Helena Bonham Carter stars in film for Edinburgh book festival

The Crown stars Helena Bonham Carter and Tobias Menzies have reunited to make a film for the online incarnation of this year’s virtual Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 5:59 pm
The Edinburgh International Book Festival will premiere the new film A Poem for Every Autumn Day on 30 August.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival will premiere the new film A Poem for Every Autumn Day on 30 August.

Hamilton star Jamael Westman also features in the film, a celebration of a new poetry anthology, which was shot in the garden of film director Paul Weiland in Bradford upon Avon.

The film A Poem for Every Autumn Day will be premiered as part of the festival’s online programme on Sunday 30 August as part of an event with Allie Esiri, who has compiled the anthology of the same name.

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It features work by Robert Louis Stevenson, John Betjeman, Amy Lowell, Paul Laurence Dunbar, William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, Seamus Heaney, John Agard, Simon Armitage, Patience Agbabi and Imtiaz Dharker.

The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter will be reading poetry in the film made for the book festival's online programme.

Esiri said: “I have chosen poems and performers that will hopefully bring some light into our brave new pandemic-stricken world. Helena’s wit, Tobias’s well of talent and Jamael’s voice are heartening, healing and also fun.

“The selection of autumnal poems you will hear - and hopefully go on to read in the anthology - capture autumn in all its infinite variety and vitality.

“Each individual poem provides us with a different kind of illumination - emotional, spiritual, cerebral, social, political.

"There is variation fitting of autumn itself. I think if you are a poetry lover or don’t know the first thing about poetry, these actors have aimed this film at all of you.”

Menzies, who also starred in Outlander in the dual roles of Frank and “Black Jack” Randall, said: “It was a real pleasure to work with Allie Esiri on her beautiful collection and to join forces with Helena again and Jamael Westman and Paul Weiland to make this film for the festival and be part of their exciting line-up this year.”

First images of the film were unveiled as the festival revealed it had attracted audiences as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Japan, China, India, Canada, Kenya and Nigeria for its online events.

Audience numbers are also said to be outstripping the 15,000 people who would normally attend the festival’s site in Charlotte Square every day on average in recent years.

The festival was called off in April along with the city’s other major August events, but officially rebooted last month when it unveiled a digital programme of more than 140 live and pre-recorded events.

Director Nick Barley said: “Now we’ve got a few days under our belt we’re comfortable with the technology, audiences are joining us and still watching events in their thousands.

“Exactly how many we don’t know yet, there’s a lot of analysis to be done, but significantly more than would fit into our main theatre in the gardens and more than would pass through the gates on a daily basis.

“But more important than the numbers is the reach of the online festival.”

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