Bram Stoker film festival

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THE BRAM Stoker Film Festival will return to Whitby in October, and its director has claimed that with support from residents it can become the biggest film festival in the world.

Event founder Mike McCarthy said: “We have great passion and belief in the film festival.

Last year's festival poster

Last year's festival poster

“Bram Stoker belongs to Whitby and we are proud to be associated with the history of Whitby.

“Obviously a tremendous amount of time and effort is spent working on the film festival here in Whitby, but we believe we are working towards having one of the best genre festivals in the world.

“With rave reviews from the fans, media and the people within the film industry, the team here are doing a fantastic job.

“If we build on this year on year it would add an exciting dimension to Whitby as a must-see event.

Director Mike McCarthy, Peter Bonner (Buffalo Phil) and real-life gangster Dave Courtney

Director Mike McCarthy, Peter Bonner (Buffalo Phil) and real-life gangster Dave Courtney

“It can only be good for tourism and ultimately the local economy.”

The film festival’s organisers have come in for criticism as the event is held at Whitby’s Pavilion and coincides with the October goth events.

Mr McCarthy said that instead of being competition, the two festivals can actually compliment each other.

He added: “It’s ironic really.

“We have had some silly emails saying we have taken the Spa Pavilion from the goths but I would like to set the record straight.

“Scarborough Borough Council had the dates available so we booked them, simple.

“Between us we could have planned some exciting times, but I cannot get any communication between parties and without that we would be flogging a dead horse.

“I think we have a lot to offer as professionals and it is a pity we seem so far apart on developing a good association.”

Away from the film festival Mr McCarthy is gaining a reputation as a gritty movie director and has penned a screenplay entitled ‘Queen of the Goths’, a feature comedy about a vampire discovered in the cellar of a house in Whitby.

His latest film, named Thugs, Mugs and Dogs, is released on DVD on 11 April, but Mr McCarthy remains completely committed to the film festival and already has many events planned for this year.

He said: “We have a terrific line up of events, with over 30 world class movies.

“For the first time in Europe visitors to the festival will be able to see one of the top USA contemporary dance companies performing ‘A Vampire’s Tale’ on Halloween night.

“On the Saturday night there will be one of the best vampire balls in the world, featuring a plethora of fantastic artists and in particular world-renowned celloist Adam Hirst flying in from the USA for a one-off performance.”

Following this, the 2012 film festival would coincide with the centenary of Bram Stoker’s death, and Mr McCarthy has suggested that this provides a priceless opportunity for the residents of Whitby to put on a show that will be “the envy of the world”.

He added: “2012 is the time to celebrate the legacy with a fanfare week of events, music, literature, film and spectacular feats of live theatre, with scores of light, sound and art installations illuminating the harbour, Abbey and church yard with stunning displays of colour and images.”

“It would be fantastic for the town if all retailers, shops and hotels embraced the film festival during the four days and dressed their respective premises and themselves in characters from their favourite genre movies.

I think this would be a marvellous spectacle and would enhance many visitors’ experiences of Whitby.”

Mr McCarthy certainly has big plans for his film festival, but what remains to be seen is whether the residents of Whitby will embrace the festival with the same enthusiam they have shown to the goths.

The Bram Stoker Film Festival takes place 28-31 October and tickets can be purchased from