The Festival that gave the likes of Guy Ritchie and Shane Meadows their first screenings takes Portobello by storm every August, attracting crowds of 15,000 people to its free cinema events.
Now in its 12th year and officially the biggest celebration of independent film in Europe, Portobello Film Festival offers a platform to experimental filmmakers, as well as showing cult movies at five major venues around London’s Portobello Road.
Last year John Malkovich showed his new short and Bella Freud staged a fashion show.
This year Julien “Strummerville” Temple, maker of the Sex Pistols The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle documentary and Nikki Kentish Barnes (Woody Allen’s UK producer) are amongst the film celebrities lined up to perform. Looking back in time, writer / broadcaster Molly Parkin and John Maybury will discuss their drinking days with Francis Bacon to accompany a screening of Maybury’s “Love Is The Devil”, and Nicholas Roeg will introduce a special screening of “Performance”.
Films being screened come from as far away as Turkey and Iran, Singapore and Brazil, with some great animations from the USA, comic films in abundance from Australia, some top documentaries from Germany, and horror films all the way from Nigeria.
Dynamic black culture is represented by satirical filmmakers Black Eye and documentary makers Rice N Peas, whilst Martin Henderson, director of the Canadian Ecology Film Festival Ideas In Motion is curating a 2-day programme of documentaries looking exclusively at the prevalent environment issues of today. Mathieu (“La Haine” & “Amelie”) Kassovitz’s Shorts Collective Kortrajme will screen a selection of political films from the Parisian suburbs.
A fringe festival of exhibitions by visual artists (including sculpture by Nick Reynolds) and performances by new upcoming bands (coordinated by Rough Trade) will be united under the broad theme of ‘magic’, bringing to life the “new folk magic of the streets” that Jonathan Raban describes as typical of Portobello in his classic work Soft City.
Street magicians, comedians, and circus artistes will beguile and entertain the crowds, with special performances by Ken Campbell, as well as former International Magician of the Year Aladin, the mystical cardmeister, and Richard McDougall, World Open Champion for Close Up Magic.