The British Film Insititute is stumping £150,000 in P&A support to trot out classic Oscar winner Chariots Of Fire. The 31-year-old film’s theatrical run will begin throughout the UK on July 13 with a digitally remastered print. Fox, an original backer, has been helping in the effort to re-release the 1981 Best Picture winner about a pair of runners who make it to the 1924 Olympics despite religious obstacles. Ben Cross, Ian Charleson and Ian Holm starred in the Hugh Hudson-directed and David Puttnam-produced picture. Holm won the best supporting actor Palme d’Or in Cannes when the film premiered there. Later, Chariots also won the 1981 Oscar for Colin Welland’s screenplay, Milena Canonero’s costume design and Vangelis’ ubiquitous original score. A full press release follows:
London March 23rd 2012 For the first time in a generation audiences across the UK will have the opportunity to enjoy Hugh Hudson and Lord Puttnam’s internationally acclaimed, multi Oscar®-winning Olympic drama, Chariots of Fire on the big screen as an official part of the London 2012 Festival celebrations.
In a week when Lord Puttnam of Queensgate has called for more support for P&A funding across the film industry, the BFI announces Lottery funding through its P&A (Prints and Advertising) Fund to bring Chariots of Fire to cinemas up and down the UK from Friday 13 July – just two weeks before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. The BFI has provided Lottery funding of £150k through its Prints and Advertising (P&A) Fund to support the 2012 theatrical release of Chariots of Fire. The BFI’s funding is specifically aimed at broadening the release of the film, to give audiences across the nations and regions of the UK the opportunity to see Chariots of Fire on the big screen in celebration of Britain’s filmmaking and sporting achievements.
Twentieth Century Fox are working closely with the filmmakers to bring Chariots of Fire back to cinema screens. With a stunning new digitally re-mastered print, the iconic British film promises to dazzle on the big screen once again. The timeless story of athletic achievement and battling against the odds will prove particularly resonant as sporting fever sweeps Britain in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Producer Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE said: “Chariots of Fire is about guts, determination and belief. Just as the film succeeded in raising spirits and aspirations thirty years ago, I believe it could deliver exactly the same message today. At the heart of the film is the quest for Olympic glory, and I find hard to imagine anything more likely to resonate throughout the country this summer.”
Director Hugh Hudson said: “Discretion, loyalty and self-sacrifice, questions of faith and refusal to compromise, standing for one’s beliefs, achieving something for the sake of it, with passion, and not just for fame or financial gain, are even more vital and relevant today. Chariots is about these issues.”
BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said: “We’re delighted that BFI funding will help bring Chariots of Fire to UK audiences this summer, widening the film’s reach outside London and supporting a series of exciting events that will bring together and celebrate British achievements in film and sport. In such a culturally significant year and as Britain prepares to host the world’s biggest sporting event, this film offers a real opportunity for audiences UK-wide to embrace the Olympic spirit.”
Cameron Saunders, Managing Director, UK Theatrical at Twentieth Century Fox UK, said: “Thanks to the BFI’s support audiences throughout the UK will be able to make Chariots of Fire their first Olympic experience of the summer. I challenge anyone not to be extraordinarily excited about London 2012 having enjoyed this most iconic Olympic film on the big screen.”
Chariots of Fire tells the story of two very different men who compete as runners in the 1924 Paris Olympics: Eric Liddell is a devout Christian who believes that his athletic abilities are a gift from God, and that using that gift to its fullest extent – to win the gold medal – will be his way of glorifying God. Harold Abrahams is an English Jew, a student at Cambridge, who dreams of fame and of proving to his anti-Semitic fellow students, and to the world, that Jews are not inferior. Their motives are noble. Their commitment is total. Their integrity is unquestionable. They will both make personal sacrifices to achieve their goals. In the process, through all the obstacles and personal issues they conquer, they prove that striving for victory with such commitment and lofty goals is, perhaps, its own reward. Based on a true story, Chariots of Fire was the winner of four Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, in addition to receiving nominations for three more.
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