Sherborne has had a long association with the creative arts – poets and writers have been coming here since the 18th century but actors and more particularly, film actors, have also been connected to the town. Jeremy Irons attended Sherborne School, as did James Purefoy, Hugh Bonneville and the more recent Charlie Cox. In 2009, the Gryphon School made history as the first school in the UK to make its own feature-length film, “Far from the Madding Crowd”.
As for the residents of Sherborne, they are fortunate in having their own Music Festival (early May), a Literary Festival (mid-October), a summer school of music (early August), a remarkable array of concerts and recitals, some splendid amateur dramatic performances and diverse cultural programmes and lectures provided by Artslink, NADFAS, the Historical Society and many other august societies.
It requires a degree of initiative, however, to keep up-to-date with new films and particularly those that do not appear on the main distribution circuit. Non English-speaking films are often overlooked and yet there are exceptional film directors and actors who transcend the accepted conventions of the English-speaking world and who can bring us fresh insights and startling discoveries that will enrich our senses.
Hence the attempt to bring some of these films into our midst: to entertain, to inform and perhaps to astonish us!
As an art form, film can be amusing and entertaining; it can also be an instrument for social change. Here’s hoping that you will be entertained and enjoy these films; here’s hoping also that you will be moved. Your attendance at this festival means that we can contribute a tiny amount to some social programmes aimed at improving children’s lives in third-world countries. Let’s make the stars shine for them!