A Powell and Pressburger special programme at Foyle Film Festival

A Powell and Pressburger special programme at Foyle Film Festival

Foyle Film Festival and Nerve Centre announce the release of a special programme, Powell and Pressburger: Fantasy and Wonder. This marks the first reveal for the upcoming Foyle Film Festival in November with special guests three-time Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, widow of Michael Powell, and Producer Andrew Macdonald, grandson of Emeric Pressburger.

Powell and Pressburger: Fantasy and Wonder promises to be an enlightening and immersive experience, introducing new audiences to the visionary works of Powell and Pressburger through screenings of their magical films A Matter of Life and Death and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, lectures and special events. This programme will highlight their profound impact on luminaries such as Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, and the Macdonald brothers Andrew and Kevin, demonstrating that the legacy of Powell and Pressburger remains a vibrant and integral part of modern cinema.

Thelma Schoonmaker has been editor on all of Martin Scorsese’s feature films since Raging Bull in 1980, for which she won her first Academy Award. She has received eight Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing and winner for Aviator (2004) and The Departed (2006). Killers of the Flower Moon, released this month, marks her 23rd collaboration with Scorsese.

Thelma was introduced to Michael Powell by Martin Scorsese and the couple married in 1984. Since Powell's death in 1990, she has dedicated herself to preserving the films and honouring the legacy of her husband. After a screening of Raging Bull at Brunswick Moviebowl on the evening of Monday 20 November, Thelma will talk about her close working relationship with Martin Scorsese and share memories of her husband Michael Powell. The public interview will be conducted by Professor Ian Christie, who rediscovered the works of Powell and Pressburger in the 1980s and has authored several seminal books on the pair.  

The festival will also welcome Andrew Macdonald on Friday 24 November to introduce a screening of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp where he will talk about his grandfather, screenwriter Emeric Pressburger. Andrew is producer of 30 feature films including Trainspotting, Ex Machina and Far From the Madding Crowd and will introduce a screening of his horror classic 28 Days Later.  

This series of events form part of the broader UK film season, Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell and Pressburger, with support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery in order to bring this project to more audiences across the UK.

Nerve Centre director Martin Melarkey said, “We are indebted to film historian Professor Ian Christie for helping us curate this wonderful programme. Ian’s father was a Derryman so it is very fitting that he is visiting the city once again to interview Thelma Schoonmaker and give a lecture on the influence of Powell and Pressburger on Martin Scorsese. The connection between these great filmmakers is fascinating.” 

Hugh Odling-Smee, Project Manager, Film Hub NI said, ‘Film Hub NI and BFI Film Audience Network are delighted to support this wonderful season from Foyle Film Festival. The Fantasy and Wonder season will add hugely to the work taking place across NI and the UK by FAN members to celebrate the impact of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger on worldwide film culture. To see such stellar guests being welcomed to Foyle Film Festival to compliment the programme is a wonderful gift to all film fans in Derry and beyond, and we are especially delighted to see the visit of Thelma Schoonmaker to Derry and Belfast, a joint enterprise between the two major independent cinema venues in NI, Queen’s Film Theatre and Nerve Centre. Powell and Pressburger: Fantasy and Wonder is a huge opportunity for audiences in the North-West — congratulations to all the team at Foyle Film Festival.’

This programme lineup exemplifies the enduring brilliance of Powell and Pressburger's work, and includes: 

  • Mirror Images: The Influence of Powell and Pressburger on Martin Scorsese (Virtual Lecture)
  • Raging Bull (4k Restoration) plus Q&A with Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Wings of Desire (4k Restoration)
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
  • 28 Days Later plus intro from Andrew MacDonald
  • A Matter of Life and Death (4k Restoration)
  • Online lecture by film scholar Lillian Crawford on the influence of Powell and Pressburger on modern horror cinema 

Thelma Schoonmaker will also be appearing for a second Q&A at QFT, Belfast on Tuesday 21 November.

More information on the Powell and Pressburger, Fantasy and Wonder Series and the wider Foyle Film Festival programme can be found via https://foylefilmfestival.org

Bookings for all events will open on Wednesday 1 November 2023

Foyle Film Festival 2023 takes place from Friday 17 – Sunday 26 November.

These events form part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. bfi.org.uk/powell-and-pressburger


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