PICTURE GALLERY: Saffron Walden film festival’s brilliant first weekend

SAFFRON Screen launched the Saffron Walden Film Festival 2012 with a brilliant weekend, great audiences and everything from street dance to Bollywood with model-making in between.

Sell-out crowds enjoyed the Bollywood Evening on Saturday night and the six Aardman Model Making Workshops on Saturday and Sunday. Many people also came to see Town of Runners and stayed for the Q&A afterwards with director Jerry Rothwell who discussed running tips and life in rural Ethiopia.

The Bollywood Evening kicked off with authentic Nepalese and Indian food, some of which was prepared by the local Nepalese community. The cinema was decorated with saris, Bollywood posters and a rickshaw! Tarka Gurung and Cllr Tina Knight from the Tang Ting Twinning Association welcomed the audience and introduced three Nepalese dancers who performed before the Bollywood film Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya.

Julie Kendall, Saffron Screen cinema director, said: “The Bollywood Evening promised singing, dancing, colour and fun, and I was delighted to see so many audience members come dressed in traditional Asian clothes and fabrics. The night was utterly entertaining and we were sad to see it come to an end.

“I’d like to thank those involved in organising the event as well as those who attended for their enthusiasm. It was a great night!”

On Saturday and Sunday, Aardman model maker Jim Parkyn and his colleague Kate Timmons led six sold-out model making workshops for people of all ages. They showed the participants how to create their very own Gromit in only an hour and the end results were impressive.

Jim and Kate took time to answer questions about working at Aardman and shared stories about creating models for the Pirates! film, Shaun the Sheep television show and much more.

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Participants of the model making workshops commented:

‘Excellent and fun; I want to do it again and again.’ Age 7

‘It was brilliant. When I got stuck, I got help and I really enjoyed it.’ Age 8

‘Great workshop and very well organised.’ Age over 21

‘Fantastic and engaging for the varied ages of the audience. Entire experience was excellent’. Age 45

‘Saffron Screen is an excellent community facility that reflects all the great things about Saffron Walden!’ Age 48

Jim Parkyn also introduced the Pirates! film at 3pm on Saturday before a packed cinema. The film was enjoyed by all ages and is screening again this weekend for those who wish to see this joyous animation with its fabulous voice cast including Hugh Grant and Selma Hayek.

From Friday, and running through May 28, the Saffron Walden Film Festival continues with more films, workshops and speakers.

In particular, on Saturday May 19 at 8pm the bestselling novelist Jojo Moyes will present one of her favourite films – His Girl Friday (U) - and explain how movies have inspired her writing career. Tickets are still available for Jojo’s talk and Howard Hawks’ classic film which has been called one of the funniest and smartest comedies of all time and stars Cary Grant as a smooth but ruthless newspaper editor and Rosalind Russell as a fast-talking, wise-cracking reporter.

For the complete list of Saffron Walden Film Festival 2012 events and photos of the first weekend’s events, visit saffronscreen.com. Tickets are available from the cinema box office, the Tourist Information Centre, or online.

Yhe Saffron Walden Film Festival 2012 is being supported in part by grants from: Saffron Walden Town Council, Uttlesford District Council and Essex County Council through the Essex Legacy for the 2012 Games.