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It’s been an extraordinary journey bringing The Kingston International Film Festival to town this month, but tickets are now on sale! It’s lining up to be an incredible weekend of screenings, panels, workshops not to mention a glitzy closing night Awards Ceremony.

Jo Rogers, Deputy Festival Director, talked to Darling about how it all came to fruition and what to look forward to in this three day celebration of film.

“I joined the team at the beginning of this year. As a local Kingston film-maker, I was thrilled that a festival was coming to town, dreamed up by Blue Elephant Films and Rose Theatre over lockdown. Together with some innovative Kingston University film students who began an online festival, we formed a committee and the event burgeoned into a three-day event with 99 events at venues across town including Rose Theatre, The Townhouse and the Odeon from 24-26 June. It’s backed by Dougray Scott, Vanessa Redgrave and Four Weddings/Harry Potter director Mike Newell, who will be coming to the festival for the full three days. Tickets are selling fast for the audience with Mike (Saturday 25th at 4pm at the Rose), as well as his impressive Industry Panel discussing the health of our great British Film industry.  

Entries flooded in from all round the world for this inaugural event, from students to local and international film-makers alike. Alongside features, shorts, and documentaries in competition, we are lucky to be joined by Adrian Wootton (CEO Film London) who is hosting Jules Dessin’s noir thriller Night in the City (25th June 1pm, The Rose) and we are screening the original Animal Farm (26th 2pm) as well as a charity Gala of Ukraine-set The English Surgeon described by the New York Times as “enthralling, astonishing and agonizingly human”. We were thrilled that neurosurgeon Henry Marsh (author of Do No Harm) wanted to join us in person to be reunited on stage with Emmy award winning director Geoffrey Smith, and together they will present their film and talk about their experience and love of the country, all in aid of DEC. (Sunday 26th, 4.30pm, Rose Theatre)

And by way of talks, there’s Vic Armstrong giving us his insights into his life as Harrison Ford’s stunt double (25th 6pm), composer Pat Savage discussing composing for film (25th June 10 am, Townhouse), Manga founder Andy Frain at the Townhouse Courtyard on the 25th telling us all about his world of Anime and so many others. With networking, pitching sessions, an event for kids, a double bill of Far East Asian films, as well as a glamorous closing awards ceremony and party, it has all the makings of a brilliant festival, and what better place for it than Kingston upon Thames with its restaurants, bars, pubs and stunning river-side setting. 

It’s a lot of work for a small team of local film-makers who have brought it together under the stewardship of festival director David Cunningham. But with the Royal Borough of Kingston, Kingston First, Rose Theatre and Kingston University behind us, along with our very own studio in the Rotunda, we are all so excited to bring this festival to town. It’s a chance to rub shoulders with some of our great film-makers, hear their stories and enjoy their craft, whether you are a film-maker or just love going to the movies.

So do come and join us for a bit of Hollywood glamour right here in Surrey!  A festival day pass will give you access to lots of events, so do pick those up soon. Perhaps for a weekend, we will turn Kingston into “Cannes on Thames”! It’s definitely one not to miss. See you there!”

To see the full programme and book your tickets, visit Kiffest. Or book direct at: 


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