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Chagford Film Festival – the new Cannes!

How does the thought of dressing up to go to the cinema sound to you? Or how about jumping on board a mobile cinema to watch an enthralling movie on the move? Chagford Film Festival - the new Cannes!
Started in 2011, the Chagford Film Festival brings a touch of glamour and culture to Dartmoor during the last week in September every year. As film festivals go it would be fair to say that this one will be different to any that you may have experienced in the past. It is a unique and quirky event with an eclectic collection of films, talks and workshops by respected industry professionals.

The festival itself takes place over six days, starting on the Monday with the finale on the Saturday and for those few days at the end of September, Chagford really does come alive. What is brilliant about it is that the whole town joins in the fun, the pubs and restaurants have theme nights depending on which films are being shown on that particular day, the shop windows are full of glitz and glamour and if it wasn’t for the back drop of Dartmoor you could almost imagine that you were involved in the Cannes Film Festival.

Opening night at the Chagford Film Festival

The opening gala night is held at the Globe Cinema in the town. Depending on the film being shown, all the guests are encouraged to dress up, with a prize being awarded to the best. Cocktails are served and the festival really could not get off to a better start.

Other notable events during the week are the open air projections which are displayed on the walls of the Three Crowns and . Atmospheric is not the word! This amazing al fresco experience can be viewed without having to pay any kind of entrance fee and it is worth visiting Chagford for this display alone.

Vintage Movie Bus at Chagford!

The UK’s one and only Vintage Movie Bus is something else which has to be seen to be believed. Originally commissioned in the 1960â€ēs to promote British industry, it is now been turned into to a mobile cinema. It has 22 seats which it must be said are surprisingly comfortable and short film screenings are available throughout the day with the ticket price being a voluntary donation to the festival’s charities.

Although the 2014 programme has not yet been released, here’s an idea of what’s in store going on past events. The 2013 Chagford Film Festival included introducing the screening of Playing the Moldavians at Tennis and answering questions afterwards. The film version of Evita, the 2012 French BAFTA nominee Untouchable, The King and I, and many other past, present and future movies of note were also shown.

There are also short films, workshops and other movie-themed events. The Friday night is traditionally a live music and film event with a film tie-in at the Jubilee Hall.

The Dartmoor village of Chagford

There are many other surprises and screenings throughout the week with quite a few impromptu events which are not in the programme. Look out for the celebrity red carpet and rumour has it that you might even see a dragon chasing an overgrown dwarf down the street!

The great thing about the Chagford Film Festival is that you can combine it with visiting other North Devon attractions as well as sampling the delights of Chagford itself. Situated on the edge of there is an awful lot to do and see for a town of its size and the film festival itself could be regarded as the icing on the cake.

Are you a film lover? Do you know of any film festivals, which are a little different to the norm, which offer an enjoyable viewing experience for the whole family? We’d love you to contribute to our comments below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.


  1. Wendy Tomlinson says:

    The vintage movie bus sounds great. A friend told me about it last year – I’ve never made it for this festival, maybe this year.

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