Bringing the best in British cinema to Manchester, Cornerhouse invite Strawberry Fields’ director Frances Lea to a unique Q&A session with audiences tonight.
The only female film-maker to be nominated on the 2011 Stars of Tomorrow shortlist is an unprecedented achievement claimed by one of the country’s finest directors – Lea.
With a strong attraction to the bizarre and an unparalleled determination to capture the lives of women, Lea has written and directed Strawberry Fields – a film currently hailed as an archetypal piece of British cinema.
And tonight, after the film’s screening at Manchester’s finest independent cinema, the director opens up to the city.
Speaking ahead of the screening and Q&A, Lea told MM: “I am delighted that Strawberry Fields is playing at Cornerhouse as it’s the perfect venue for our movie and we hope Manchester enjoys it.”
The film stars Manchester’s finest Christine Bottomley and is a battle between two sisters Gillian and Emily.
In her own words, Lea introduces the film: Gillian runs away and finds herself in a strawberry farm picking fruit and changes her name to recreate herself.
She has a blossoming romance with rugged farmhand Kev until her narcissistic nightmare sister Emily turns up.
Determined to keep Gillian as her carer she does her best to wreck Gillian’s attempts at happiness and independence.
Kev is caught in the crossfire in-between them.
Gillian’s behaviour is quite bizarre and withdrawn because of the relationship she has with controlling dependent Emily.
The film plays out Gillian’s attempts to separate from her and we see the extreme lengths Emily is prepared to go to keep Gillian to herself.
Speaking about the film’s best elements, Lea said: “It is refreshing to show a film that is about two women.
“The relationship is unusual but one everyone can also relate to on some level, the ties of family and love versus the need for independence.”
The film earned Lea a nomination in the Stars of Tomorrow – an award known throughout the industry to be dominated by me – and the dedication needed is incredible.
“I think whatever story you are trying to tell in cinema, outside of the mainstream genre models it is difficult ,so you have to be passionate and committed in order to realise it,” Lea exclaimed.
I was thrilled to be the only female film-maker on the selected as a 2011 Star of Tomorrow. It was in direct response to Screen International’s early viewing of Strawberry Fields so it was a great endorsement for me and the film,” she added.
“I hope Strawberry Fields is a rich emotional and visual experience. I hope it makes people ask questions about behaviour and mental health, about the roles people get caught up in within families and the real impact those unhealthy roles have on people’s lives.”
The best in British cinema is on show at Cornerhouse now and it’s an exceptional experience that is not to be missed.
The film will screen tonight from 6.20pm and the Q&A will take place after the event. Tickets can be found here and further information is also available.