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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Blockbuster event with legend John Hurt

Star-struck faces filled Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake as legendary film actor John Hurt and his producer wife Anwen Rees-Myers attended the opening night of this year’s Keswick Film Festival.

Hurt, best known for his roles in Alien, The Elephant Man and most recently Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, mingled with guests and enjoyed some of the buffet.

The reception was followed by a screening of In Love With Alma Cogan, directed by Tony Britten.

The feature film starring Roger Lloyd Pack, Niamh Cusack, and Hurt in a cameo role, was produced by Rees-Myers.

Hurt, who has agreed to be a patron of the festival, said: “We are very excited to be here in Keswick and thrilled to be here for the opening night.

“I am a great believer in film festivals and it is nice to see that the film festival in Keswick is so well supported.”

Hurt, a Golden Globe and three-times BAFTA award winner, was interviewed and answered questions about his work on Sunday.

The festival showed five more of Hurt’s films – The Naked Civil Servant, An Englishman in New York, Melancholia, Sailcloth and Lou.

“I was absolutely delighted to be invited to the festival and I am honoured to be speaking about my work on Sunday,” he added.

More than 50 people turned out to the opening party, including Alan Smith, leader of Allerdale council, Cockermouth mayor Christine Smith and Allerdale councillor Denstone Kemp.

Anne Haworth, 56, of Station Road, Keswick, who attended the launch with her husband Peter, said: “We gave a donation of £200 to the festival, which is something we do every year.

“It’s fabulous that John Hurt is here tonight and that the festival has his support.”

Janine Cousins, 50, of Rubbybanks Road Cockermouth, said: “My husband and I come to the festival most years.

“It’s great that we have something like this right on our doorstep.”

Festival director Ann Martin, who invited Hurt and his wife, said: “We do hope that having such a well respected actor at the festival encourages others to come who haven’t been here before, and hopefully they will return in the future.”

The festival, in its 13th year, also featured a question-and-answer session with rising actor Alex Etel, a performance by The Lancaster Millennium Choir and an introduction to Bird On A Wire by radio presenter Tony Palmer.

Other highlights included The Osprey short film awards and a question and answer session with Mustafa Gundogdu, co-ordinator of the London Kurdish Film Festival.

Ann Martin, festival director, welcomed Hurt’s decision to formally support the festival.

She added: “It can only be great for the festival to have such a fantastic actor as our patron. I am sure he will help us make the festival even better.”

Next year’s festival will begin on February 21.

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