Borderlines Film Festival brings Romani Cinema to Appleby Horse Fair

27 May 2016


Borderlines Film Festival continues with its successful BFI-funded ‘Romani Cinema’ strand – this time at the major annual event of the Gypsy and Traveller calendar in the UK, Appleby Horse Fair, which takes place in Cumbria in June.

A feature film, two documentaries and a short have been chosen specifically by Romani curators for their authentic representations of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture.  They will be screening each afternoon and evening on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June in the Public Hall Supper Room in the centre of Appleby town.

An exciting and colourful new documentary Cobra Gypsies, about the nomadic Kalbeliya people of northern India who have a strong tradition of horsemanship and dancing , is one of the highlights of the programme, alongside the perennially popular 1992 feature film Into The West, with Gabriel Byrne’s iconic performance as an Irish Traveller.  The story follows two boys as they travel across Ireland looking for the glorious white stallion that their grandfather has given them.

The programme includes a short film by Romani filmmakers, Riley Smith – Portrait of an English Gypsy Tapdancer; and a rarely -seen documentary made for the BBC in 1969 called Where Do We Go From Here?, featuring Traveller community leaders and families across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Kent and Shropshire.


Each of the films will be introduced by one of the season’s curators, Damian Le Bas, Romani writer/poet/filmmaker, founder member of International Romani Film Commission.  The Q&As to follow every film are intended to stimulate discussion within the Romani communities about the way they are represented in cinema.

This season, funded by the British Film Institute with its commitment to diversity, includes audience research to find out more about Romani cinema going and film viewing habits.

The BFI CEO Amanda Nevill has commented: “As our most accessible and powerful art form, film must reflect the society in which it is made and tell stories that speak to the many different people who exist within that society. That isn’t an optional extra or a nice to have – it’s a moral and social imperative and, by ensuring audiences are served with films they want to see, it also makes good business sense.”

One of the outcomes of the Romani Cinema strand at Borderlines 2016 during March was to indicate that a massive 95% of the audience wished to see more Romani films at future festivals.  The film The Green Green Grass Beneath, documenting the life and experiences of Romani artist and concentration camp survivor Ceija Stojka, came joint top of the audience poll at The Courtyard Hereford.

The dates for the next Borderlines Film Festival are Friday 24 February to Sunday 12 March 2017.

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1. Ticket Information – Tickets for the Borderlines Film Festival programme at Appleby Public Hall are available on the door, £2.00, U12s £1.00 .

Times for Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 June as follows:

3.00pm Into The West,

5.00pm Riley Smith and Where Do We Go From Here?

7.30pm Cobra Gypsies.


2. Festival Funders - Borderlines Film Festival and The Festival of British Cinema at Hay-on-Wye are funded by: The British Film Institute through the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, The Elmley Foundation, and Wyevale Nurseries.


3. Festival Background/Screen Deprivation - Borderlines Film Festival was established in 2003 as part of an Advantage West Midlands Creative Industries project to develop cinema audiences and to support regional and local film production in the rurally isolated counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire. Match funding was provided by the regional screen agency Screen WM.


By 2008 Borderlines became the largest film festival in the Midlands. Attendance grew from 4,972 in 2003 to 19,200 in 2014, and Borderlines is now one of the most well-attended film festivals in the UK, bigger than many of its longer established metropolitan rivals.


For further press information please contact:


Jo Comino

Tel: 01547 530615/07572 442903


Alison Chapman (images)

Tel: 07969 393884