Bristol Film Festival kicks off this month, with a fun-filled programme promising to immerse audiences – here’s our pick…

Mr Turner, RWA 10 March, 7pm

After 2016’s opening night screening of Frida, Bristol Film Festival returns to the Royal West of England Academy for its next Academy Screening: Mike Leigh’s acclaimed biopic about JMW Turner – a man who challenges the contemporary art world while facing his own personal challenges. Ascend the RWA staircase for welcome drinks and live period music courtesy of the Brunel Quartet, before entering the main gallery for an introduction from RWA director Alison Bevan, and enjoying Timothy Spall’s award-winning performance as the beloved artist, among the RWA’s exhibitions.

Bristol Film FestivalMaster And Commander, ss Great Britain, 9 March, 6.15pm

The programme launches with a screening of an Oscar-winning maritime epic, on board Bristol’s famous vessel. Head for the atmospheric dry dock for welcome drinks, including a performance by Bristol’s finest sea shanty singers The Longest Johns (as seen on BBC’s The Choir). Then make your way to the first class dining saloon for a cinematic experience to stir young and old alike.

Bristol Film Festival From Russia With Love, Avery’s, 10 March, 7pm

A vintage screening to leave you shaken and stirred. During Sean Connery’s second outing as 007, which sees him traverse Europe on the Orient Express as he assists a defecting Soviet agent, you can expect to be served an interesting range of European wines to accompany his perilous journey. There’ll be a glass of cava upon arrival at Averys’ historic cellars, along with a selection of cheeses courtesy of the award-winning Arch House Deli before the screening, then the film itself will be accompanied by a tasting of four wines led by one of Averys’ resident experts.

American Psycho, Redcliffe Caves, 11 March, 6pm

Head to the festival’s Underground Cinema, delving deep into caves transformed for this year’s programme into an eerie Cold War-style bunker, to watch Christian Bale star as wealthy, vain New York banker Patrick Bateman, who enjoys a hedonistic lifestyle alongside his vacuous co-workers, but becomes increasingly obsessed with drugs, pornography and violence, before a minor humiliation in the workplace pushes him over the edge. Includes a bespoke industry introduction to provide social context, and ales from Wickwar Brewing.

Bristol Film FestivalBristol’s History on Film, RWA, 11 March

Ours is a city with a rich and fascinating history, and in the last century, moving image has been crucial to recording critical moments in its story. From major moments in Bristol’s history, to footage of the places we know and love today, this talk, made possible thanks to rare archival footage from Bristol Record Office, promises an insightful look at the use of film to document the rich life and culture of cities in the last century. 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bristol Cathedral, 11 March

Enjoy the 1923 version of the story in one of Bristol’s most atmospheric landmarks, with an improvised organ accompaniment score from award-winning organist David Bednall, as part of the Candlelight Screening series. Sure to be a memorable evening, it will blend classic silent cinema with live music to bring the movie to life like never before. The event also includes a drinks reception, a specially produced short film about the history of Bristol Cathedral’s bells, and a demonstration of bell-ringing courtesy of the Cathedral’s skilled team. ■  

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