Cary Comes Home - UWE Bristol supports first festival for Bristol screen icon

Issue date: 03 October 2014

See the student volunteers in action on the uwebristol news Flickr gallery

Vintage clothing, red carpets and paparazzi, students and staff from UWE Bristol are helping to recreate some old style Hollywood glamour in bringing Bristol's favourite son, Cary Grant back to our screens at the Bristol Hippodrome, as part of a two day festival in the city, Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend (11-12 October 2014).

UWE Bristol is a major festival sponsor, working with The Bristol Hippodrome and Watershed to host this inaugural festival celebrating how Bristol-born, Archie Leach changed his name and his fortunes to become internationally famous film star Cary Grant, yet never forgot his Bristol roots. The event includes talks, tours, cocktails and film-making challenge.

Festival co-producer, Dr Charlotte Crofts (BA Filmmaking) says, “Surprisingly some of my students have never heard of Cary Grant, so this much-needed celebration will introduce a new generation to his inspiring life story, and offer a critical reappraisal of his body of work, as “the best and most important actor in the history of cinema” (according to David Thomson). We are so grateful to UWE Bristol for sponsoring the event and have really benefitted from the involvement of UWE Bristol volunteers.”

Not to be missed on Sunday 12 October 2014, is the double-bill gala screening of Arsenic and Old Lace, (15:00) and North by Northwest, (18:30). Paparazzi (played by UWE Bristol student volunteers) will be lining the red carpet to snap the attendees, who are encouraged to arrive in vintage dress as they arrive at the Bristol Hippodrome. There are prizes for the best-dressed and entry includes a behind the scenes tour of the theatre where Cary Grant worked back stage as schoolboy Archie Leach. The gala screenings feature live performance from The Big Act, Swing Dance Bristol and Bristol Festival of Song.

For the student volunteers from courses at UWE Bristol including: Filmmaking and Creative Media, Photography, Animation, Media Culture Practice and Film Studies, it has been an excellent opportunity to develop their skills on a real-life project. They've worked at promotional pop-up events in Bristol over the summer, created a buzz on the festival's Facebook and Twitter accounts and at the event will be capturing the fun of the red carpet double bill gala both as stewards and paparazzi and documenting the event on film.

For MA Curating student, Fern Dunn, working on the festival, has been a dream opportunity to combine her love of art cinema with developing her curating skills. Starting in April, Fern has worked on several pop-up events in Bristol to promote the festival including Park on Park Street, the Vintage Fair and most recently the University's Welcome Weekend for new students, whilst also managing the festival's twitter and Instagram accounts. Talking about her experience, she says, “I'm loving working on the Festival, it's been very enjoyable and interacting with the general public has been a great confidence-builder. There's a good buzz about the festival in Bristol, I've had lots of people coming up to me at the popup events to say they've bought tickets and how excited they are about it!

“I'm really grateful to the festival producers Charlotte Crofts and Anna Farthing for the opportunity and for really letting me get involved in the festival promotion. As I'm currently on placement on the event programming team at the Watershed as part of my course, I'm finding that the two opportunities complement each other really well, it's a real benefit to get the added experience of working on a one-off event project too, all I think will really help me in pursuing a future career in curating art cinema on graduation.”

One of Fern's projects has been to co-ordinate the Festival Film challenge – avid Cary Grant or Hitchcock fans were asked to submit a 90-sec micro movie capturing an aspect of North by Northwest. The only additional rules are that the film must include one of the following a suit, a classic quote from North by Northwest, a compass, a field, a train, sunglasses and matches. The winning films will be screened at the glamourous red carpet gala screening of North by Northwest at the Bristol Hippodrome on Sunday 12 October.

UWE Bristol academics, Dr Kathrina Glitre and Professor Andrew Spicer will be joined by BBC Radio Bristol's Laura Rawlings for a panel discussion exploring Cary Grant's journey from Horfield to Hollywood, on Saturday 11 October (10-12 noon) at the Watershed. The discussion will be interspersed with extracts from Cary Comes Home (Stuart Napier, 2004) a documentary celebrating Cary Grant's Bristol roots. For tickets – book now at the Watershed box office: 927 5100.

For the full events programme see:

Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend – sponsored by UWE Bristol and Harvest Heritage Arts and Media,festival partners are The Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol Festival of Ideas and Watershed with support from: full list of supporters.


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