Tickets for the first ever Ilkley Film Festival have been selling well since they went on sale earlier this month, but there are still lots of seats available at many of the great movies.

The film festival will have more than 20 events and screenings, which will transform Ilkley’s King’s Hall on Station Road and Ilkley Playhouse, Weston Road, into working cinemas over the Valentine’s Day weekend, February 14 and 15.

Among the films on show will be The Selfish Giant, set in Bradford and directed by Otley’s Clio Barnard, which has recently been nominated for a Bafta award.

Patron of the festival Dame Judi Dench stars in Philomena with Steve Coogan, which has received four Oscar nominations.

Massively influential and popular indie rock band British Sea Power will play their score live to the film From the Sea to the Land Beyond.

Comedian Paul Merton will also present his film, Silent Clowns, with dramatist Neil Brand.

There will also be screenings of classic films such as Cinema Paradiso and Metropolis, which will have a live accompaniment, as well as a 25th anniversary showing of When Harry Met Sally.

A directing masterclass is being given by Mark Herman, who has worked on a number of blockbuster films including Brassed Off and Little Voice.

The Yorkshire Film Archive has compiled an Ilkley Through the Years film, which is sure to reflect the town’s fascinating history.

Some beautiful Dales scenes will be visible in Lad: A Yorkshire Story.

In a nod to the Tour de France coming through the area in July, a film about Lance Armstrong’s drugs scandal – The Armstrong Lie – is being shown.

Ilkley Film Festival organiser Martin Pilkington said: “When setting up the festival I really wanted to bring exciting and interesting films to Ilkley and to perhaps help to inspire a new generation into film or to highlight the talent we already have within the region.

“I love seeing a fantastic film that stays with you and leaves you thinking for days.

“We are really proud of this year’s programme and hope the inclusion of documentaries, local features, foreign cinema and previews will ensure there is something for everyone.”

Martin, who teaches English, Media and Film at Morley Academy, launched and ran the Cheltenham Film Festival in 2010-11, but said he wanted to set up a festival here.

He said: “Setting up a film festival on my home turf was a real ambition of mine. I’ve lived in Leeds for the past seven years, the longest I’ve ever spent anywhere, so I feel very much like an adopted Yorkshireman.

“It’s been fantastic to see the great response to the programme with thousands of visitors to the website and good ticket sales already, so I’d urge people to snap up their tickets soon to avoid disappointment.”

  • Tickets for all screenings and events are available to purchase on the Ilkley Film Festival website, Tickets will also be available to buy in person at Ilkley Visitor Information Centre, Station Road, Town Centre, Ilkley, telephone 01943 602319.

The full Ilkley Film Festival programme is as follows:


Tokyo Sonata

4.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, 2008, 120 mins, 12A

Loyal salaryman Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) loses his job when his company begins outsourcing to China. Incapable of facing the tragedy of his new reality, he hides his failure from his family and, weaving an intricate web of lies, pretends to have kept his job. As it turns out, he is not alone in this deception. Presented as part of our Masters of Cinema screenings in partnership with Eureka! Films.


4.30pm, King’s Hall, £5

Director: Stephen Frears, UK, 2013, 98 mins, 12A

Celebrate the start of the first Ilkley Film Festival and our festival patron Dame Judi Dench with the critically acclaimed and highly enjoyable Philomena. The film follows Steve Coogan, a world-weary political journalist who has picked up the story of a woman’s search for her son. Dame Judi Dench plays Philomena, whose son was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent. Dame Judi has been lauded for her portrayal of Philomena and this is your first opportunity to watch the film in Ilkley on the big screen.

Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns

7pm, King’s Hall, £15

Paul Merton and Neil Brand, 120 mins (with 15 min interval)

Paul Merton and Neil Brand present classic silent films with piano accompaniment. Paul Merton presents the best silent comedians of the 1920s in some of the funniest films. Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd appear in hilarious extracts from The Circus and For Heaven’s Sake respectively, while Laurel and Hardy’s classic short Liberty and Buster Keaton’s masterpiece Seven Chances are shown in their entirety. The latter will be presented with its newly restored Technicolour prologue. Marvellous live musical accompaniment will be created by the wondrous Neil Brand. The show will be two hours in total including an interval.

