Future worlds and life stories are the themes running through Bridport’s film festival, which showcases the art of adaptation through a stellar line up of directors, actors and screenings.

Future worlds such as Barbarella, and life stories are the themes running through Bridport’s film festival, which showcases the art of adaptation through a stellar line-up chosen by guest curator Rebecca Lenkiewicz who adapted She Said.

Great British Life: Rebecca Lenkiewicz, this year's guest curator. Rebecca Lenkiewicz, this year's guest curator. (Image: Rebecca Lenkiewicz)

A Very Creative Curator 

From Page To Screen (FPTS), is the UK’s only film festival that celebrates adaptations. One of last year's key speakers, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, is this year's guest curator. Rebecca came as Sir Christopher Hampton's guest (our curator in 2023) with She Said - the true story of how two New York Times journalists uncovered the Harvey Weinstein 'Me Too' scandal. Her work on She Said was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay BAFTA, and a Golden Globe Critics' Choice Award.

Rebecca is completing her film directorial debut, an adaptation of Deborah Levy's novel Hot Milk. Before this project, she wrote the screenplay for the forthcoming film of Raynor Winn’s best-selling memoir The Salt Path.

She started her storytelling career as an actor, most notably starring in Sir Peter Hall's production of The Baccae. In 2000 her first play Soho: A Tale of Table Dancers won Edinburgh's Fringe First award, and by 2008 she became the first living female playwright to have their original play - Her Naked Skin - performed on the National Theatre's Olivier stage.

Great British Life: Disobedience starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams Disobedience starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams (Image: Film4/Braven Films)

Her first film screenplay, Ida, won the 2015 Best Foreign Film Oscar. This was followed by Disobedience (2017) - based on Naomi Alderman's novel and starring Rachel Weisz - and then the biographical drama Colette (2018) with Keira Knightley in the title role.

Rebecca brings her extensive experience of every aspect of adaptation - from performance to writing to directing - to From Page To Screen. ‘The screenings and events we have planned are varied and brilliant,’ she says. ‘We'll be exploring the themes of Life Stories and Future Worlds with films including the latest award-winners, exclusive previews and new prints of old gems; there will also be live accompaniment for silent films, installations, exhibitions and some terrific documentary features too. It's going to be fantastic. Classic. Moving. Punk. Vibrant!’


Great British Life: Emma Thompson as Dora and Jonathan Pryce as Lytton Strachey in Carrington. Emma Thompson as Dora and Jonathan Pryce as Lytton Strachey in Carrington. (Image: Le Studio Canal)

Truth As Strange As Fiction 

The festival’s 'Life Stories' theme resonates with the new memoir writing category for the Bridport Prize', the literary competition started at Bridport Arts Centre in 1973, and has generated some exceptional documentary features, plus dramas based on historical facts.

Documentary maker Paul Sng presents his latest portrait of a groundbreaking rebel, Tish, as well as his 2021 documentary film Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché. Tish explores the life of Newcastle photographer Tish Murtha whose powerful images recorded marginalised communities, from the Northeast to Soho - The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw described it as ‘a tremendous, humane tribute to a real artist.’

Great British Life: Tish Murtha. Tish Murtha. (Image: Ella Murtha)

The deeply personal record of family relationships, Much Ado About Dying, has its roots in King Lear. Shot and edited by Simon Chambers, it is the intimate, moving and often hilarious story of his uncle David, as Simon cares for a Shakespeare-loving drama queen who may be physically frail but has lost none of his lifelong charisma. Simon will explore how Lear helped him shape hundreds of hours of documentary footage: ‘The last years of my uncle David's life are such a real-life parallel to Shakespeare's King Lear, which he loved so much, that the two stories become entangled. Uncle David always said that Shakespeare understood all the facets of old age so well.’

There are several feature films that draw on true stories including The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser based on the extraordinary reappearance in 1828 Nuremberg by a teenager who had been locked up all his life. And last year's FPTS curator Sir Christopher Hampton talks about his acclaimed 1995 depiction of the Bloomsbury Set, Carrington, a revelatory examination of the life of the bohemian artist Dora Carrington adapted from Michael Holroyd's biography of her beloved Lytton Strachey. Dora is played by Emma Thompson and Lytton by Jonathan Pryce.


Great British Life: Christopher Eccelston talks about his love of the film Kes. Christopher Eccelston talks about his love of the film Kes. (Image: Johnny Ring)

Outstanding British Screen Talent 

Another pair of great British actors joining us for this year’s From Page To Screen are Francesca Annis and Christopher Eccleston, whose work encompasses stage, screen, television and radio.

Francesca Annis will be reflecting on an extraordinary acting career that began in 1963 when, aged 16, she was cast as Elizabeth Taylor's handmaiden in Cleopatra. Annis would go on to astound audiences as Lady Macbeth in Polanski's 1971 adaptation and then as Lady Jessica in David Lynch's epic 1984 sci-fi Dune, before playing Mrs Wellington in Prince's Under The Cherry Moon. In addition, she has seven decades of roles in television dramas such as Lillie, Between The Lines, Reckless, Cranford and Home Fires. Stage work has also always been a crucial part of her career, including leading RSC roles - playing Juliet opposite Ian McKellen's Romeo in 1976 - and more recently in Rebecca Lenkiewicz 's play Shoreditch Madonna. Their Q&A after the screening of Macbeth will be fascinating.

