Lights, camera, action! Cambridge Film Festival to kick off next week

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy star in 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain'

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy star in 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain' - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

The BAFTA-qualifying annual Cambridge Film Festival is preparing to launch its milestone 40th edition next week with a bumper programme of UK premieres.

CFF40 - which is the UK's third longest running film festival and one of Europe's largest international film festivals - will take place over eight days at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse from Thursday, November 18.

Special events will also be held at the Howard Theatre and at Downing College and Jesus College at the University of Cambridge.

Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook star in Ali & Ava at the Cambridge Film Festival

Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook star in Ali & Ava at the Cambridge Film Festival - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

Opening the festival is Clio Bernard's 'Ali & Ava', starring Adeel Akhtar as the complex, multi-layered, musical, vibrant and kind Ali as he comes to terms with the breakdown of his marriage and encounters Ava, played by Claire Rushbrook - another lost soul trying to emerge from the shadow left by her deceased former husband.

'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain' by Cambridge Footlights alumnus Will Sharpe will close the festival, featuring an all-star cast led by Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch, and narrated by Olivia Colman.

Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain', which will be shown at Cambridge Film Festival

Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain', which will be shown at Cambridge Film Festival - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

The film also features Taika Waititi, Richard Ayoade, Aimee Lou Wood and Nick Cave, and highlights Louis Wain's eccentricities as well as his role in popularising cats through his prolific painting efforts.

Gala Screenings - a strand of the festival including stories of mystical journeys, queer sexual liberation, the fight for recognition at work and the fall from stardom - will be headlined by Michael Showalter's 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye'. The film is described as a 'glorious biopic', which charts the rise and ultimate fall of a televangelist.

Jessica Chastain in 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye', which will be shown at Cambridge Film Festival

Jessica Chastain in 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye', which will be shown at Cambridge Film Festival - Credit: Searchlight Pictures

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Matthew Webb, Cambridge Film Trust's executive director, said: "The 40th anniversary programme is packed with timely and topical films and voices.

"Issues such as climate change and social justice provide a core thread through the programme as well as joy, love and empathy to bring us together."

The festival is made possible by BFI's Film Audience Network, with the support of The National Lottery.

Tickets for all morning showings are available for just £3.

For more information visit https://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk/

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