Ilk­ley film fes­ti­val au­tumn dates

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - FILM -

mam­moth tax debt that saw him sell­ing off prop­erty (such as a Bavar­ian cas­tle) to pay back an es­ti­mate $14 mil­lion. That fi­nan­cial quag­mire also ac­counts for some of his re­cent movie out­put.

For ev­ery Wild at Heart or Adap­ta­tion there was a Next or Wicker Man re­make. Cage’s sta­tus took a se­vere beat­ing. In Joe he’s act­ing again – for real. There are some re­view­ers who have likened Cage’s turn in Joe to Matthew McConaughey’s ca­reer turn­around, which reached its zenith in March when he won the Os­car for Best Ac­tor in Dal­las Buy­ers Club. He cer­tainly won over cast and crew alike on Joe.

Per­haps the truest mo­ment was also the most dan­ger­ous: Cage, as Joe, had to han­dle a deadly Cot­ton­mouth snake. “I man­aged to get him in my hand and it was ac­tu­ally very calm­ing. And kind of beau­ti­ful.”

Joe is on lim­ited re­lease. SCREEN York­shire this week proudly an­nounced that Hunter’s Prayer, a big in­ter­na­tional thriller about an as­sas­sin on the run with the girl he was hired to kill, is to be shot in the re­gion this au­tumn.

There’s noth­ing new about fea­ture films be­ing shot in the Broad Acres. In fact, the county can lay claim to more than its fair share in a movie her­itage dat­ing back to the 1920s.

What’s im­pres­sive about Hunter’s Prayer – star­ring Sam Wor­thing­ton and helmed by Ter­mi­na­tor 3 direc­tor Jonathan Mos­tow – is that it has that gloss, that dash, that big-bud­get feel that marks out so many sub­stan­tial stu­dio pic­tures.

What’s more its mak­ers were drawn to York­shire partly due to money be­ing made avail­able from the York­shire Con­tent Fund, a £15 mil­lion pot ear­marked to help boost lo­cal pro­duc­tion by en­cour­ag­ing pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies to base them­selves in the re­gion.

This is big news for the county. Think back to Mel Gib­son and Braveheart in the early 1990s.

He wanted to make his epic in Scot­land but moved to Ire­land when tax breaks made it more af­ford­able. Scot­land lost out.

Screen York­shire has been very canny over this new in­vest­ment.

For years Amer­i­can film­mak­ers have dal­lied with the no­tion of set­ting up shop in the UK’s re­gions – in other words, any­where out­side of Lon­don.

Wales has ben­e­fited, as has North­ern Ire­land. And in re­cent years York­shire has picked up some sig­nif­i­cant projects not least The King’s Speech, though it must be said no-one could have fore­seen quite how huge that would turn out to be.

Over the years I’ve been fas­ci­nated by the his­tory and her­itage of film­mak­ing in York­shire. I even wrote a book about it.

Over the years the ar­ray of films and tal­ent – ev­ery­one from Bette Davis to Dustin Hoff­man by way of Paul New­man and Lee Marvin – has hinted at the cream of Hol­ly­wood com­ing to Mal­ham, Har­ro­gate, York and Leeds.

And now there is Hunter’s Prayer.

De­scribed as a fast-paced ac­tion movie it smacks of the pell-mell blend of car chases and vi­o­lence that Amer­i­can cities such as Los An­ge­les have long em­braced.

Think Lethal Weapon or Die Hard. Think stunts, de­struc­tion, he­li­copters, chaos, con­fu­sion and road clo­sures. And I mean that pos­i­tively.

Amer­ica’s state cap­i­tals revel in their ca­pa­bil­ity to at­tract block­busters.

Philadel­phia has built a rep­u­ta­tion on it. Pennsylvania loves movies and moves heaven and earth to ac­com­mo­date stars and crew. And the clas­sic films – from Rocky to The Sixth Sense – are there for all to see.

Glas­gow did it, too, dou­bling for Philadel­phia in the apoc­a­lyp­tic zom­bie chiller World War Z.

The Brad Pitt star­rer was said to have brought £2 mil­lion to the city, with hun­dreds of lo­cal peo­ple hired as ex­tras.

That’s the way it is with big movies. Hunter’s Prayer will be a big movie.

It could be a game changer for York­shire, open­ing the flood­gates for more big­bud­get movies to come. It will also be shot in Hun­gary but it’s York­shire ev­ery­one’s talk­ing about. THE in­au­gu­ral Ilk­ley Film Fes­ti­val was a huge suc­cess in Fe­bru­ary and will re­turn next year, but in the mean­time there is a se­ries of screen­ings this au­tumn. The first is a day-long pro­gramme in the King’s Hall on Septem­ber 7 re­flect­ing on the 30th an­niver­sary of the Min­ers’ Strike. Four films will be shown through the day start­ing with three doc­u­men­taries – The Min­ers’ Hymns, The Bat­tle of Or­g­reave and Still the En­emy Within fol­lowed by a pre­view of the heart-warm­ing Bri­tish com­edy Pride star­ring Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton.


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