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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Ken Loach to open film festival
Ken Loach
There will be a special showing of Sweet Sixteen at the festival
Award-winning movie director Ken Loach has agreed to open the second Stafford Film Festival.

A special showing of Loach's 2002 Cannes Film Festival entry Sweet Sixteen will be screened on the opening night at the Gatehouse on 5 October.

His appearance is a second boost for the event after Screen West Midlands awarded the festival a 10,000 grant.

The organisers say the cash means they can show more films than last year and put on a film-making competition.

'Inspirational director'

Loach shot to prominence with his hard-hitting 1966 television drama Cathy Come Home, which helped to change the laws on homelessness.

The 58-year-old filmmaker, who grew up in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, has received a number of awards for his work, including the Jury Prize at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival for Hidden Agenda.

Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure, said: "We are delighted to have such an inspirational director open this year's festival.

"His work is respected around the world and will hopefully encourage budding filmmakers in the area to get involved."

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