Independent filmmaker, Mark Cousins, held a special Q/A as part of Harrogate Film Festival before screening his 2018 Cannes-Winning film – The Eyes of Orson Welles – to a packed-out audience.

The event, held at Starlings Coffee shop, which was transformed into a pop-up cinema, saw Mark talk all things film, to include his career, successes and how important film is to him. There was also the chance to ask Mark directly about his experience of the filmmaking world.

As one of Britain's leading directors and cultural critics, Mark is a regular contributor to BBC 4 and More 4. He also has an impressive contact list, working with the likes of David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski in his career.

The Q/A was hosted by Graham Chalmers from the Harrogate Advertiser, one of Mark’s long-time fans. Graham said, Mark is a highly-regarded film maker all around the world. It was a thrill to realise what had been a long-held dream for me personally; bringing Mark to Harrogate. And, it was great to hear the inside story about how Mark secured the screen legend Jane Fonda to appear in his next film about the history of women filmmakers. Mark’s appearance in Harrogate has been an enormous coup for Harrogate Film Festival shows a huge vote of confidence in the town's cinema fraternity.”

Mark Cousins with Graham Chalmers
Mark Cousins with Graham Chalmers

The film festival largely focuses on supporting independent film, something that Mark himself champions, saying at the event, “The new voices are in the indie scene, cinema will die if it doesn’t have these voices and that’s why it’s really valuable to have an indie film scene in our industry”

The independent film element of Harrogate Film Festival is going from strength-to-strength, with 15 filmmakers visiting this year and over 500 submissions from 50 countries worldwide. There are plans to expand this side of the festival in 2020.

“The role of a film festival is to engage audiences, give people confidence, connect them to other filmmakers and Harrogate Film Festival is doing a very good job of all of those things.”

Commenting on the Festival, Mark Cousins said