Arts + Entertainment

Cannes Comes to Ramsgate

Ramsgate’s first International Film & TV Festival hits town on Friday 24 March, and the entertainment industry is taking it very seriously indeed. Highly influential stage and screen names, and blue chip sponsors, have come together to support the initiative, which is the brainchild of Ramsgate resident, Sylvie Bolioli, who is herself an actress and director.  Luminaries involved in the three day event, which culminates in an Award Ceremony on 26 March, include its patron, Ramsgate-born actress and star of smash hit TV series Vera, Brenda Blethyn, and renowned producer Andy Mayson, who is the UK distributor of Oscar Best Picture winner Moonlight.

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Brenda Blethyn comments:

“I am thrilled to have been asked to be patron of the inaugural Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival. I’m enjoying working my way through the entries for the Best Feature Film category, and can’t wait for the big reveal on March 26th.  It’s wonderful that we have the opportunity to welcome industry experts and enthusiasts alike to Kent, to enjoy such a rich, international showcase of creative talent.”

Twenty-four movies, from eleven countries, will battle it out for a variety of awards, including the coveted ‘Bronze Anchor’ for Best Feature Film, and the ‘Glass Anchors’ for Best Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, and Short Film.  Viewers will also get to participate in the judging process, with special Audience Awards being presented for both Feature and Short films.

Andy Mayson comments:

“I feel honoured to be asked to be on the Jury.  This festival has such a warm feeling about it, embracing local culture, in a delightful setting, and attracting quality films from all over the world.”

Brenda and Andy are joined on the judging panels by short films expert Simon Young, who, like Brenda, grew up in Ramsgate, is now an advisor to the BFI London Film Festival, and director of acquisitions at Shorts International, the world’s leading short film entertainment company.

Simon Young comments:

“I’m delighted to have been asked to judge the short film competition at the Ramsgate International Film & TV Festival.  It may be small in size but big in personality, the programme looks fantastic and it’s a real honour to be involved in such a great event.  Having travelled all over the world to festivals, it’s a wonderful feeling to now be coming back to my home town to participate in a brand new film festival.”

In addition to the films in competition, festival-goers will be treated to movies, which, while not contending for awards, are certain to be major attractions, and on the opening night (Friday 24th March), there will be an industry-only preview of supernatural thriller Leave Now, which is set in Ramsgate, was directed by Ramsgate resident Stephen Frost. The following evening, the Festival will be hosting a celebration of Polish Cinema as Ramsgate teams up with the Kinoteka Film Festival to screen Polish film, Ostatnia Rodzina (The Last Family).  And on Sunday 26th March, a series of short films made by young people from the local area will be screened in partnership with ‘The Kent Film Foundation’ and ‘Arts in Ramsgate’.

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The event has been made possible through the tireless efforts of Sylvie and her team of local volunteers, the support of the Ramsgate Town Team and Thanet District Council, and the vision of sponsors, including house builder Orbit and brewery Shepherd Neame, who were prepared to invest in the fledgling event.

Orbit Sales Director Chris Craig comments:

“Orbit believes in building communities, so we are very happy to support the Ramsgate Film Festival and the boost it will give to Kent tourism and the local economy in future years. We wish Sylvie and her team every success.”

Shepherd Neame Chief Executive Jonathan Neame adds:

“We are delighted to support the inaugural Ramsgate International Film & TV Festival, which will not only enrich the cultural landscape of Kent, but help to underline its status as a great place to visit, live and work.”

Full details of the first Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival, and how to book tickets, can be found at

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