Archie aged 4ishCary Comes Home Festival is a labour of love for festival organisers Charlotte Crofts and Fern Dunn, born out of their shared passion for Bristol’s vibrant cinema culture and film heritage. The festival’s aims are to celebrate Cary Grant’s Bristol roots, develop new audiences for his films and recreate the golden age of cinema-going.

We feel that Cary Grant’s incredible journey – from Bristol boy, Archibald Leach, born in Horfield in 1904, to global icon, Cary Grant – is inspiring for Bristolians and beyond. At the age of eleven Archie was tragically separated from his mother when she was committed to mental hospital. Sadly, because of the taboo surrounding mental health, he was told that she had died, and was only reunited with her in his thirties, after he’d become famous. As a child, young Archie haunted Bristol docks, longing to be carried away in one of the tall ships. He eventually sailed away to New York with a troupe of acrobats in 1920, where he worked his way to Hollywood and reinvented himself as Cary Grant.

“I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me.” (Cary Grant)

CARYONPARKST-evening post?

That transformation – overcoming a painful childhood and beating the odds of his birth to become “the best and most important actor in the history of cinema” according to film critic, David Thompson – is truly remarkable. But what’s equally worthy of comment is the fact that he returned home. A loyal Bristolian, Cary Grant visited the city of his birth regularly to see his mother, supporting local businesses whilst in town and he even carried on coming home
after her death.

“Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant” (Cary Grant)

charlotte-crofts Dr Charlotte Crofts (Festival Director) is an Associate Professor of Filmmaking at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. She is passionate about both cinema-going and Bristol as a city of film and has made various projects celebrating local cinema culture, including The Curzon Memories App, The Lost Cinemas of Castle Park App and The Fleapit. She got the idea for the Cary Grant Festival when researching Bristol cinemas and discovered that Cary Grant talked fondly of visiting The Clare Street Picture House with his mother – where he learnt to use a pastry fork and saw early sound pictures – and the Metropole, with his father – a fleapit which smelt of raincoats and galoshes, but was by far his favourite of the two.
Fern Dunn Fern Dunn (Festival Co-ordinator) graduated from the Ma Curating at UWE in 2014 where she completed a placement within the Watershed programming team under the mentorship of cinema curator, Mark Cosgrove. Through this Fern gained valuable knowledge of how an independent cinema curates their programme, with particular emphasis on engaging new audiences. As part of her final project Fern curated a season of film screenings entitled Beats and Buddhism, based around the inspirations of the composer Philip Glass. This cumulated in a screening of the Martin Scorsese film Kundun, introduced by Glass himself. This season required Fern to work with various cultural venues; developing her knowledge of historical film and marketing the events to a wide audience.
Kathrina Glitre Kathrina Glitre (Academic Advisor) is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. She likes to credit her career to Cary Grant, since he inspired the PhD research which lead to her first book, Hollywood Romantic Comedy: States of the Union (Manchester University Press, 2006). She is currently working on a project on screen acting, including essays on ‘Cary Grant: Acting style and genre in classical Hollywood cinema’ (2012) and ‘Character and the star vehicle: The impact of casting Cary Grant’ (forthcoming). Occasionally, she manages to write about other things too, including a chapter on colour for Neo-Noir (Wallflower Press, 2009), which she also co-edited.
Pam Beddard Pam Beddard (Publicist) is a Bristol-based publicist with a special passion for promoting arts, culture, conservation and screen projects. Current and recent assignments include press and marketing work for the Afrika Eye and Bath Film Festival film festivals; BBC Natural World documentaries, the Bristol International Festival of Cinematography (CineFest), Creative England, the Slapstick festival of silent and vintage screen comedy and Wildscreen, the trust which runs the world’s biggest festival of natural history film and TV and Arkive, the online encyclopaedia of endangered species.
Anna Farthing Dr Anna Farthing (Festival Advisor) is an independent producer, writer, director, and academic who specialises in using drama and other art forms to connect audiences with culture and heritage. Previously, Anna enjoyed a successful decade as a freelance theatre director, with credits that included productions at the National Theatre. She is a Visiting Fellow of Bristol University and an Associate of the Higher Education Academy and was for five years the Research Associate for the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama. Recent projects include creating War, Women and Song for the British Library, curating The International Agatha Christie Festival in the 125th anniversary of her birth and delivering the public engagement ‘Lab’ for Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. She was co-director of the Cary Grant Festival 2014-16.

Screen shot 2015-11-08 at 16.10.24The first Cary Grant festival, which was founded by co-directors Charlotte Crofts and Anna Farthing in October 2014, attracted a loyal audience including Cary Grant fans from as far afield as Northern Ireland, Australia and the United States, and many of them returned to join us for the second festival in 2016. The next festival is planned for 2018, but we will be holding fringe events throughout 2017, so do sign up for our mailing list to find out more.