Chester International Film Festival
3rd – 10th March 2023
After our most successful festival ever in 2022, we are back for the 2023 Chester International Film Festival. The festival is curated by Chester Film Society in association with Storyhouse and the Institute for Social Responsibility at Edge Hill University. It also incorporates the Chester Animation Festival.
This year’s festival features four preview screenings of films before they go on general release – Full Time, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Sick of Myself, and The Blue Caftan – alongside acclaimed and awarding films from Mexico and Belgium. Each film will be introduced by an academic from Edge Hill University with relevant expertise and insight. Examining themes of relationships, migration, teaching, work and family, we think there is something for everyone – so we do hope that you will join us!
The film festival incorporates the Chester Animation Festival. This is an international competition from both amateur and professional animators showcasing the best animated shorts from all over the world.
Launched in 2014, it has welcomed entries from animators across the world. Come and join us for a screening of the competition finalists, watch the winning animation from the 2022 competition, Black Slide, then vote for the Audience Award winner for this year’s competition.
Full Time (1h 28m) – Friday 3rd
A hard-working single mother is faced with an unrelenting series of setbacks as she tries to secure a better paid job. The fantastic Laure Calamy superbly portrays the frustration, anxiety and determination that accompany the struggle to balance the conflicting demands of the workplace and family.
Introduced by Bianca Friedman. Bianca is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Media and Society at Edge Hill University. Her research interests include film theories and analysis and she is studying for a PhD looking at the representation of equine characters’ point of view in live action films.
Lunana: A Yak In The Classroom (1h 50m) – Saturday 4th
A teacher struggling for inspiration travels to the remotest school in the world. It takes being so far away to understand the importance of his work… and to appreciate the value of yak dung! This is a charming drama that gives insight into a part of the world rarely seen on the screen.
Introduced by Dr Rebecca Wynne-Walsh. Rebecca is a lecturer in Film at Edge Hill University. Her research interests include the work of prolific Director James Wan and cultural identity in film making.
Animation Festival – Sunday 5th
Chester International Animation Festival 2023 has welcomed entries from animators across the world. Come and join us for a screening of the competition finalists, watch the winning animation from the 2022 competition, Black Slide, then vote for the Audience Award winner for this year’s competition. CLASSIFICATION 18
Prayers for the Stolen (1h 50m) – Tuesday 7th
Adapted from the novel by Jennifer Clement, this superb film was Mexico’s official submission for the Oscars. It is the complex, subtle, tender and heart-rending story of a young girl’s journey to adolescence in a village menaced by drug cartels and people traffickers. A glimpse into a different aspect of the illegal drugs trade. Unmissable.
Introduced by Dr Matthew Smith. Matthew is a lecturer in film, TV and media at Edge Hill University. Matt’s research centres around the study of “childhood films”, British cinema, identity, cultural memory and Empire. A monograph based on his doctoral thesis “The Child in British Cinema” will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2022.
Sick of Myself (1h 35m) – Wednesday 8th
A film about the 21st century obsession with self-obsession! This is a hilarious feel-good movie about terrible people. Signe and Thomas are in an unhealthy competitive relationship that takes a vicious turn when Thomas suddenly breaks through as a contemporary artist. In response, Signe makes a desperate attempt to regain her status by creating a new persona hell-bent of attracting attention and sympathy.
Introduced by Prof Victor Merriman. Victor Merriman is Professor of Critical Performance Studies at Edge Hill University. He is an expert in Irish drama and the role of public works reflecting contemporary life.
Tori and Lokita (1h 28m) – Thursday 9th
Winner of the 75th anniversary prize at Cannes. A young boy and an adolescent girl, who have travelled to Belgium from Africa, pit their invincible friendship against the cruel conditions of their exile. Lokita and Tori are bound together by ties as strong as blood, and the prospect of separation is unthinkable to them, but will they be allowed to stay together in their new country?
Introduced by Dr Niroshan Ramachandran. Niroshan is a lecturer in criminology at Edge Hill University. His research is primarily focused on social protection for asylum seekers and refugees in host countries, including his doctoral thesis, ‘The Self and The System: Social Protection Experiences of Asylum Seekers and Refugees Living in Glasgow’,
The Blue Caftan (1hr 58m) – Friday 10th
Master tailor Halim is devoted to both his religion and his wife Mina. However, Halim has been forced to repress his sexual identity for years. Things change when Halim appoints a new apprentice. Mina looks on as a relationship blossoms between the tailor and the newcomer as they work together to create a most beautiful blue caftan.
Introduced by Sammy Holden. Sammy Holden is a PhD researcher at Edge Hill University. Their project, currently entitled Behind Their Scenes, is a practice as research exploration of safety and support in filmmaking for transgender and non-binary film workers in the UK.