Friday, 9 September 2011


Meeting at Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media Centre this afternoon with Andy Jones, Programme Manager. From this point on, the proposed Faiths Film Festival during National Inter Faith Week (Sun 20 - Sat 26 November) is a goer! I've set my hopes on this one for ages now (certainly since well before National Inter Faith Week last year); I'm delighted that we've got the green light now.

Phoenix Square often features such festival presentations, often linked to local activities, events and occasions.  Our Faiths Film Fest will be included as part of Phoenix Square's regular public programme, promoted through its printed and online brochure, double-badged in association with Leicester Council of Faiths, showing our logo.

The films will not be put on  for members of the faith communities alone. The intention is certainly not that the "Buddhist" films (for example) should only appeal to Buddhists. The films have to be commercially viable, available for screening in a decent format and the kind of movie that will bring in up to 75 patrons (for Screen 2) or 30 patrons (if shown in the smaller Screen Room). Proper films, in other words - accessible and appealing to the kind of audience that uses Phoenix Square (and definitely not any kind of propaganda material).

We're hoping to be able to schedule at least one film from each of our eight member faiths. As much as possible, I'm taking recommendations from people who adhere to these faiths themselves, so that they can get some buy-in from the communities. It's not our desire to be contentious or controversial, but we also have no wish to be comfortable or bland.

Here are some of the titles we hope to be able to show:

That's two Buddhist titles, two Christian, two Jewish and two Muslim. We're on the lookout now for two each that would work from Bahá'ís, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. If any of them can't recommend a suitable title, we may be able to show something that exemplifies or illustrates a theme that chimes with that particular faith community (e.g. on the theme of the unity of humankind to stand for Bahá'ís, on the theme of non-violence for Jains, since there's a paucity of films directly related to those faiths). Three of the films listed above are in languages other than English.

This week-long event will be a strong complement to the exhibition in Highcross and a distinctive contribution to this national occasion, which will be celebrated for only the third time in 2011.

Recommendations of movies for inclusion in the first Faiths Film Festival will be gratefully received, faithful reader: all reasonable suggestions considered.


  1. The Life of Brian!

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, "Anonymous" (not the first time you've posted a comment on this blog, I see!)

    While I defer to no one in admiration and love for Python (except perhaps my son Alastair), we won't be showing Monty Python's Life of Brian at the first Leicester Faiths Film Fest, for a number of reasons. Not least of these is the fact that it is so well known. While we’re hoping to get a good turnout for each of the films, we’re also hoping to challenge some preconceptions (and prejudices) by offering some films old and new that cover a range of themes and approaches. We’re also trying to give fair coverage to all eight member communities of Leicester Council of faiths.

    I’d like to draw your attention to "Lourdes", which is on our list.

    “Lourdes” was awarded The Brian Prize at the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009. The Brian Prize is the trophy awarded from 2006 to “A film that highlights and enhances the values of rationality, respect for human rights, democracy, pluralism, promotion of individuality, freedom of conscience, expression and research, the principle of equal opportunities in public institutions for all citizens, without the frequent distinctions based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or philosophical” among those presented during the Venice International Film Festival. The "Brian Prize," was, fo course, inspired by (and named after) Monty Python's Life of Brian.

    In a review of “Lourdes” (19 April 2010) The Indpendent states that "The remarkable coup of the film is that it can be taken either as a testament to the power of faith or as a subtle undermining of it."