AN international film festival celebrating all things rural returns to Skipton next weekend, two years after it was held for the very first time.

The Hinterlands Festival was first held in 2019 as part of moves to attract younger people and families to come and live and work in the Dales.

Cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it makes a welcome return - although scaled down - for three days from Friday, May 21, with a varied collection of new and classic films, live music and chat.

All events will take place at the town’s Plaza Cinema and the festival will open with a performance by Skipton based musician, Sarah Smout, an in demand cellist-singer-songwriter who is currently working on her solo show, Eyjar.

Broadcaster, Stuart Maconie and Elizabeth Alker will record a live version from the Plaza of their ‘Notable’ podcast, in which they tell each other extra-ordinary tales from 400 years of musical history.

“We are really excited to bring the Notable podcast to Skipton’s beautiful Plaza cinema as part of Hinterlands. It’ll be our first outing in front of a live audience so things are bound to run smoothly, aren’t they,” said Mr Maconie.

Described as a a ‘cinematic love letter to rural landscapes’, the festival will also include showings of Oscar winner, Nomadland, Minari, about a Korean American family settling in rural Arkansas, Francis Lee’s romantic drama Ammonite, staring Kate Winslet, and Jean Cocteau’s timeless masterpiece, La Belle et la Bête.

Robin Richards – founding member of indie pop band, Dutch Uncles and one of the UK’s most exciting composers in his own right– will premiere a brand new score, specially commissioned for the festival and featuring video footage made by Craven College students.

The festival is led by artistic director Geoff Bird in partnership with award winning outdoors arts organisation, Wild Rumpus.

Mr Bird said:“The emotive power of film to provoke, entertain, illuminate has ever felt been more vital. The immersive cinema experience of being engulfed in a world not your own, a world of open space and rural landscapes, a world of wonder and possibility is what Hinterlands is all about.”

Like all cinema fans, I really can’t wait to watch films up on the big screen again, and Hinterlands offers the chance to watch some of the absolute best of recent months across two wonderful days.

The festival is supported by Great Place: Lakes and Dales, which aims to encourage more young people to live and work in the area though the mediums of art and culture.

Lindsey Hebden, programme manager said: “The events of the past year mean opportunities to enjoy new experiences in rural communities such as Skipton are more important to us than ever.

“I’m delighted Hinterlands is able to return in some form. Not only will it build on the success of 2019 but it provides opportunities and support to local young creatives, film-makers and local businesses at this crucial time, all while giving the area a national platform.”

Hinterlands will take place from Friday, May 21 to Sunday. Performances will take place in a Covid-safe way. Tickets at: