.

Alan Morrison, director of the festival was delighted with how the weekend went.

He said: “There was a real buzz around the Adam Smith Theatre from the moment the festival opened its doors on Friday morning, to the moment we rolled up the red carpet on Sunday night.

“It felt like we’d shifted up a gear from the year before: audiences were bigger, sponsors had come on board, media coverage was more widespread.

“Given that this was only the second year we’ve had a Kirkcaldy Film Festival, it was amazing to have enjoyed our first sell-out screening (with What We Did On Our Holiday), particularly because that screening ended up being a steal on the London world premiere, which took place the night after ours.”

For 2014, organisers revealed that attendance was up by 68 per cent on the festival’s debut last year with over 1200 tickets sold across the three days.

Alan continued: “It was great to see bigger crowds in what’s only our second year.

“The word seems to be getting out that Kirkcaldy Film Festival can be terrific fun but also somewhere you can see films before the rest of the country or films that might not get all the way to Fife otherwise.

“I was particularly happy to see people turn out for our archive and foreign films – and stick around for the on-stage Q&A sessions that followed – but one of my greatest delights of the whole weekend was to witness the waves of laughter that rolled up and down the theatre during the screening of ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’.

“You could feel the excitement in the air, everyone knowing that they were the first paying audience in the world to see this film, and it really seemed to add an extra charge to the mood.”

Given the popularity and success of the 2014 festival, what lies ahead for next year?

“I’m already buzzing with ideas for 2015,” Alan said.

“And I really believe there’s a growing audience hungry for something a bit different in terms of the cinema they might be able to see in Fife.

“After the success of this year’s festival, we’re all keen to keep the momentum rolling and deliver an even better, bigger event in 2015.

“It would be great to think that we could get a bit more local funding, or a few more sponsors on board, so that we could take the festival up yet another level.

“We’re very responsive to programming the kind of films that audiences want, while also challenging them with a few things out of the ordinary, and so it would be great to extend what we’re able to show.

“I’d also be keen to see if we could stage a few one-off events throughout the year under the Kirkcaldy Film Festival banner, so that the idea of the festival stays fresh in the audience’s mind.

“I really feel that a film festival such as this can give a boost to the reputation of a town – and already we’ve gone some of the way to putting Kirkcaldy on the cinema map.”

A special message...

Actor Sean Biggerstaff, probably best known for his role as Quidditch captain Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter films, was in Kirkcaldy on Friday afternoon.

He chatted to Alan Morrison live on stage ahead of the festival’s screening of ‘The Winter Guest’.

Biggerstaff appeared in the film, which was directed by Alan Rickman, as young Tom.

The actor recalled his memories of filming in Fife and came with a message for Kirkcaldy from the well known director.

Reading the message from Alan Rickman he said: “This story in this film holds special and powerful memories for me. I hope they take you back to some of your own.

“The things that really matter, the things that we all share, people, time and place.”