Fantasy and horror films weekend axed as focus is put on mainstream events at National Media Museum

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Zombies in Bradford’s City Park last year as part of the National Media Museum’s Fantastic Films Weekend Zombies in Bradford’s City Park last year as part of the National Media Museum’s Fantastic Films Weekend

Zombies, werewolves, vampires and creatures from black lagoons and outer space will no longer feature in the National Media Museum’s annual fantasy, science fiction and horror show.

After 11 years the Fantastic Films Weekend has been dropped as the museum continues to make cutbacks, which has also led to job losses with more than £250,000 slashed from its wages bill.

Planning and special projects executive Dean Loughran said “The weekend did not connect with our core film or museum audiences and the current spending review at the museum is focused on delivering bigger events to attract larger audiences.”

Tony Earnshaw, the former director of BIFF, said: “I created the Fantastic Films Weekend from nothing in 2002 because I believed in the concept and believed there was an audience for it.

“Over the ten years I ran it, FFW became popular and attracted people from all over the country. It was fun to do but it got very little support from some senior figures in the Museum.

“I am very sad it’s gone. It’s another significant nail in Bradford’s coffin as a UNESCO City of Film.”

The budget for the Fantastic Films Weekend in 2010 was £5,000. That was slashed to £4,000 the following year – the last year Mr Earnshaw ran it.

Dave Wilson, director of Bradford City of Film, said: “The National Media Museum, like most institutions, is reviewing what services it can deliver in very challenging times for the economy.

“Bradford still has a very diverse film offer and a growing number of film-related initiatives, including the new Bradford Community Cinema project, which brings pop-up cinema to a variety of venues around the district.

“If you check the Bradford UNESCO City of Film website under the Enjoy strand and cinema listings, it’s clear to see that specialist films are still very much on the menu.

“We continue to work with partners across the City to ensure that people are aware of the extensive film offer. We are currently helping to establish a number of new film clubs and societies, which are non-mainstream.”

Mr Loughran added: “Film is very important to the museum and we are committed to maintaining and improving the successful and sustainable areas of our cinema programme, as well as working on new proposals which will have wider appeal.

“There are also other opportunities to experience horror and fantasy cinema in the Museum’s programme, such as Bradford After Dark, the horror-film strand of the Bradford International Film Festival, and through our links to the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.”

The NMM sold 15,000 tickets for the recent 3D The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and the live theatre and opera events continue to sell out.

Tickets for these shows are now on sale at the NMM.

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