Preview – Derby Film Festival 2015


We’re well into to spring now, and reassuringly, like the flowering of the plants, the birthing of lambs and people whinging about hay fever, we see the Derby Film Festival coming out of its annual hibernation to bring us some of the most interesting and important films from the UK and abroad.

This year’s Derby Film Festival runs from the 1st to the 10th of May at the superb Quad arts complex,  and this year they’re playing with the theme of evidence. This sees the programme turn a magnifying glass on films featuring private eyes, journalists, amateur detectives (i.e. soft vigilantes) and crime fighters (i.e. hard vigilantes). This means you’ll get to see known, and less well known, classics such as All The President’s Men, Blow Up (which was key in ending the Hay’s Code), Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and Kiss Me Deadly.

Alongside these detectivey delights there’s also the broader film programme that focuses on the best new films from around the world, with over 20 preview screenings. Some of the stand out looking preview features are:

Black Coal, Thin Ice – Monday 4th May

Black coal thin ice motorbike in the snowNorthern China, 1999 – a gruesome series of discoveries is made and cop Zhang Lili is assigned the case. An arrest is quickly made but things fall apart and Zhang finds himself off the force in disgrace. Five years later a similar murder occurs and Zhang, now a security guard, reteams with his old partner to correct their mistakes. Taking place in a bleak landscape where violence never seems far away Black Coal, Thin Ice is a unique take on the police thriller. – Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival.

Listen Up Philip – Sunday 3rd May

Jason Schwartzman stars as Philip, a writer awaiting the publication of his second novel and struggling to contain his rage. Tiring of big city life and finding his relationship with girlfriend Ashley on a definite downward curve he jumps at the chance to visit the summer home of his idol Ike Zimmerman. Listen Up Philip announces writer/director Alex Ross Perry as an exciting new voice in American independent cinema.

The Goob – Tuesday 5th May

Goob Taylor has just left school and is living at his mother’s roadside cafe in rural Norfolk. His mother’s new boyfriend is an aspiring stock-car racer and bully, who scares off everyone Goob attempts to befriend. Taking place over the course of a single summer, The Goob is an affecting coming of age tale from debut director Guy Myhill, who will also be holding a Q&A session after the film.

Seven Times A Day We Complain About Our Fate And At Night We Get Up To Avoid Our Dreams

Oberhausen – Seven Times A Day We Complain About Our Fate And At Night We Get Up To Avoid Our Dreams

Like any film festival worth its salt, there are a number of really high quality short film screenings throughout the 10 day festival. You know how we love our shorts here at Gorilla (both the cinematic kind and the clothing kind), and we’ll be going along to cover a couple of them; Oberhausen On Tour and Eat My Shorts. Oberhausen is the German based short film festival and it is bringing some of its finest films about family to Derby. Eat My Shorts is the competition selection of short films from the UK and abroad, with a programme that covers animated astronauts and communication with the dead.

On the second weekend of the festival (the 8th to the 10th), they have their special Fantastiq section. This means things get a little weirder as the programme gives itself over to sci-fi, fantasy and horror films. They’ll be screening new films, like A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, the UK premiere of Nightmare Code, about a programmer who finds a dark secret in some code he is brought in to finish, as well classics like Hellbound: Hellraiser II and David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone.

Jenny Agutter - Logan's Run

Jenny Agutter – Logan’s Run

As if all that film goodness wasn’t enough, the festival also crams in some special events, the main one being a retrospective of the work of Jenny Agutter. Some of the British actress’s best films, including The Railway Children, Logan’s Run and Walkabout, will be screened, and the woman herself will be at the festival to discuss her work with writer and broadcaster Tony Earnshaw.

Other special events include an opening night performance from the pioneering Radiophonic Workshop, Mark Herman (Brassed Off, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas) in conversation, the Five Lamps 24 hour film challenge, and a Sight & Sound discussion panel about the legacy of female film critics.

As you can see from this brief(ish) rundown, the Derby Film Festival is offering a lot in terms of quality and quantity to film aficionados over its 10 day duration. If you’re in the area we highly recommend you stop by as whatever day or night you go on, you’re certain to find yourself watching the kind of important, innovative work that you don’t get to see on the big screen too often.

Find the full Derby Film Festival 2015 programme here.


About Author

David Price is the editor of Gorilla Film Online and co-writer/co-producer of MarsCorp and The Bunker podcasts. He has made a number of short films and has watched more than 12 feature films. Writers/con-artists can contact him at daveprice at

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