Coronavirus: Simon Pegg film opens Cheltenham virtual festival

coronavirus simon pegg film opens cheltenham virtual festival - Coronavirus: Simon Pegg film opens Cheltenham virtual festivalImage copyright Cheltenham International Film Festival
Image caption Lost Transmissions stars Juno Temple and Simon Pegg

A film festival which is unable to show screenings due to the coronavirus pandemic is putting its 2020 programme online.

The Cheltenham International Film Festival opens with Lost Transmissions starring actor Simon Pegg.

Festival director Leslie Sheldon said: “It was either this or accept that lockdown meant cancelling everything we’d planned.”

Pegg said the virtual event was “completely unchartered territory”.

The film festival runs for one week and this year’s programme includes 35 films from 20 countries.

Image copyright Dave Willis
Image caption Simon Pegg said Lost Transmissions was a film he was “very proud of”

Shaun of the Dead star Pegg said he was “excited” that Lost Transmissions, directed by Katharine O’Brien, was opening the festival.

He said it felt like a “virtual homecoming” as he had grown up in Gloucestershire.

“Cinema isn’t about the big screen, it’s about community, sharing an experience with a group of strangers. That’s what will be missing. The film itself won’t change at all,” he said.

Image copyright Xavier Mas
Image caption Simon Bird said festivals were an “absolutely crucial part of the independent film industry”

Another film to be streamed at the festival is actor Simon Bird’s directorial debut Days of the Bagnold Summer.

Bird, best known for his roles in TV shows The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner, said festivals were an “absolutely crucial part of the independent film industry” and he thought people would “miss the social aspects and the vicarious glamour of it all”.

He said his film had been “one of the lucky ones” because it was “wrapped and had a distributor” before the pandemic struck.

“I mean, this is a deafeningly quiet film about two introverts in which very little of note actually happens,” he said.

“This is a film about being stuck at home and how maddening, depressing but ultimately rewarding that can be, so it makes total sense for people to watch it under lockdown conditions.”

The festival starts on Monday and runs until 14 June.

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