Cinema Paradiso – 25th Anniversary Special

7pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore Italy, 1988, 155 mins, PG

It’s been 25 years since Cinema Paradiso bought the warmth of post-war Sicily to UK audiences. Set and filmed in writer and director Giuseppe Tornatore’s hometown of Giancaldo, Cinema Paradiso found a mainstream UK audience charmed by the generation-spanning story of friendship, love and film-making set to legendary composer Ennio Morricone’s lilting romantic score. The film, which won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1989, tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director who returns home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend and mentor who was projectionist at the Cinema Paradiso, the focus of his childhood imagination and adult reminiscences.

When Harry Met Sally – 25th Anniversary Special

9.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Rob Reiner USA, 1989, 92 mins, 15

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a celebration of the classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. Twenty-five years after its original release, we get to witness the magic between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal on the big screen again as they battle the age old question of whether a man and a woman can really just be friends. This hilarious, enjoyable and heart-warming film will get you in the Valentine mood.

Only Lovers Left Alive

9.30pm, King’s Hall, £5

Director: Jim Jarmusch USA, 2013, 123 mins

An exclusive preview of noted indie director Jim Jarmusch’s (Broken Flowers, Coffee and Cigarettes) vampire story Only Lovers Left Alive, an international festival hit starring Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Wallander) and Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia, We Need to Talk About Kevin). This hip, existential addition to the vampire genre follows Adam and Eve, two centuries-old vampires who are reunited after a spell apart. Gorging on each other’s love, the arrival of Eve’s sister disrupts their idyllic gothic love nest. A true alternative Valentine’s Day film with dark and stylish, often understated performances and a stellar cast including the legendary John Hurt, Only Lover’s Left Alive answers the Twilight trend with dark witticism and poised performances, complemented by a romanticism that evokes Bram Stoker’s Dracula, making it truly a vampire film, and love film, for the 21st century.


A Private Function

11am, King’s Hall, £5

Director: Malcolm Mowbray UK, 1984, 93 mins + 30 min discussion, 15

With director Malcom Mowbray and star Bill Paterson in conversation. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this is a unique opportunity to discover the stories behind A Private Function from its director and star, and to see the film in all its glory on the big screen. Beautifully filmed in Ilkley and Burley-in-Wharfedale, A Private Function sees a British couple’s attempts to circumvent local food-rationing regulations trigger a chaotic series of events in this satirical comedy set in post-World War II England. At a time when meat was scarce, the ambitious Joyce Chilvers (Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey, Harry Potter) convinces her mild-mannered husband (Michael Palin, The Meaning of Life, Brazil) to steal a pig raised illegally by a local farmer, but unfortunately for the Chilvers, a vigilant food inspector is on duty and determined to stop all such illegal activity in this frantic and sometimes grotesque farce.

Plot for Peace

2pm, The King’s Hall, £5

Directors: Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson South Africa, 2013, 84 mins

A true story of intrigue, Plot for Peace traces the behind-the-scenes diplomatic maneuverings to release Nelson Mandela from jail in South Africa in the 1980s. For the first time, heads of state, generals, diplomats, master spies and anti-apartheid fighters reveal how Africa’s front line states helped end apartheid. One man stood at the centre of the whirlwind, a mysterious French businessman dubbed “Monsieur Jacques”. Jean-Ives Ollivier, a native of Algeria, gained the trust of the diplomats and leaders in the region as well as abroad, and directors Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson give us exclusive insight to this fascinating, determined and enigmatic man.

We Are the Best!

2pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Lukas Moodysson Denmark/Sweden, 2013, 102 mins 

Lukas Moodysson has done it again and directed another poignant and highly enjoyable feature, which follows three teenage girls as they decide to rebel against the system and create a punk bank in 1982 Stockholm with only one problem – none of them can actually play an instrument. This is a unique opportunity to catch this preview before it opens up across cinemas later in the year. This laugh out loud feature was a hit at the London Film Festival and left audiences with smiles on their faces and the smell of teen spirit lingering for days after.


