Thursday, 7 October 2010

‘The King’s Speech’ to head up Leeds International Film Festival

Caption: The festival begins with 'The King's Speech' starring Colin Firth

A special preview screening of likely Oscar contender ‘The King’s Speech’ has been announced as the opening night feature at this year’s Leeds International Film Festival.

The film, which tells the tale of the man who became King George VI and stars Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, will be shown on Thursday 4th November at Leeds Town Hall to herald the start of the biggest regional film festival in the UK.

Now in its 24th year, the Leeds International Film Festival organised by Leeds City Council will see over 100 feature films and 150 short features shown over 18 days across 12 venues from November 4th-21st.

Two special taster sessions showing clips of films to be screened at the festival will be held in the Albert Room at Leeds Town Hall as part of Light Night at 7:30pm and 7:45pm on Friday 8th October.

The iconic Leeds Town Hall will provide the focal point of the festival, with the stunning Victoria Hall being transformed into a state-of-the-art cinema complete with big screen and full digital surround sound with seating for 800 people.

The festival begins with ‘The King’s Speech’, which tells the moving story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, and his battle to overcome a major speech impediment. The film is fresh from its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival where it claimed the prestigious People’s Choice Award (seen as a reliable pointer for Oscar success), and Leeds is one of only a few places to see it before its nationwide UK release in January.

Other films to be screened at Leeds Town Hall during the festival include Never Let Me Go starring Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan, 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and Australian film Animal Kingdom which is being given its UK premiere.

Leeds Town Hall will also host Fanomenon Day of the Dead 4 on Saturday 13th November. The Fanomenon element of the festival has quickly established itself as one of the most anticipated events in the country for fans of international horror and genre films. With special guest appearances, extended on-stage interviews and special preview events, horror fans can enjoy some of the years’ most talked-about films all on one day.

Director of Leeds International Film Festival Chris Fell said:

“Opening with The King’s Speech is a major coup for the Leeds International Film Festival and special thanks to Momentum Pictures in London for helping to make this happen.

“As one of the most talked-about new films of the year and part-filmed in Leeds too, The King’s Speech will make a perfect start to our major programme of outstanding world cinema and a great launch event for our flagship venue of Leeds Town Hall.”

Other host venues taking part in the festival are: The Hyde Park Picture House, The Carriageworks theatre, Leeds Grand Theatre’s Howard Assembly Room, VUE Cinema in The Light, The HiFi Club, Seven, Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds University, Saviles Hall, East Street Arts and The Wardrobe.

The 24th Leeds International Film Festival is presented by Leeds City Council, and supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and Screen Yorkshire, with lead sponsors anCnoc Highland Single Malt Whisky, East Coast Mainline, Leeds Brewery, Northern Rail, twentysix Digital, Bewley’s Hotels, Vue Cinemas and

For more information on the festival and for full ticket details go to

Notes to editors:

Tickets and film festival passes can be bought in person at City Centre Box Office (The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD), over the telephone (0113 224 3801) and online (

Festival programmes are available from Friday 8th October and special edition festival catalogues (limited run) will be available during the festival.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Theatre hosts free event to celebrate World Mental Health Day

The Carriageworks is delighted to be working with key mental health organisations, professionals and service users to promote World Mental Health Day (10 October) this year.

The theatre will host a full day of performances, participatory arts, arts therapies and music to explore, to raise awareness about the issue of mental health in our community.

Responding to the Time to Change campaign, which aims to put a stop to mental health discrimination, the partners will stage a free event called “Who am I?” at The Carriageworks on Saturday 9 October.

Everyone is welcome to come along and join in the free activities, which start at 12.15pm on Millennium Square with a balloon release, and run until 6pm. It promises to be a creative and relaxing day!

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“Its estimated that one in four people globally will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, so its really important that we do everything we can to raise awareness of this and the support that there is in place to help people and their families.

““It’s time to eradicate the stigma that comes with mental health conditions, which could affect anybody and I urge people to go along to this event if they can.”

The programme of events includes:

Two specially commissioned pieces of theatre from local based companies in rep at 3pm and 4.30pm:

1in4 Theatre Company will present a new piece, “Taking Care” with an additional workshop session. 'Taking Care' is a meditation on the emotional territory of needing care, receiving care and caring for others.

Out of Character Theatre Company will present Episodes, a series of fragmented works that have been developed to be performed by any number of the company in a variety of locations and for differing audiences.

The event will also showcase a wide range of other art forms throughout the day, including visual arts, music, singing, arts and crafts and poetry.

Workshops (1.30 to 4.30pm)
The event will host workshops run by industry professionals.

Creative Personalities
After the success of Creative Personalities, presented by Personality Plus, in January 2009, Community Links is taking the opportunity to showcase more of the fantastic work of service users, ex-service users and service deliverers. This will include visual art, live art and performance poetry within the exhibition space which will be open all day.

Information and services
During the day all visitors will have access to lots of information, ‘trade stalls’, a chill-out room, and a chance to chat to a professional in private if they need to.

Tickets are free, however donation boxes will be available at all the performances to support the work of the artists.

For more information please contact The Carriageworks on Leeds 247 4746 or email or check the website

Make your pledge for change at


Additional info

The partner organisations include (in no particular order): Community Links, The Carriageworks, Time to Change, NHS Leeds, Arts and Minds, Volition, Touchstone, 1 in 4 Theatre Company, Out of Character Theatre Company, Leeds Carers, Giving Voice Foundation, Leeds Survivors Poetry, Leeds Well Being Centre, Mental Wealth, Leeds Mind, Mental Health Housing Support, Leeds Mental Health Watch, bdesign, IAPT.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Future of south Leeds sports centre to be discussed

The future of South Leeds Sports Centre will be discussed at next week’s executive board meeting.

