Photo of audiences in a cinema

About Cinema Rediscovered

A short history of the festival, its ethos and key programming strands.

“Fantastic welcoming atmosphere all weekend.”

Audience comment

Download 2023 Festival Report (PDF 12.7MB)

Cinema Rediscovered launched its first edition in July 2016, taking inspiration from the pioneering Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy with a distinctive Bristol twist.

Featuring the finest digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities, it’s a chance to see lesser known cinematic voices and dive deep into the legacy of revered filmmakers; a space for all to share passions and enthusiasms for film with plenty of opportunities to experience films in the immersive, communal environment of that darkened room we call the cinema.

“It's hard for me to describe the true happiness I felt, being surrounded by kindred spirits, dreaming the same dream and fighting the very same battle... I'm touched that you've decided to name your festival after Il Cinema Ritrovato, and I'm sure Cinema Rediscovered will go on to become bigger and bigger.”

Il Cinema Ritrovato's Director Gianluca Farinelli

After attending Il Cinema Ritrovato, Mark Cosgrove became convinced that the time was right for a new festival dedicated to the rediscovery of great films here in the UK.

“The festival provides an opportunity to revisit and reassess the unique experience of films in their intended environment: the cinema. Other art forms have their temples – museums, galleries, opera house, theatres. For films, cinema is where they can truly come alive and be rediscovered.”

Mark Cosgrove

He wasn’t alone... The festival built on the city’s growing enthusiasm for the past, present and future of film, and is the product of a passionate community of cinephiles and cinema goers.

Backed by partners including the then fledgling South West Silents, Bristol video shop institution 20th Century Flicks and Come The Revolution, this was a deeply felt meeting of minds with a shared passion for cinema. One year later, Bristol became a UNESCO City of Film which further cemented the the city’s commitment to film.

“Bristol is rapidly becoming Britain’s most cinematic city. Designated a UNESCO City of Film in 2017, its reputation for great cinema screenings and heritage is growing and growing. One of the newest, shiniest gems in its movie crown is kind of West-Country offspring of Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato.”

Pamela Hutchinson, Cinema Rediscovered Silent London

The festival is co-curated with a range of partners including South West Silents and Come The Revolution and takes place in late July in and near Bristol –UNESCO City of Film – in venues including Watershed, 20th Century Flicks, Arnolfini, Curzon Cinema and Arts in Clevedon & beyond.

Meet the team

“Cinema Rediscovered should be a destination for all film lovers; it has an exciting programme that creates a dialogue between the past and the present.

Audience Member

You can navigate your way through the festival through the recurring strands; but be warned that we like to surprise, challenge and inspire. For example in 2017, audiences had the rare chance to boxset binge on Krzysztof Kieślowski's Dekalog in the cinema.

Above all, the festival offers a space for all to share passions and enthusiasms for film with plenty of opportunities to experience films in the immersive, communal environment of that darkened room we call the cinema.

“One of the freshest and most vital in the UK, despite its focus on *ahem* old things. It seems to engender a mood given to thinking critically about film in a way that faster paced festivals, geared towards new releases, hype and securing distribution, can sometimes struggle to cultivate.”

Fedor Tot (Film Critics Workshop Alumni), Flip Screen

Each year, we try to spark conversations about cinema with a central theme that cuts across the programme. For example, in 2018, we celebrated prototype cinéphile and film activist French critic André Bazin on the 100th anniversary of his birth addressing his question: “What is cinema?” The following year, we dived deep into the history and influence of the Scala London’s most infamous repertory cinema.

The festival is all about people coming together. Guests have included Lesley Harris, Terrence Davies, Sandy Lieberson, Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Samira Ahmed, Stephen Woolley, Adrian Utley, Kolton Lee, Gian Luca Farinelli, Ehsan Khoshbakht, Georgina Slocombe, Charlie Lyne, , Mark Kidel, Matthew Sweet, Karen Alexander, Danny Leigh, The Final girls, Simran Hans, Pamela Hutchinson, Gaylene Gould, Mark Kermode, Keith Shiri, Jane Giles, So Mayer, Jason Wood, Helen De Witt, Rhidian Davis, Kate Swan, Tega Okiti, Dave "Herzog" Taylor, Mr Bags and many others.

View our Festival Reports:

The following reports are availble as pdfs.

Cinema Rediscovered 2022

Cinema Rediscovered 2021

Cinema Rediscovered 2019

Cinema Rediscovered 2018

Cinema Rediscovered 2017

Cinema Rediscovered 2016

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