Christopher Eccleston's roles have often exposed miscarriages of justice; in 1991 he played Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It and in the 1996 TV drama Hillsborough he was cast as Trevor Hicks who lost both his daughters in the 1989 disaster. His film career also features collaborations with directors Danny Boyle (1984 Shallow Grave, 2002 28 Days Later) and Michael Winterbottom (1996 Jude and 2002 24 Hour Party People).

Christopher recently read Barry Hine's novel Kes for BBC4 and described how Ken Loach's 1969 film adaptation transformed his life; ‘Kes changed my entire view of myself and culture for working class people. It inspired me to smash down the ivory towers built by Oxbridge and get into the arts world.’ Christopher will be in conversation, after a screening of Kes, with investigative journalist and filmmaker Simon Ford with whom he's narrated the commentary on BBC One’s Ambulance series since 2017.

PQ ‘Kes changed my entire view of myself and culture for working class people'


Great British Life: Theatrical poster for The Day The Earth Stood Still. Theatrical poster for The Day The Earth Stood Still. (Image: Twentieth Century Fox)

Future Worlds, Future Talents

A visit by The Ninth Doctor - Time Lord, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor Who in 2005 - is quite a coup for a festival exploring the depiction of 'Future Worlds' and we hope he will enjoy the accompanying exhibition, Making The Future. This stunning installation in the Bridport Art Centre's Allsop Gallery by production designers Caroline Greville-Morris and Marcus Wookey, evokes cinematic visions of the future using footage, set-building and archive material. Greville-Morris was the designer on the steampunk dystopia Mutant Chronicles, while Wookey envisioned a utopian world where scientists harness the collective subconscious in Mind Gamers.

‘The exhibition is an exploration of two future world aesthetics, Utopian and Dystopian as seen on screen,’ says Greville-Morris. ‘Examples of the design process; concept art, set and costume design, storyboards, objects and props will visually tell the story of how we make the future in the film industry.’

Visually iconic sci-fi classics in the festival include Stalker, the 1979 Soviet dystopia directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and the utopias depicted in Roger Vadim’s Paco Rabanne-styled Barbarella (1968) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), where wise alien Klaatu brings earthlings a warning. Greville-Morris introduces the screening of Barbarella then leads a guided look around the exhibition. There’s also be a tour for families and young people after The Day The Earth Stood Still.

From Page To Screen is always keen to inspire the next generation of creatives, including film students from festival sponsor Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and local emerging talent. On the closing Sunday there's a hand-picked selection of short films from Rebecca Lenkiewicz and the chance afterwards for filmmakers to meet her and discuss their own projects, as well as a screening of her 'Curator's Choice' - a new print of Werner Herzog's 'heartbreaking classic' The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, reissued for its 50th anniversary.


Great British Life: X-Ray Specs lead singer Poly Styrene. X-Ray Specs lead singer Poly Styrene. (Image: Image by Tony Barrat Courtesy of Modern Films))

Special Soundscapes 

Another dynamic element of this year's festival is the responses to adaptation using music, including Creature. This breathtaking dance interpretation of Georg Büchne’s play Woyzeck - with a nod to the world's first work of science fiction, Frankenstein - was devised by Olivier Award winning choreographer Akram Khan and directed by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy, The Warrior).

There are more explosive musical elements on Saturday in Paul Sng's documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché. Directed with her daughter Celeste Bell, it draws on her biography Day Glo: The Poly Styrene Story, about her mother Marianne Joan Elliot-Said and includes Marianne's personal diaries, archival footage and interviews to explore the history and legacy of one of punk's first female singers.

Bridport's Clocktower Records are sponsors of this event. Owner Roy Gregory says: ‘Poly Styrene is of the greatest frontwomen of all time, her early releases like Germfree Adolescents are considered classics of the genre. To celebrate Punk, Clocktower will have a special stall at the screening plus a display of records, souvenirs and photographs from this fascinating era.’

Concluding the festival on Sunday is an original live score to accompany the screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 silent masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc, renowned for Renée Falconetti’s evocation of Joan and its revolutionary cinematography. Developing a musical accompaniment for such a visually powerful film has been a fascinating challenge for musicians Andew Goldberg (piano) and Ricky Romain (sitar). ‘The first consideration was how to allow the imagery in the film - which is extraordinarily stark - to speak for itself and not impose a musical score over it,’ says Goldberg. ‘We adopted a minimal approach using improvisation to enhance the unfolding of the story, allowing the imagery and sounds to seek within the listening audience a 'poetic' response to these artistic disciplines coming together.’

Great British Life: From Page to ScreenFrom Page to Screen (Image: From Page to Screen)

Let’s go!

Bridport’s film festival, From Page To Screen runs from April 24 – 28, with most events being screened at Bridport Arts Centre. For full details of all the event and to buy tickets visit

bridport-arts.com or drop by in person to the Bridport Tourist Information Centre.