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Record film festival crowd for The Greatest Showman

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A RECORD number of people attended the Jersey Film Festival when 7,000 Islanders and tourists packed into Howard Davis Park on just one night, according to the organiser.

A record crowd of 7,000 watched The Greatest Showman at the Jersey Film Festival on Tuesday. Picture: KEVIN LEWIS

The free festival, which runs across six days, features a different film each evening and also raises money for charity.

Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis, who organises the annual event, said attendance levels were smashed during Tuesday’s screening of The Greatest Showman when 7,000 people turned out for the film, raising £4,094 in donations for the Jersey NSPCC – the nominated charity for the evening.

And he added that he wanted to make arrangements to help more people attend the festival next year.

‘It was terrific, it was a relatively new film and the weather was with us so I think that is what encouraged people to come along,’ Deputy Lewis said. ‘There was a great atmosphere.

‘We had around 2,000 people attending for the other films and it has just got bigger and bigger every year. More people wanted to attend on the Tuesday but all the car parks within about a mile radius were completely full so that led to a few people turning back. Next year, I want to look at running a shuttle bus from Pier Road car park to Howard Davis Park as there are always quite a few spaces there.’

Deputy Lewis said if he could secure funding he would look to buy a larger screen for next year’s event.

‘We currently have a 40 ft-wide one but, if we can get funding for it, I want to try and buy a 60 ft inflatable one.

‘The good thing with our screen at the moment is that it is omnidirectional so we had people sat as far back as the gates who were still able to see the screen.

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He said that he wanted to thank the event’s sponsors – Condor, Rathbones, Dandara and The Idea Works – as he said without their support the festival would not be able to run free of charge.

Deputy Lewis added: ‘This year it will be my 50th year in the cinema industry and it will be the 25th film festival next year so we will have to do something special for the next event,’ he said.

‘I began working at The Forum [in Grenville Street] in 1968 and ran the Cine de France for 20 years with my wife before reopening the old Odeon as the New Forum, which we kept open for five years – so film is definitely in my blood.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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