•  Open Air Cinema 

As with other years, the Chichester International Film Festival 2012 launches with two special open-air screenings in Priory Park.

This year’s outdoor musical, which starts at dusk tomorrow, is Joseph L Mankiewicz’s Guys And Dolls (U, 150 mins), starring Frank Sinatra, Jean Simons and Marlon Brando in his only singing role.

On Sunday there is a special preview of Disney Pixar’s latest digital animation Brave (PG, 100 mins).

Gates 7.30pm, tickets £8/£6 in advance, £10/£8 on the night.

  •  Premieres

This year’s main programme opens with a gala screening of new Canadian film Cloudburst (15, 93 mins) (Thurs 16, 6.30pm and Fri 17, 2.45pm) starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as two elderly lesbians trying to stop the authorities from separating them in a nursing home.

The festival’s closing movie will be a preview of Hope Springs (12A, 105 mins) (Sun 2, 11am and 6.30pm) starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a couple heading for marriage therapy.

“The Jägarna films – The Hunters (15, 113 mins) (Sat 1, 6.30pm) and UK premiere of False Trail (15, 125 mins) (Sat 1, 8.45pm) – star Rolf Lassgård from the Wallander series,” says artistic director Roger Gibson. “The first part came out in 1996 and the second is coming out at the end of this year, so we are pleased to be putting them both together as a double-bill.

“And I’m delighted we’re going to be showing On The Road (15, 137 mins) (Fri 24, 6.15pm and Sat 25, 8.45pm), the new version of Jack Kerouac’s novel.”

  •  Laurence Olivier and Chichester Festival Theatre

Chichester Festival Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations were a starting point when Gibson started to plan the 2012 festival in January.

“It’s important for a film festival to reflect its local community,” says Gibson.

As well as a specially commissioned talk by film and theatre historian David Rosenthal on Saturday, August 25 from 2pm, the programme includes Chichester hits such as The Royal Hunt Of The Sun (PG, 115 mins) (Fri 24, 11am) and Olivier’s own production of Three Sisters (U, 165 mins) (Mon 27, 10.30am) with an introduction from Joan Plowright’s daughter Amanda Waring.

There are also seasons dedicated to former Chichester artistic director and current star of Heartbreak House Derek Jacobi, with the actor introducing both Francis Bacon biopic Love Is The Devil (18, 91 mins) (Sun 19, 2pm) and the rarely seen Graham Greene TV movie The Tenth Man (PG, 100 mins) (Tues 21, 1.45pm). Sarah Miles will be discussing her first major role alongside Olivier in schoolroom drama Term Of Trial (15, 136 mins) (Sun 26, 1.30pm).

  • Treasures From The Archives 

Chichester Cinema’s recent adoption of digital technology alongside its traditional 35mm projector has meant the pool of available archive material has expanded.

“Rebecca (PG, 130 mins) (Fri 31, 11am) was a digital-only release,” says Gibson. “The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (U, 164 mins) (Sun 19, 10.30am), which is one of my favourites, and The Apartment (12A, 125 mins) (Thurs 23, 1.30pm) were all only available digitally.”

  • Focus On The Documentary

The documentary season features rarities such as the new digital restoration of Orson Welles’s F For Fake (PG, 88 mins) (Sat 18, 4.15pm) and previews of Nicky’s Family (TBC, 96 mins) (Sat 18, 2.15pm), the tale of the 669 rescued Czech and Slovak Kindertransport children during the Second World War.

But the festival also highlights the work of local film-makers in Pilot Fatigue (u, 52 mins) (see panel left for more info), and two works by Sylvie Collier, of Pond Pictures of Walberton in West Sussex, who will be introducing both films in The Studio.

“We showed Sylvie’s The Crab, The Crocodile And Love In Cuba (U, 55 mins) (Fri 24, 2.30pm) at an earlier festival,” says Gibson. “Her new film is getting its world premiere here. To Dance Like A Man: Triplets In Havana (TBC, 58 mins) (Fri 24, 4.15pm) was also made in Cuba, and follows identical triplets learning to become ballet dancers.”

