From Friday 23 February to Sunday 11 March 2018 Borderlines Film Festival will bring 80 films and events to 26 venues across four counties in Herefordshire, Shropshire Worcestershire and Powys. Over that 17-day period, it is set to deliver another rich and varied programme in venues ranging from large arts centres and assembly rooms to community cinemas, village halls and pop-ups. It will incorporate 260 screenings, more than ever before, with a 15 per cent increase from last year.

Says Festival Director Naomi Vera-Sanso, ‘The Festival consolidates and grows organically year on year. The final tally of previews, films screening at the Festival before their UK release date, is predicted to rise to 30, and includes British director Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, a tough, cinematic tour-de-force with a performance from Joaquin Phoenix that won the Best Actor award (as well as Best Screenplay) at Cannes this year.

For the first time in its history, Borderlines will open with a Gala Screening of Palme d'Or winner, The Square, the savagely funny satire of the art world by Swedish director Ruben Östlund, at The Courtyard.

Serious awards contenders like Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with Frances McDormand’s award-tipped and resilient performance as a hard-bitten, vengeful mother and Daniel Day-Lewis’s final screen performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread are on the extensive programme, as is Gary Oldman’s transformation in Darkest Hour, Joe Wright’s Churchill biopic.

Borderlines continues to adopt the F-Rated standard, pioneered by FilmBath, to promote the visibility of films that have been directed or written by women. Approximately one third of the films in the programme are F-Rated with 11 qualifying as triple-F-rated (featuring significant women characters on screen) with four programmed for International Women's Day on March 8.

Look out too for an Ingmar Bergman retrospective strand, a pair of neglected silent classics, more of the ever-popular screenings of films from far-off places and two outdoor screenings at The Left Bank.

Appropriately as ever, a strong British rural theme runs through the programme from Clio Barnard’s latest Dark River, in which a sombre family dispute over tenancy set on the Yorkshire moors unleashes painful ghosts, to BIFA-award-winning gay love story God’s Own Country. Paul Wright’s Arcadia is a dense, poetic mash-up of dazzling footage from the BFI National Archive with an expressive score from Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), while local production company Catcher Media’s new documentary Stories from the Hop Yards is inspired by the fabulous rediscovered archive of photographer Derek Evans and brims with old photos, films, and newly recorded interviews from across the region while MACE (Media Archive for Central England) will be curating a package of local archive footage.

The Rural Media Company resumes its long-standing connection with Borderlines with the premiere of a new film about Travellers and the Royal National College for the Blind will celebrate its 40th anniversary in Hereford by showing the documentary Notes on Blindness (separate audio-described and standard performances).

The full programme will be announced on Friday 19 January when the Central Box Office at The Courtyard in Hereford opens for business at 10am.