FILM legend Dame Maggie Smith is bringing her star power to Purbeck Film Festival next month.

Beginning on October 13, the festival, with a theme of 'celebration', runs until October 29 and will welcome Dame Maggie, star of Downton Abbey, The Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, to the opening weekend in two special events which will celebrate her extraordinary stage and screen career.

The festival, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary, will launch in style with a powerful opening weekend, commencing with Our Little Sister at a gala evening on Friday October 14 at Wareham’s vintage cinema, The Rex.

The gala will be attended by a guest list of dignitaries who will be greeted by sponsor Koh Thai Tapas. The film is an enchanting portrayal of family life as three Japanese sisters gradually embrace their unknown fourth sister.

The general public can attend a screening of this film at The Rex on Thursday October 13.

On October 15 and 16 Dame Maggie Smith will take part in two question and answer sessions.

Over the course of the festival six of Dame Maggie's films will be screened, starting with the legendary Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Gosford Park, which will be screened in the grounds of the picturesque Harry Warren House in Studland.

From its small beginnings, the festival has gradually evolved to embrace more than 30 venues and 70 films.

Brochures are available in libraries, tourist information centres, cafés and arts venues.

Festival president Lady Cotton said: “Unsurprisingly the theme this year is celebration and the festival celebrates the film director, the film actor (Purbeck’s own Googie Withers), the cinematographer (Douglas Slocombe), the courage of women and men, 40 years of punk music and 400 years of Shakespeare.

"We are also extremely excited at the prospect of welcoming Dame Maggie Smith for a special two-day event which will celebrate her extraordinary stage and screen career on the opening weekend of the Festival, sponsored by the Dick Odgers’ Memorial Trust.”

The festival has teamed up with Dorset charity Diverse Abilities as their new arts arm with the aim of raising awareness of disability and the value of the arts in helping to improve lives.

An event to promote this new partnership within the context of the Festival will take place on Monday October 17 with a welcome drink and a meal at the Hilton Ballroom followed by the screening of the acclaimed French film Intouchables, sponsored by the Hilton, Koh Thai and Global.

The Purbeck Film Festival would like to thank the support from all our sponsors and advertisers.

For more information on the festival programme and to book tickets visit


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