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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 16:00 GMT
Cornwall's Bitter Sweet premiere
A still from Bitter Sweet
Bitter Sweet could be the start of a Cornish film industry
The world premiere of what is believed to be the first ever Cornish feature film is taking place in front of a select audience of peers and MPs at the Palace of Westminster.

Bitter Sweet, which was filmed entirely in Cornwall using a Cornish cast speaking the Cornish language, is a story of love that becomes corrupted by drugs.

Writer and director, veteran film-maker Antal Kovacs, hopes the feature will lead to the creation of a Cornish film industry.

St Ives MP Andrew George, who organised the screening, said the work showed the new Cornish "self-confidence".

Digital technology

More than 100 guests, including the 25-member cast, attended the premiere on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Kovacs, whose credits include The Italian Job and Yellow Submarine, said developments in technology had made the film possible.

"The development of digital technology means that anywhere on Earth can be a major production centre. This film couldn't have happened five or six years ago."

He said the film was made to commercial standards but had an arthouse feel to it.

Helen Rule playing Becky in Bitter Sweet
Helen Rule's character, Becky, betrays her lover
"I hope it raises the profile of the Cornish language and makes more people aware of it, it is important that people are aware of the language.

"There has been funding for films in other Celtic languages but the Cornish people have been the poor cousin of the Celtic fraternity and it's time to put that right.

"This just happens to be the first Cornish feature film but many more will come, I'm making another film in the language," said Mr Kovacs.

There are two versions of the film, one in English and a subtitled version in the Cornish language.

Each scene was done twice in each language.

Actress Helen Rule, who plays the female lead Becky, said it was difficult at first to grasp the text.

"It was pretty tough. I've never seen Cornish written out and to look down at it on paper, it was difficult to learn.

"But it was easy to pick up, once I got the different pronunciations."

MP Andrew George said: "The growing self-confidence in Cornwall suggests that far from cutting ourselves off, we want to cut ourselves in to a celebration of diversity, that's what Cornwall wants to do and that is what this film is about."

See also:

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09 Nov 01 | England
Cornwall seeks mine history honour
07 Aug 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
From Cornwall to Mexico
19 Mar 99 | UK Politics
Devolving England
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