Tilda Swinton Organizes World’s Smallest Film Festival

Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, alongside directors Mark Cousins and Joel Cohen, has founded the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams — a truly enigmatic, creative, and amazing creation that also happens to be the world’s smallest film festival, where “celebrities are not invited, the paparazzi are banned, and entry is free if you take along a tray of fairy cakes”.

This wonderfully playful, cinematic event will be held over 8 1/2 days from August 15-23, 2008 at a ramshackled old ballroom in Nairn. Visit the festival’s official site more for more information here.

The quirkily titled Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams is the brainchild of Tilda Swinton, the Oscar-winning British actress.

But she is the only Hollywood star you will see there. Because celebrities are not invited, the paparazzi are banned, and entry is free if you take along a tray of fairy cakes.

Audiences at the screenings in the seaside town of Nairn, north-east Scotland, will sit on beanbags and tuck into fishfinger sandwiches instead of canapes.

The schedule is eclectic, to put it mildly. While the organisers of the Cannes, Venice and Toronto film festivals endeavour to secure world premieres, Swinton has simply chosen some of her favourite films, helped by two friends, US director Joel Coen and Mark Cousins, former artistic director of the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Opening proceedings is Peter Ibbetson, a black and white surrealist fantasy from 1935 starring Gary Cooper. It will be followed by Bette Davis classic All About Eve; musical Singin’ In The Rain; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone; and Murder Most Foul, with Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple. Offerings from the Ukraine, Japan, Poland and Senegal are also on the slate.

The only premiere will be a short film shot on Super 8 about James Duthie, a deaf cyclist who cycled into the Arctic Circle in 1951.

The closing film is 8 1/2, the 1963 classic directed by Federico Fellini. Its genius inspired the festival, according to Swinton. Accordingly, the event will run for 8 1/2 days.

The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema Of Dreams has attracted interest and ticket sales from all over the world, but online tickets are no longer available so, if you’re planning on attending, you’ll have to travel all the way to Nairn to pick some up:

Tickets have been snapped up from as far away as Finland, Canada and the US. A handful are still available, although you will have to visit the Nairn Bookshop on the High Street to buy them.

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