Lady Cotton

With so much change taking place around us it is perhaps comforting to realise that our local film festival is now 20 years old and a firm fixture in the local events calendar. From its small beginnings in celebrating 100 years of cinema it has gradually evolved to embrace over 30 venues and 70 films. It is a festival that has satisfied the desire for cinematic art as well as cinematic entertainment, a festival which has introduced us to so many different worlds and provided such a plethora of different experiences.


Our theme this year, not surprisingly, is celebration. Certainly we will celebrate the festival with an evening at the Rex with 'The English Patient', first shown 20 years ago but there will be other celebrations: the film director, the film actor (Purbeck's Googie Withers), the cinematographer (Douglas Slocombe), the courage of women and men, 40 years of punk music and 400 years of Shakespeare. We are also extremely excited at the prospect of welcoming Dame Maggie Smith for a special two-day event which will celebrate her extraordinary stage and screen career on the opening weekend of the festival, sponsored by the Dick Odgers' Memorial Trust.


I trust once again that you will find in our programme the feelings, the thoughts and the sensations that only cinema can give.


Lady Cotton

President of the Purbeck Film Festival




Twenty Years is long time to have run a film festival. Many close after a few years. This achievement is the reward for many hours of unpaid work given by a very large number of people. Before describing our festival we should take the opportunity to thank four people in particular. Firstly we must say farewell to two members of the committee, Carol Sharpe our secretary and Jo Bryan who has done great work over the years in organising the village halls. Special mention must go to Carol who has been the keystone since the beginning. She will be, as they say, a hard act to follow.

Once the films are selected we can call on the wonderful resource of Julie, our Trust manager who, over the years, has developed an extensive knowledge of the workings of Britain’s anarchic film distribution industry and on whom we count to source the licences to show our films.

The Purbeck Film Festival is one arm of the Purbeck Film Festival Trust of which The Rex Cinema is the other. The Chair of the Trust is Tony Viney, an original co-founder and on this 20th anniversary we should also mention that he resuscitated the festival 13 years ago when for a number of reasons it had reached a nadir.

Now to the festival: what have we got this year, what is the theme, are there any particular recommendations? Well first of all we have been lucky enough, through the support of the Dick Odgers memorial Trust to be able to host Dame Maggie Smith for two days. One event will be at the Rex on Saturday 15th October titled ‘Dame Maggie: A Life in Film’ and the second, entitled ‘Being Maggie, will be on the following day in a marquee in the lovely grounds of Harry Warren House, Studland: The Life and Career of Dame Maggie Smith. This definitely feels like a first for us. True, we have had film directors, producers, actors, writers etc before but never a world famous film and theatre star. We will be screening 6 of her films during the festival, starting with the legendary Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. We all sincerely hope that our audience relishes this unique opportunity and, of course, that Dame Maggie enjoys it.

The theme this year is celebration . From its small beginnings in celebrating 100 years of cinema the festival has gradually evolved to embrace over 30 venues and 70 films. It is a festival that has satisfied the desire for cinematic art as well as cinematic entertainment, a festival which has introduced us to so many different worlds and provided such a plethora of different experiences.

Certainly we will celebrate the festival itself with an evening at the Rex when we will screen The English Patient, first shown 20 years ago and the ticket price will be the same as it was all those years ago. However, there will be other celebrations: the film director (Hitchcock/Truffaut) the film actor (Purbeck’s Googie Withers with a talk about her life from her daughter Joanna McCullam), the work of cinematographer Douglas Sloman (Julia) talk and Q&A given by his close friend Robin Vigeon, the courage of women (Speed Sisters) and men (Palio), 40years of punk music (The Filth and the Fury, introduced by the director)and 400 years of Shakespeare.(Richard the III and Ran).

Not all of the films are in celebration. All are worth seeing, of course, but I will mention a handful for particular attention. The opening film is Our Little Sister, an enchanting portrayal of family life as three Japanese sisters gradually embrace their unknown fourth sister. A wonderfully seductive and controlled film which calls to mind the work of Ozu in Tokyo Story. Victoria is a great love story/heist movie filmed in one shot. Theeb, a Jordanian coming of age story held within the genres of the western and the thriller. A very much-underrated film which was Jordan’s submission to the Oscars. Sing Street, a joyous celebration of creativity as we follow the exploits of a young Irishman who falls in love and makes fantastic music and a lot of jokes along the way. Lastly, in this brief overview is Embrace of the Serpent. A Columbian film of great beauty depicting the world of the Amazonian Indian and the results of exploitation metred out by the rubber corporations.

Cinema is unique in creating a wonderful amalgam of thoughts, feelings and sensations. We hope that when you come to our screenings you will experience this from some of the best cinema ever made.


General Booking:

*ALL TICKETS (except Lighthouse and Pavilion Dance) are available on line from our website by following the links next to film listings (payment by credit card)

*Via the Purbeck Film Festival APP

*From the Purbeck Film Festival ticket office based at the Rex Cinema, in person (open between 10.30am and 1.30pm daily from 1st October)

*By telephone, from the PFF box office between opening hours every day of 10.30am to 1.30pm (booking line tbc)

*Many venues are also selling some of their own tickets (as well as on line) so please contact numbers listed by venues in the programme for specific films as appropriate.


Data Protection:

Please note - we may need to forward your details to venue(s) to secure places. Purbeck Film Charitable Trust Ltd is registered as a Data Controller with the Information Commissioner - No. PZ9173783. We shall not pass your details on to any other parties.



Click Here to download the 2016 Purbeck Film Festival Brochure. (File size approx 4mb)

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