  • Celebrating Silent Cinema 

“I’ve tried to programme an overview of different types of silent film. It’s been instigated by the popularity of The Artist (PG, 100 mins) (Mon 27, 4pm).”

Preceding a screening of Hitchcock’s The Lodger (PG, 90 mins) (Sun 26, 7pm) will be a talk by Ian Christie on the master of suspense’s earlier silent pieces.

The range of silent movies includes FW Murnau’s visually stunning Sunrise (PG, 93 mins) (Mon 27, 2.15pm), Buster Keaton’s hilarious physical comedy The General (U, 75 mins) (Tues 28, 2.15pm), the documentary-style October 1917 (PG, 100 mins) (Wed 29, 1.30pm) and a live organ-accompanied screening of Lon Chaney’s classic turn as The Phantom Of The Opera (PG, 93 mins) (Thurs 30, 9.15pm) at St John’s Chapel in St John’s Street.

  • Retrospectives

Described as the enfant terrible of the British film industry, director Ken Russell made his last public appearance at the 2011 film festival introducing his rarely-screened biopic of Mahler.

“He was not very well,” remembers Gibson. “Even though he didn’t say a great deal, his presence was very much felt.”

Russell’s wife Lisi will be introducing Delius: Song Of Summer (PG, 75 mins) (Sun 18, 2pm), The Boy Friend (U, 137 mins) (Mon 27, 6pm) and Women In Love (15, 131 mins) (Sat 1, 10.30am).

Other lifetime retrospectives being hosted at this year’s film festival are to Googie Withers, who died last year, which opens with the Ealing comedy Pink String And Sealing Wax (PG, 86 mins) (Sun 19, 2.15pm), and the 92-year-old director Lewis Gilbert, who made Alfie (15, 114 mins) (Thurs 23, 4pm), Educating Rita (15, 110 mins) (Fri 24, 4pm), and the wartime biopic Carve Her Name With Pride (PG, 119 mins) (Tues 28, 6.15pm) about the Brixton-based Special Operations Executive agent Violette Szabo. The film will be introduced by its star Virginia McKenna.

The death of Greece’s most celebrated film-maker Theo Angelopoulos is also marked, beginning with his Brechtian tale of a troupe of actors between the 1939 to 1952 period The Travelling Players (15, 222 mins) (Fri 17, 10.30am).

“Angelopoulos’s films are very demanding, long and stylised,” says Gibson. “I haven’t seen any tributes in any film festivals, which is extraordinary considering his reputation.”

  • Horrors At Your Local Multiplex 

Proof if proof were needed that it isn’t just about the highbrow and classic, Cineworld Chichester, in Chichester Gate, Terminus Road, has teamed up with the film festival to show the best of London’s FrightFest.

On the bill are Irish tongue-in-cheek alien invasion horror Grabbers (15, 94 mins) (Mon 27, 9.15pm), the behind-the-screen celebration of Italian horror Berberian Sound Studio (15, 95 mins) (Tues 28, 9.15pm), claustrophobic thriller Elevator (15, 84 mins) (Thurs 30, 9.15pm), scary anthology and Sundance hit V/H/S (18, 115 mins) (Fri 31, 9.15pm), and the long-awaited Spanish sequel [REC]3 Genesis (18, 80 mins) (Wed 29, 9.15pm).

“It’s aimed at a different audience who might not be aware that there’s a film festival going on,” says Gibson. “You’ve only got to think of someone like Roger Corman and the directors who made films for him, such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, to know what a cinematic genre horror is.”

  • Chichester International Film Festival takes place at Chichester Cinema, New Park Road, Chichester from Saturday, August 11, to Sunday, September 2
  • Studio talks and screenings £5; archive, tribute and retrospective films £6; premieres, previews, restored classics and new releases £7.50. Special offers available from cinema. Call 01243 786650 or visit www.chichestercinema.org
  • Sarah Miles speaks to The Magazine on Saturday, August 18