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Hull: City of Cinema

A celebration of Hull’s film and television makers – past, present and future

With screenings, talks and Q&As

Friday 24 – Sunday 26 March 2017


13th March 2017

Three leading British producers with local links will give the lowdown on their careers at Hull: City of Cinema, a celebration of Hull's rich film and television heritage that takes place at the University of Hull's Middleton Hall from 24-26 March.

Following on from January’s Anthony Minghella retrospective, acclaimed producers Jeremy Thomas, Tracey Seaward and Chris Hees will discuss their work and Hull’s ongoing involvement in this economically important sector, alongside special screenings of films they have producers.

Tickets are now on sale for Hull: City of Cinema, which will feature Sexy Beast (2000), produced by Jeremy Thomas and starring Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane; Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), produced by Tracey Seaward, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant; and Chris Hees' BAFTA-winning, Academy Award-nominated short animation, The Bigger Picture.

Also being shown during the weekend will be two BBC television dramas set in Hull. Small Zones (1990), starring Sean Bean and filmed on location in Hull and Spurn Point, will be introduced by its writer, Jim Hawkins. Alan Plater’s Land of Green Ginger (1973) will be introduced by Hull-born Plater expert Dr David Rolinson (University of Stirling).

The event is part of Transformative Film Culture for Hull, a year-long programme of film activity for Hull UK City of Culture 2017 supported by the BFI with its partner Film Hub North with funds from the National Lottery.

Hull is a city with a rich, wide-ranging screen heritage. It is the birthplace of J Arthur Rank, one of the founding figures of the British film industry, and of Gerald and Ralph Thomas, directors of the Carry On… and Doctor series, respectively. It has been home to other illustrious screen industry figures, including screenwriter Alan Plater and Oscar-winning Director Anthony Minghella an alumnus and former lecturer of the University of Hull. In front of the camera, British stars who herald from Hull include Tom Courtenay, Maureen Lipman and Marjorie Rhodes.

More recently, Hull and East Yorkshire has been a location choice for several feature films, including Dad’s Army and ID2, as well as TV series such as last year's television drama National Treasure starring Robbie Coltrane.

Hull: City of Cinema will include a keynote lecture from Emeritus Professor of Film Studies Neil Sinyard at the University of Hull plus talks on a range of topics including Hull’s historical cinema sites, J Arthur Rank and COUM Transmissions, which is currently the subject of a retrospective at Humber Street Gallery. The weekend will be launched, ‘Hollywood-style’, by former Hollywood town crier Michael Wood, with his talk ‘ How I Got into the Movies’.

Professor Neil Sinyard, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies, University of Hull, said: “This programme of events provides a unique opportunity to survey and savour the enormous and invaluable contribution Hull has made, and continues to make, to British film culture.”

Quote from Jeremy Thomas: “I am delighted to come to Hull, City of Culture and Cinema to talk about my life in the movies. This is a special city for me as my father Ralph Thomas and uncle Gerald Thomas, both prolific film directors, came from Hull.”

Sam Hunt, Executive Producer at Hull 2017, commented: “Hull: City of Cinema is a great opportunity to get the inside track on Hull and East Yorkshire’s significant role in film and television from some of the country's top talent. It’s part of a year-long celebration of an important artform and creative industry, which we hope will reinforce the region’s status as a centre for film.”


Friday 24 March from 19:00

Q&A with Jeremy Thomas and screening of Sexy Beasts (2000)

Our special guest is the son of Ralph and nephew of Gerald Thomas. Jeremy is one of the UK’s most internationally successful and respected film producers. Since making his first film in 1974, Jeremy has produced more than 50 feature films, working with filmmakers including Nicolas Roeg, Bernardo Bertolucci, Richard Linklater, and Wim Wenders, and on adaptations of work by writers including Arthur Miller, William S Burroughs and J G Ballard. His many awards include the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema and nine Oscars® for Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. Jeremy will talk about his father and uncle, and about his own filmmaking career. The Q&A will be followed by a screening of Sexy Beast (2000), produced by Jeremy Thomas, directed by Jonathan Glazer, and starring Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, and Ian McShane.

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Saturday 25 March, 10:00-23:00

Q&A with Tracey Seaward and a screening of Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Tracey Seaward, born in Willerby, East Yorkshire, has produced more than 20 films since 1992, working with directors including David Cronenberg, Fernando Meirelles, Steven Spielberg, and Stephen Frears. In 2012, she produced London’s Olympic Games opening ceremony working with Oscar®-winning director Danny Boyle. In 2007, she won the Best Film BAFTA for The Queen, and in 2008, she received an honorary degree from the University of Hull. The Q&A will be followed by a screening of Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), produced by Tracey Seaward, directed by Stephen Frears, and starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

There will also be two screenings of Hull-based BBC television dramas. Small Zones (1990), starring Sean Bean, and filmed on location in Hull and Spurn Point, will be introduced by its writer, Jim Hawkins. Alan Plater’s Land of Green Ginger (1973) will be introduced by Hull-born Plater expert Dr David Rolinson (University of Stirling).

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Sunday 26 March, 10:00-16:00

Q&A with Chris Hees and a screening of BAFTA winning The Bigger Picture (2014)

Chris Hees, born in Hull, has often returned to the city to nurture young talent in the region, for example through the BFI Film Academy. Awarded a BFI Producer Vision Award last year, Chris will introduce his BAFTA-winning, Academy Award®-nominated short animation, The Bigger Picture, and lead a filmmaking masterclass.

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Full weekend tickets are priced £20 (£16 concessions) Day tickets are £8 (£6 concession). To book, and for more information, visit