BRIDPORT’S Page to Screen Festival will be showing a film that will help commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
The screening of Private Peaceful on April 2 coincides with Michael Mopurgo’s launch of Private Peaceful Day as part of the centenary events.
The 2012 film is adapted from the best-selling novel by former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, who also wrote War Horse. Morpurgo describes Private Peaceful as his most powerful book’ and was executive producer of the film.
The book has been a mainstay of WW1 teaching for almost a decade.
Michael Morpurgo said: “Private Peaceful deals with one of the darkest aspects of a terrible war; the execution of our own side. I wrote it wanting to highlight what I believed to be the injustice of those shot at dawn, but also to show the impact of the war, of any war, on family and friends and loved ones. This heartfelt and moving film brings vividly to life the simple fact that soldiers are human beings, not just uniforms.”
The films’s other producers, Guy de Beaujeu and Simon Reade who also wrote the screenplay, will be on stage ‘in conversation’ with guest curator Jon Ronson, ahead of the screening.
Guy de Beaujeu said: “The film has been praised by teachers as an excellent teaching aid in its depictions of WW1 and for remaining true to Michael’s original novel. There is a growing realisation among education providers that Private Peaceful is the perfect project for the centenary – it is non-judgemental, non-jingoistic and unsentimental.”
Polly Gifford, director of Bridport Arts Centre, said: “It’s great that the festival opens just after Private Peaceful Day giving us an added reason to show this excellent film, and we hope to have a good representation from our local schools.
“It is fantastic that the film’s producers are joining us on stage and we look forward to welcoming Guy and Simon to Bridport.’’ This year’s From Page to Screen opening night will feature Frank, a film not out until May, for members only.
The film was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and co-written by Jon Ronson, the festival’s guest curator.
Ronson will be on stage after the screening talking to Straughan and Abrahamson. Nick Hornby will also be attending this year’s festival, ahead of a screening of A Long Way Down, his fourth novel to be made into a film.
The festival will also show 12 Years A Slave, which has received nine Oscar nominations.
A full programme of Ronson's film choices will be announced in early March, when tickets will also be on sale. More details at frompagetoscreen.org.uk