English Riviera Film Festival


Various locations across the English Riviera, Torquay, Devon

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  • The English Riviera Film Festival 2018

About Us

The world comes to Torbay for the 4th English Riviera Film Festival


The English Riviera’s very own film festival is back - and attracting the international attention of producers and directors from around the world. The introduction of the English Riviera Film Awards have brought a new dimension to the festival, with last year’s event seeing winners from Canada and Japan and representatives from Italy attending the awards ceremony.


The festival’s Director, John Tomkins, coordinates the festival with a small team of volunteers. He is coordinating the big festival opening day at the Palace Theatre, but stresses that the festival wouldn’t exist without the participation of other venues such as Torquay Museum, Artisan Gallery, The Blue Walnut Cafe and The Lucky Seven Club.


“Each venue brings something unique to the festival, adding depth and variety of content to create a broad based arts festival. We’ve got multi-media artist Lee Fletcher bringing his photographic exhibition to Artizan Gallery, whilst spoken word artists Samantha Boarer and Robert Garnham will be joining forces with film animator Jamie Harry Scrutton in their Big Poetry event at The Blue Walnut. We’ve also got a great talk by Dr Kevin Dixon uncovering the surprising history of Torbay as a film and television location and children’s fancy dress mask and puppet making workshops at Torquay Museum.”


Film highlights at this year’s festival include:

  • The second English Riviera Film Awards taking place at The Palace Theatre, with films submitted from across the globe vying for nomination.
  • The long-awaited full screening of Ashley Thorpe’s acclaimed live action and animation feature Borley Rectory starring Reece Shearsmith and Julian Sands.
  • John Tomkins’ latest short, Beard Envy, fresh from festival success in New York.
  • Of particular interest to anyone interested in local history is writer Chris Robillard’s War Stories, comprising interviews with local heroes involved in great escapades and acts of courage during the second world war, recently featured on he BBC and national press.
  • The premiere of a film from Los Angeles based film director Ra Dreyfus produced working with South Devon College film students.
  • LVM Productions’ Daddy’s Letter. This screening is in aid of Paignton charity Children and Families in Grief. The film is inspired by an event in the life of stage and television actress Liz Smith and promises a theatrical and immersive experience alongside the screening.


Get ready for curtain up on the 2018 English Riviera Film Festival

Haunted houses and hairy heartache will be kicking off this year’s English Riviera Film Festival  Sponsored by Boyce Hatton Solicitors  - supported by South Devon College  and on October 27th when Torbay’s own celebration of film and film making is back for a fourth year with events to suit all ages at multiple venues. Poetry, photography and local history join the mix this year, alongside the centrepiece English Riviera Film Festival Awards, which will be announced from the festival opening event at the Palace Theatre.

The awards are international, with short-form films having been submitted from around the globe, with winners last year hailing from UK, Japan and Canada. Festival goers will be able to preview all the shortlisted films and take part in the audience award, the winner of which will be announced later during the filmfest’s 14 day run.

Other features at the Palace Theatre ‘s opening day will be:

  • Borley Rectory: a full screening of celebrated director Ashley Thorpe’s award winning live action / animation vision of the most haunted house in Britain. Starring Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Inside No. 9), Jonathan Rigby (Round the Horne Revisited) and Julian Sands (Room with a View, Smallville, Gotham).
  • Beard Envy - Festival Director John Tomkin’s latest short, fresh from shortlist success at the New York Lit on Film Festival. It’s a visualisation of a Robert Garnham poem charting one young man’s quest for the perfect facial fuzz.
  • The Nominated films and Awards Presented for Best Film , Director , Actor , Actress , Screenplay and the first English Riviera Film Award  ( ( Especially presented to a Devon Film  maker  )  
  • War Stories: Author Chris Robillard presents documentary film of untold local stories from World War 2. After the screenings, Chris will be signing copies of his most recent book Captain and Mrs Jones was featured on the BBC and in the national press.
  • The English Riviera From Above: Festival favourites Skyflicks are back with a new selection of breath-taking aerial footage of Devon’s golden playground. Last year’s drone-shot film took over 175,000 views on social media


Festival Director John Tomkins is excited about the way the event has developed year on year. “This is the fourth annual festival and the second year of the official English Riviera Film Awards and it’s very satisfying that we’re now attracting significant international attention, with nominees even travelling from abroad to be at the awards. Having said that, we’re still keen to shine a particularly bright spotlight on Devon based emerging talent, and I’m glad to report that the region is going to be well represented this year.”

But there’s more to the festival than the grand opening event, as John explains: 

“For me, the Awards are the focus of the festival; it’s what film festivals are about. But I’m delighted that, as in previous years, local business and community venues have been keen to add to the Festival programme across the fortnight with their own film-based events and activities. It’s what gives Torbay ownership of the festival; it’s truly home-grown.”

For full details of the festival opening day and links to other venues and their events, visit http://erfilmfest.co.uk/.


Venues include Torquay Museum , Artizan Gallery , The Lucky 7 Club and the Blue Walnut Cafe .  Events including screening and workshops for young people . 


Notes to news editors

Ashley Thorpe
After a number of years working for BBC Manchester during the Commonwealth games and subsequently London and Athens doing freelance illustration, Ashley returned to his Devon roots in 2005 and focused all his energies upon creating a series of animated short films using neglected aspects of English mythology as source material. 

So far there have been four ‘Penny dreadful’ animations: The Vampire 2002 (featuring a ‘blink and you miss it’ cameo by Derren Brown), Scayrecriw 2008 (winner of the Media Innovation Award 2009), The Screaming Skull 2008 (nominated Best UK Short film at Raindance 2009) and The Hairy Hands 2010 (A SWS / UK Film Council project featuring VO by Doug Bradley). 

His latest production is Borley Rectory (a Carrion Film / Glass Eye Pix NYC co-venture) starring Reece Shearsmith & Julian Sands.


Robert Garnham

Cult comedy spoken word artist Robert Garnham has headlined at the top spoken word nights in the UK including Bang Said the Gun in London, Evidently in Manchester and Hammer and Tongue in both Bristol and Brighton. He has recently headlined at the Duplex in New York and the King Kong Klub in Berlin. He often appears at comedy nights and has supported John Hegley and Arthur Smith and has lately been seen on adverts for Nationwide Building Society.

He has recently been touring his latest project, In the Glare of the Neon Yak - a show combining poetry, storytelling and music set on a sleeper service in the middle of winter – at festivals across the country, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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This Official Tourism Website is managed by the English Riviera BID Company Ltd.
Company number 10237792.
Registered address 5 Vaughan Parade, Torquay, Devon, England, TQ2 5JG.
Telephone 01803 211211 enquiries@englishrivierabid.co.uk

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