11am, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Masaki Kobayashi Japan, 1963, 133 mins, 15

Having already inspired such films as Oldboy, Kill Bill and Dead Man’s Shoes, Harakiri’s place as one of the most important films in cinema history is very much cemented. Winner of the 1963 Cannes Jury Prize, the film tells the story of Hanshiro Tsugumo, a masterless down-and-out samurai who enters the manor of Lord Iyi, requesting to commit ritual suicide on his property. Suspected of simply fishing for charity, Hanshiro is told the gruesome tale of the last samurai who made the same request – but Hanshiro will not be moved. Presented as part of our Masters of Cinema screenings in partnership with Eureka! Films.

Mark Herman Directing Masterclass

4.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5 inc. screening 60 mins masterclass + screening

Born in Bridlington, Mark Herman has been responsible for some of the most iconic British films of the last 20 years. With work including Purely Belter, Brassed Off, Little Voice and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Mark has demonstrated a distinct directorial flare and has the enviable ability to work successfully with a range of genres. This is a unique opportunity to learn from one of the best and hear about his experiences of working in the film industry, discover how he became a director and to gain any tips and hints about following in his footsteps. The hour long Q&A will then be followed with a screening of one of Mark’s films with an introduction from Mark.

From the Sea to the Land Beyond

With live accompaniment by British Sea Power

6pm, King’s Hall, £15

Director: Penny Woolcock UK, 73 mins, U

British Sea Power perform their critically-acclaimed original score of From the Sea to the Land Beyond live on stage alongside a screening of the film. The six-piece set the course for an uplifting cinematic and musical voyage with a sound that ebbs and flows with the natural sounds of seagulls, ships and snippets of speech. From the Sea to the Land Beyond is a fascinating and moving film by award-winning director Penny Woolcock who paints a lyrical portrait of Britain’s coastline, created through an exquisite combination of evocative archive footage drawn from the BFI National Archive. Look out for Yorkshire’s coastline as the film evokes the nostalgia or your seaside holidays past.

Lad: A Yorkshire Story

8pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Dan Hartley UK, 2013, 96 mins, 12A

The Yorkshire Dales provides the backdrop for the story of a young lad and his elder brother as they spend a weekend roaming the countryside. When Tom Proctor’s dad dies his world falls apart. His brother joins the army, his mum is threatened with eviction and Tom gets into trouble with the police. Tom’s life is turned around when he’s paired up with park ranger Al Thorpe in this enchanting coming-of-age story set in the stunning Yorkshire Dales.


Ilkley Through the Ages (Yorkshire Film Archive)

11am, King’s Hall, £5 90mins, U

Yorkshire Film Archive is delighted to be part of the Ilkley Film Festival and present this special programme of archive film from our region, stretching from the very beginning of film back in the late 1890’s through to the present day. With footage sourced from the YFA collections, discover familiar Yorkshire themes and scenes along with some very local footage of Ilkley and the surrounding area, with a local historian and YFA representative to guide you through our local history on film.

The Ear - 25th Anniversary Special

noon, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Karel Kachyna Czechoslovakia, 1970, 94 mins, 12A

An extremely rare opportunity to watch a film which was instantly banned upon release in 1970. The story takes place over the course of an evening in the life of Ludvík and Anna, a bitter married couple. Ludvík, a senior ministry official, and his alcoholic wife Anna return home after attending a political party function and notice that someone has broken into their home. Several strange occurrences, including the disappearance of their spare house keys and dead phone lines, lead them to believe that they are under surveillance by their own government. A disturbing sense of paranoia encompasses the couple as they fear that the “ear” is listening to everything they say and do. The film was banned immediately upon completion and withheld from circulation until 1989, so in 2014 we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of this politically important thriller.

