Oscar winner chosen to close film festival

Hayao Miyazaki’s stunning Oscar-winning film Spirited Away has been chosen by film fans to close a major international festival set on the banks of the river Tamar.

It’s All About the River launched on September 12 and since then, a public vote has been staged to decide which of six river-themed films would close the month long event.

More than 40 per cent of the votes cast opted for Spirited Away, the highest-grossing film in Japanese history and winner of the 2003 Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

The film – which was up against a range of popular classics including Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bridge on the River Kwai, A River Runs Through It and On A Clear Day - will now be shown on Saturday 11 October in Devonport Park, during a stunning final festival weekend.

Paula Orrell, Artistic Director of the It’s All About the River festival, said:

“We're so delighted that the audience have chosen this magical film to close our It's All About the River festival. Apart from being a wonderful family film Spirited Away, with its strange creatures, gods and river spirits, speaks to some of our own myths surrounding the River and the legend of Tamara. It was the first anime film to win an Oscar, becoming a beloved modern classic, and completes our journey downriver from early cinema to the present.”

Martin Stephens, owner of the Park Pavilion Cafe, said:

"We are really excited about the prospect of having a large open air cinema event in the Park. I believe the venue is perfect, especially as the Park overlooks the river Tamar. There is already a great deal of anticipation building and we are proud to be supporting this important community event."

It’s All About the River is presented by The River Tamar Project and Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, and is being staged with funding from Arts Council England, the British Film Institute Film Festival Fund, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, the Heritage Lottery Fund and FEAST.

The final weekend includes something to tantalise tastebuds across the film genres, with one of the highlights being an outdoor screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now on the Torpoint Ferry, on Thursday 9 October. Starting at 7.45pm, the ferry will leave Torpoint and then moor in the middle of the Tamar for the duration.

The weekend will also feature the world premiere of Tropikos, a film by BAFTA-nominated director John Akomfrah and the Smoking Dogs, exploring the river Tamar’s link to the slave trade. The first screening is on Friday 10 October at Devonport Guildhall, with a talk by the film’s makers being held at the same venue at 7pm that evening.

Tickets for these and the other events being staged as part of the festival are still on sale, with more information and the full festival programme available by clicking the link below.

Phil Gibby, Area Director South West at Arts Council England, said:

It’s All About the River is about taking great art into the heart of our communities and celebrating a shared sense of place.