Kingston’s Rose Theatre launches international film festival

The Rose Theatre has launched the Kingston International Film Festival (KIFF) to support independent film makers and emerging talent.

The festival’s ambassadors and patrons including BAFTA award-winning director Mike Newell, Mission Impossible star Dougray Scott, and Jason Wong from Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, gathered with the Founder and Festival Director David Cunningham, and Rose Artistic Director Christopher Haydonat the Rose to outline KIFF’s mission to showcase the best of independent and emerging British talent on an international stage.

Taking place from 24-26 June 2022, the inaugural Film Festival has also received early support from Academy Award winning actor Dame Vanessa Redgrave and Star Trek actor Marina Sirtis. The festival will showcase winning and shortlisted films across seven award categories with an emphasis on emerging talent, including under-18s short film, first feature film, student short film and under-25 short screenplay. The awards are open to international filmmakers, with a category dedicated to UK filmmakers.

The announcement follows BFI figures revealing investment into the independent film industry in the UK has fallen by 45% and that just 22 blockbuster films account for 78% of UK film production spend. The launch called on both business and government to do more to ensure the important contribution independent British cinema makes to the nation’s cultural landscape isn’t lost.

Born out of a 50:50 partnership between the Rose and Blue Elephant Films, KIFF aims to bring about a solution to the declining independent film industry by providing a supportive new platform for emerging talent and creating opportunities that link new filmmakers with leading industry experts to drive forward their careers.

Festival Director David Cunningham said: “Prior to COVID-19 the UK independent film industry was already seeing a decline in investment. In March 2018 qualifying for funding through the Enterprise Initiative Scheme (EIS) was drastically changed by HMRC, eliminating any incentives for investors to support lower budget films. This has had a devasting effect on small independent film companies.

“That’s what inspired us to launch the Kingston International Film Festival, which we hope to turn into an internationally recognised event that showcases the work of leading independent filmmakers, as well as becoming a vanguard in scouting and launching new talent. Film Festivals have played a crucial part in launching the careers of some of our most celebrated independent directors, producers and acting talent. Without intervention we risk missing out on discovering the next Danny Boyle, who has contributed so much to our cultural landscape.”

By working with local communities in Kingston, creating an open and accessible submission process and teaming up with industry leads, KIFF hopes to inspire a new generation of filmmakers to submit their films to the festival, get guidance and funding to make their films and ultimately showcase their work on an international stage.

Tickets will go on sale soon. To find out more about the festival and for the full programme, which will be announced shortly, please visit the website here.

Photo credit: Dave Benett