Supported by the BFI and its South West Regional Hub the Purbeck Film Festival has continued to grow in terms of venues and audience numbers since 1996. Our primary aim is to provide a rich variety of cinematic experiences across a rural area which does not have easy access to foreign language, independent and classic films. Our festival provides a perfect opportunity to compare and contrast stories and styles across a wide range of films. Such a metropolitan approach to film screenings offers the chance to increase our knowledge and literacy of the cinema and can open our minds to new or different worlds.


The Purbeck Film Festival is fortunate be run by an expert volunteer team. You will meet some of the following at any screening you attend.
Claire Burns. Formerly a conference organiser, Claire is the only employee of the festival and brings her excellent organisational, marketing and networking skills to the Festival.
Rob Dartnall, Film and Media lecturer, documentary film maker, Rob chairs the judges at the Short Film Competition.
Andrea Etherington, Chair of the festival, was head of Performing Arts and Media in F /HE,
ex-trustee of The Rex and currently trustee of the Mowlem Cinema and Theatre.
Peter Groome joined the festival from his role as a senior manager in television. Peter hosts a radio programme on film music on Purbeck Coast FM.
Peter Handy, a senior social worker, Peter oversees all things technical including outdoor screenings.
Lorie Harding assists Claire with administrative roles, advertising, sponsorship, proof reading and compilation of the brochure.
Woody Harding, a lecturer in film, Woody heads the Programming team.
Dave Matoe, all the way from New Zealand, Dave is an IT expert and assists with all technical aspects.
Paul Taylor, Film enthusiast with extensive knowledge of all things cinema, Paul is a member of the Programming team and assists on IT and the Shorts competition. Paul also hosts a monthly film review show, Purbeck Premieres, on Purbeck Coast FM.
Julie Sharman, Former manager of Purbeck film Festival and now a Trustee, Julie has worked in TV and film production. She currently works in the marketing team for The Lighthouse, Poole.

This team is aided by:
Liam O’Hara, film maker director of the festival trailer and member of the Social Media
Alan Jones, Westminster Journalist assists Claire with press releases.
Lynn Lennox, interior designer and hospitality advisor.
Rebecca Russell, a BU student of Film Festival management MA is helping us at Boscombe.


The Purbeck Film festival (PFF) began in 1996 with screenings at the Mowlem and the Rex Cinema in Wareham to celebrate 100 years of cinema. The following year it received a National Lottery grant which enabled it to screen 21 films and buy the Rex Cinema. In 1998 became a registered charity which today is independent of any other organisation. From these small beginnings the PFF has grown in size and stature to embrace approximately 80 films including 10 outdoor events at Corfe Castle and Durlston Country Park. The festival has always seen itself as a community resource and therefore offers a cinematic umbrella to a great number of venues ranging from village halls, churches, hotels and community centres. In fact, as one of its banners describes, ‘give us a 13amp fuse and we will give you a film’.
Providing such a resource to Purbeck has realised a great deal of support from the community, be it the sponsoring of food, drink, advertising and peoples’ time and energy. Almost all of the work is dependent on volunteers: the 10 committee members and upwards of 15 other enthusiasts when the festival is operating.
Our many years of successful screenings have been made possible by the strong support from the British Film Institute (BFI) who value our commitment to world cinema as well as independent British films.
The festival continues to attract venues to its brand with the additions of Electric Cinema Bridport and Boscombe Arts Depot.

The photo is of Lady Cotton, Purbeck Film Festival’s President (right) and Andrea Etherington, Festival Chair (left).


  • 2024 Purbeck Film Festival Dates
    The dates for the 29th Annual Purbeck Film Festival are Friday 18th October to Saturday 2nd November 2024. Click to see other dates so far >>>>
  • Waiting List for THE GRAND SWIM
    If you missed the sell-out screening of THE GRAND SWIM, you can sign up for news of the second screening via the link at the end of this article.
  • Thank you for making 2023 a memorable year
    The autumn festival welcomed nearly 5,000 people over the fortnight, an increase of 20% on last year - thank you to all for supporting the film festival.
  • 2023 Purbeck Shorts Competition
    Winners of the 2023 competition announced. The Purbeck Film Festival Shorts Competition 2023 was a roaring success, well attended by directors, producers, members of the cast and a vibrant audience.
  • Volunteering Opportunities with the Purbeck Film Festival
    We are seeking reliable volunteers who are dedicated and passionate about making our events a success.

Purbeck Film Festival Trailers

Each year we are proud to present a new Purbeck Film Festival trailer and are grateful to Liam O’Hara for producing our contemporary trailer, and to Keith Lawes for producing our famous ‘flying ferry’ trailer, both of which you can see here.

Q&A with Director of Priest of Love

Christopher Miles (right), Dame Janet Suzman (left) and Andrea Etherington, Festival Chair (centre)


Andrea Etherington (Chair)

Julie Sharman (Festival Manager)

Woody Harding, Peter Handy, Dave Matoe, Debbie Handy, Paul Taylor, Claire Burns,
Lorie Harding,Rob Dartnall, Lynn Lennox, John Hooker, Peter Groome.

Thanks to David Holman, and to Robin Whitecross for design.


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