Tim’s Vermeer

1pm, King’s Hall, £5

Director: Teller USA, 2013, 80 mins + 30 mins

Q&A With Colin Blakemore and Philip Steadman in conversation.

Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring) manage to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. Spanning a decade, Jenison’s adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet Bradford-born artist David Hockney, and eventually to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen’s Vermeer. Directed by Teller, one half of the world’s most famous magic act Penn & Teller.


2.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: David Scheinmann UK, 2013, 94 mins, PG

A young, gifted soccer player who gets into trouble for a petty crime is brought to the attention of former Manchester United coach Matt Busby (Brian Cox), who comes out of retirement to help the boy and his teammates. A film for the whole family, Believe is a crowd-pleasing story and a great example of contemporary British cinema that will warm your heart, whether you’re a football fan or not!

The Armstrong Lie

3.30pm, King’s Hall, £5

Director: Alex Gibney USA, 2013, 122 mins

In 2009 Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong’s comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted and re-opened after Armstrong’s confession. The Armstrong Lie picks up in 2013 and presents a riveting insider’s view of the unraveling of one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of sports. As Lance Armstrong himself says: “I didn’t live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one.” In this Yorkshire Grand Depart year, get the story behind the headlines of the biggest scandal to happen to the world’s biggest annual sporting event.

The Rocket

5pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5

Director: Kim Mourdant Australia, 2013, 96 mins, 12A

Having just picked up the prestigious audience award at Leeds International Film Festival, this is a great opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. From the moment he is born, young Ahlo is deemed as cursed and bad luck seems to follow him around. His family, living in rural Laos, a country still scarred from the legacy of war, find they must leave their home when a dam-building project begins. They begin a long journey to Paradise, a new settlement that couldn’t be more misnamed. Ahlo befriends Kia and her eccentric Uncle Purple and sets about trying to prove to the world that he can break the stigma of being so unlucky. His plan is to enter a financially rewarding but dangerous – even potentially fatal – rocket-building competition and he sets about constructing the biggest rocket ever in the hope that he will win the love of his family.

The Sea

6pm, The King’s Hall, £5

Director: Stephen Brown Ireland/UK, 2013, 86 mins

Based upon the 2005 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sea follows a middle-aged art historian (Rufus Sewell) as he returns to the Irish seaside village where, as a boy, he and his family spent their holidays. His visit triggers a series of memories, some romantic, some disturbing, of a summer that saw the awakening of sexuality and an unexpected tragedy. John Banville adapted his novel to provide the script for this haunting and superlatively acted film.

The Selfish Giant

8pm, Ilkley Playhouse, Ilkley Film Society screening

Director: Clio Barnard UK, 2013, 91 mins, 15

Directed by the award-winning Otley-born director Clio Barnard, The Selfish Giant is set in contemporary Bradford, focussing on the lives of two boys, both of whom are misfits. Based loosely on the Oscar Wilde story, we follow Arbor and Swifty who cannot fit in to high school life, preferring to spend their time collecting scrap metal to help their impoverished families. Likened to the work of Ken Loach as well as perhaps the most famous ‘made in Yorkshire’ film Kes, five star reviews and critical acclaim from Cannes and London Film Festivals have made The Selfish Giant the new jewel in Bradford’s crown as a UNESCO City of Film, and one of the most important social realist films of the new century.

Metropolis with Live Accompaniment

8.15pm, The King’s Hall, £5

Director: Fritz Lang, Germany, 1927, 150 mins, PG

With piano accompaniment by acclaimed BFI pianist Stephen Horne. As part of our celebration of film, we are delighted to screen the recently restored edition of Metropolis, regarded as one of the most important films to have ever been created. The director Fritz Lang created many of the tropes of science fiction cinema we see today. This edition is also the recently extended film after researches discovered an extra 25 mins of footage hidden in a factory in Argentina. The screening also includes live piano accompaniment by renowned BFI pianist Stephen Horne. Be prepared to witness film history live in Ilkley presented as part of our Masters of Cinema screenings in partnership with Eureka! Films.