HUNDREDS, if not thousands of Borderlines fans are eagerly anticipating two weeks of movie going as the annual film festival gets underway on Friday, February 28.

Among them is Blaise White who, though he admits to not being a regular cinema visitor outside the festival and rarely if ever sits down to watch a DVD, has already marked this year's programme and is looking forward to a film filled fortnight.

For Blaise, as for many others, the appeal of the festival is the opportunity to see things that would never otherwise reach screens in Herefordshire and Shropshire.

"I open the brochure with a mix of excitement and anticipation," he says. "Wondering what's in there, and this year, as always, there are plenty of films that I've never heard of. The great thing is that there's a huge range of different films. Some I've seen have been relatively strange, bordering on incomprehensible, but they've all been worth seeing."

High on Blaise's wish list this year is the three-film season of works by Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu - his latest Cannes prize-winning feature Like Father, Like Son, the earlier Nobody Knows about four children fending for themselves after being abandoned and his second feature, After Life.

"There are plenty of more obscure films to look forward to. What attracts me are the more unusual, less mainstream movies.

"Kore-eda's I Wish, which I saw at Borderlines last year, was a story of Japanese family life and culture with a universal message, but told in a very different way.

"The only problem about Borderlines is that there are so many films that you can't always get to all the ones you're interested in seeing."

Also on Blaise's list for this year are the Indian film, The Lunchbox, and, as he often visits Africa as part of his job with Concern Universal, Nairobi Half Life, a comedy about Mwas, a country boy, who sets off to Nairobi to become an actor.

Reflecting on past festivals, and he's been going since Borderlines was launched, he settles on The Lives of Others as his stand-out choice, followed by Into Eternity, a documentary about the construction of a nuclear waste storage facility in Finland - "it made you realise the scale of the problem - it was very thought-provoking, and again, something you wouldn't get the chance to see anywhere else.

"Another film I loved was O' Horten, about a train driver - it was basically a romance but verging on the surreal, with Scandinavian darkness tinged with humour."

Blaise will be buying tickets, too, for the Coen Brothers' latest outing, Inside Llewyn Davies. "The Cohen Brothers have managed to ride the line between having sufficient popular appear to be mainstream while remaining interesting."

Blaise is less interested in the mainstream offerings of Borderlines. "They're usually trailed so much you almost feel you've seen them already. The joy of Borderlines is discovering a film for yourself."