Film festival helps people in Haiti

A GROUP of generous villagers have pledged the proceeds of a popular film screening to the people of Haiti.

A GROUP of generous villagers have pledged the proceeds of a popular film screening to the people of Haiti.

The funds, generated from a showing on Slumdog Millionaire, on what was the first night of the Breckland Film Festival, were originally planned for the refurbishment of the Great Hockham village hall.

But villagers changed their minds and will now donate the money raised through ticket and refreshment sales to the country of Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake last month. Local businessman Don Lear, known as the “Bhaji Man”, also donated a series of eastern homemade dishes to help boost funds.

The showing of Slumdog Millionaire in Great Hockham on Friday was the first of nine films to be shown around the district as part of Breckland Council's first rural film festival.

Member of the Hockham Village Hall Committee, Chris Garrod , projectionist on the night, said: “We all feel for the desperate plight of the people of Haiti, many of whom have lost everything in the devastation.

“The Village Hall Committee discussed this and it was a unanimous decision to give the money raised to help the people of Haiti. “We plan to show more films in the village, so there will be other opportunities to raise funds for the village hall later in the year.”

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Slumdog Millionaire was officially opened by Louis de Bernieres, author of the bestselling book Captain Corelli's Mandolin, who is patron of Creative Arts East, which will help deliver the festival.

Breckland council executive member for communities and benefits, Theresa Hewett, said: “Residents have told us they would like to be able to enjoy good quality films at nearby local venues.

“The fantastic turn out tonight confirms that there really is a demand for films shown at rural locations. The evening was a sell-out and we are confident that the films shown at other venues will be equally popular.”

The Breckland Film Festival will run during February and March, with screenings in village halls and other venues throughout the district. Screenings are organised and run by local voluntary film promoters who were recruited last year through workshops in the early stages of the project.

For more information about the films, venues and how to book tickets visit on the Breckland Council website at Leaflets are also available at a number of outlets including the Town Council offices and libraries in Thetford, Watton, Swaffham, Attleborough and Dereham.