Herefordshire and Shropshire's own Borderlines Film Festival opens on Friday 1 March with some prestigious additions to an already rich and varied programme.

It has just been announced that the Festival is to host the English Premiere of Byzantium, the striking new film by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Michael Collins), starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan at The Courtyard Hereford on Tuesday 12 March at 6.00pm.

A contemporary vampire film, Byzantium marks a return for Jordan to the Gothic fantasy territory of Interview With a Vampire and The Company of Wolves. Two women, ostensibly sisters, on the run from a mysterious stranger arrive in a down-at-heel seaside town to make a new life for themselves. Says Festival Director Naomi Vera-Sanso, “We are privileged indeed that the distributors Studiocanal have given the go-ahead for the first English screening of this exciting new film by a major director to take place here at Borderlines.”

“The occasion will be all the more special because the editor, Tony Lawson, a longtime collaborator of Neil Jordan, will be present to introduce the movie.”

Byzantium will receive a repeat screening in the luxurious surroundings of the Festival’s latest venue, the 50-seater Booth’s Bookshop Cinema in Hay, date and time to be announced.

A further guest, Village at the End of the World director Sarah Gavron, along with partner and co-director, David Katznelson, is to visit the Festival on Saturday 9 March to introduce the documentary.

Sarah's debut feature film Brick Lane earned her the New Talent Award at the London Film Festival and she previously won a Best New Director BAFTA for the Dennis Potter Award winning This Little Life for BBC TV.

Village at the End of the World is Sarah's first documentary and its subject is the Inuit village of Niaqornat, perched precariously at the northern extremity of Greenland's vast landmass and accessible only by helicopter. It provides compelling viewing alongside Chasing Ice in which National Geographic photographer and former climate change sceptic James Balog captures the Arctic's melting ice caps through spectacular time-lapse photography.

The title of the Festival’s Mystery Film has also just been revealed. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which won two BAFTAs last night, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), will screen on Saturday 9 March at 8.30pm in Hereford.

The other writing award, for Adapted Screenplay, went to David O. Russell, director of ‘feel-better’ romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook.

Life of Pi, for which tickets are selling fast, also won two BAFTAS, for special visual effects and cinematography, while truth-is-stranger-than-fiction documentary The Imposter, showing at three Flicks in the Sticks venues, Acton Scott Village Hall, Leominster Playhouse and Ledbury Market Theatre, garnered the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Award for Bart Layton (director) and Dimitri Doganis (producer).

Booking for all films and events is now underway in person at The Courtyard Hereford, online at www.borderlinesfilmfestival.org or by calling the Central Box Office number 01432 340555.

Image Caption: Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan in Byzantium