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From Hollywood to Harrogate - we speak to the businessman behind the newest must-attend festival this spring

Richard Catton


THE Harrogate Film Festival is back for its second year and already looks like becoming an essential annual event for film-lovers in the region.

With a line-up ranging from short film competitions to a glamorous James Bond-themed evening, we caught up with festival managing director Adam Chandler, to find out to what we can look forward to in March.

License to Thrill - A James Bond themed night is one highlight of the Harrogate Film Festival
License to Thrill - A James Bond themed night is one highlight of the Harrogate Film Festival

AT just 24-years-old, Harrogate Film Festival director Adam
Chandler has already built up a successful business in Yorkshire’s corporate
film industry.

The former Harrogate High School pupil now employs five people at his Wetherby-based video production company Reel Film, which he established four years ago.

Explaining his impressive career trajectory, Adam said it began upon leaving school when he landed work with the BBC.

“I left school and started working freelance and I was very lucky to get a job with the BBC, which I did for about two years.

“At the time I was also doing some corporate stuff for free at home and I actually preferred doing that so that’s when I set up Reel Film.”

Increasingly passionate about the power of the moving image, Adam launched the Harrogate Film Festival last year with a view to not only championing independent film makers but also celebrating the glamour of Hollywood.

“There’s this thing which is quite popular in London at the moment where you screen a film and make it an experience.

“For example with the first Harrogate Film Festival last year we held a screening of Ocean’s Eleven in a bar & grill and we had a roulette table and a three-course meal. People came dressed up for the event.”

Adam Chandler, managing director of Harrogate Film Festival

For 2018 the experiences will be held in venues around Harrogate and feature James Bond, the Tom Cruise film, Cocktail, and Reservoir Dogs.

Younger film fans will have the chance to spend an evening at The Royal Pump Room Museum for screenings of Night at the Museum 1 and 2.

Film lovers can also expect an announcement about a special event taking place at the Royal Hall, a venue provided by Harrogate Convention Centre, one of the festival’s sponsors, though for now, Adam is keeping tight-lipped about what’s happening.

He is, however, keen to push the other aspect of the festival, the independent film screenings and competition.

“Film makers from anywhere in the world can submit a short film,” he said. “Last year we had 700 submissions from 60 countries and the quality was incredible.

“The categories include crime, documentary, horror and comedy, amongst others. We’ve got the Everyman Cinema in Harrogate for the screenings which is great for us.”

He added: “Our motto is ‘join in’ which encapsulates the vision for the festival.  We want to delight film-watchers and film-makers by developing unique events in different venues around Harrogate, from experience screenings to showcasing the best of cinema and independent film.”

Harrogate Film Festival runs from Friday March 2 to Sunday March 4 at various venues around town.

For more details and tickets, visit the festival website at

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