Leeds City Council’s executive board will meet next Wednesday (13 October) to consider recommendations to close the centre in Beeston, but allow local community group Tiger 11 more time to develop plans to take over its management.

The recommendation to close the centre is due to falling visitor numbers and the £25,000 per month running cost to the council, which is causing financial strain in the context of broader budget pressures.

If the decision is taken to close the centre, this would not impinge on any future plans of Tiger 11 to run the centre as their proposals include a refurbishment programme, which would see the centre closed for a period of time as part of their takeover.

Tiger 11, a community group based in South Leeds, have submitted various proposals to look at running the centre as a community enterprise. One of the proposals to be considered at the executive board meeting will be for the council to enter into a six-month agreement with Tiger 11 to allow them to further develop their plans.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive board member with responsibility for leisure said:

“This centre has undoubtedly been vital facility to the community in South Leeds over many years. This is why we took the decision earlier this year to keep the centre open during the summer period so that residents could continue to use the facilities while talks were held with Tiger 11.

“We will continue to talk to Tiger 11 while they develop a proposal that they can take forward to the executive board, outlining how they can viably run the centre in the future.”

Notes to editors:

Tiger11 is an enterprising community organisation set up to create community benefits for the people of Leeds LS11.

• Re-invests its profits in the community
• Lets office space to organisations that provide services to the community
• Lets meeting rooms at reduced prices to community groups
• Runs arts events
• Hosts the Hillside Catalyst – help for local people to set up successful businesses


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Students get advice on avoiding crime

Hundreds of students in Leeds can look forward to a safer and more secure term, with the help of advice and equipment from Safer Leeds, the city’s crime-fighting partnership.

Council staff and police officers have been visiting halls of residence, freshers’ fairs and campus sites to talk to students about personal safety and to give out information on crime prevention.

Safer Leeds staff have also been offering students a range of security devices at low cost, including personal alarms, door alarms, property marking kits and bottle stoppers to prevent drinks being spiked.

The drive is aimed particularly at reducing the number of burglaries in student accommodation by encouraging students to pay attention to home security. In some student areas nearly two-thirds of burglaries are due to doors and windows are left open.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council's executive board member for community safety, said:
“More than 60,000 students arrive in Leeds every Autumn. Many of them are new to the city and away from home for the first time.
“We want them to have a good time here. But we also want them to be safe.
“With all the excitement of a new term it is easy to forget the obvious things like locking doors and windows and not walking alone late at night.
“We have had a lot of interest from students at the events this year. What we hope now is the students will take note of the advice, lock their doors and windows, use the various alarms and the property-marking kits and help us to bring down crime even further.”

Notes to editors:
Safer Leeds is the crime-fighting partnership between Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and partner agencies from across the city.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937

Conference to 'shape the future' of Leeds city centre

Business leaders, community organisations, developers, investors and local government officers will join forces at the bi-annual Leeds city centre 'vision conference' next week, to inform the future development of the city centre.

Hundreds of delegates are expected to attend the event which provides an opportunity to learn about progress on the new Leeds arena, transport investment, the proposed city park and other major projects.

There will also be an opportunity to review the aspirations and priorities identified at the 2008 conference, which set out a long term vision for the city centre over the next ten years.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council will open the conference at Savills Hall on October 15th. He says:

"The city centre vision conference offers an opportunity for anyone and everyone with an interest in the future of Leeds to be part of a wide-ranging debate about its future development.

"The conference will set future priorities for development and investment but it will also tackle the major challenges that face the evolving regeneration of the city centre. The last two years have been a turbulent time with a changing political and economic landscape, the conference is a chance to see the opportunities that this new era could offer, positioning Leeds as a major city for future business and investment."

An ambitious prospectus was published following on from the 2008 conference, setting out a vision for the city centre and highlighting priorities for investment encompassing culture, connectivity, accessibility, high quality design, and sustainability.

This year's delegates will hear experiences, views and ideas from leading thinkers in these disciplines to inform the debate and offer a different view of the city. Speakers include Evert Verhagen, former urban planner for Amsterdam's city park Westergasfabriek and leading sustainability consultant. Sir Richard Needham, former Department of Trade and Industry minister and Deputy Chair of Dyson, will also be leading the discussions focusing on innovation and diversity in the city centre.

Nigel Foster, chair of Leeds Property Forum and Director at Arup will lend a Leeds perspective to the conference:

"After a two difficult years, there are signs that the property sector in Leeds is starting to grow in confidence given evidence from recent planning applications and construction works on Trinity Quarter, Tower Works and the Leeds Arena.

"This renewed activity though is still fragile, and going forwards, it is vital that both the public and private sectors work together in partnership, establishing a mutual confidence on which to base investment decisions. This conference is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made in the city centre since 2008, and to establish a clear path for how Leeds will develop in order to achieve its aspiration of becoming an internationally competitive city."

The Leeds city centre vision conference is supported by several partners from across the city including Arup, Aedas, Bam, Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Land Securities.

For more information about the conference and to book your place visit:

For media enquiries please contact:
Leanne Buchan, Leeds City Council on 0113 220 6350

Notes to Editors

City centre vision 2008

The first city centre vision conference was held at Leeds Town Hall in January 2008. The conference was designed to debate the issues facing the future development of the city centre and map out a long-term vision for investment and development in the traditional centre of the city. From this conference a vision document was created outlining key priorities, projects and objectives for investment. This document was launched shortly before the economic recession and dramatic political changes.