Film Festival Day 3!

Yesterday was the final day of 2014’s St Albans Film Festival and it was as full of amazing events as the previous three days! 

It kicked off with a parachute display by the RAF Falcons, which was one of our free events and judging from the amount of people there one of the most popular all weekend! The weather was so good it was almost like we special ordered it. 

The second event I made it to that day was the screening of the documentary shorts. I quite enjoy the occasional documentary so I was really looking forward to seeing what our filmmakers came up with and I wasn’t disappointed! The topics were completely varied and the some of the styles were unexpected for me, especially in the documentary category. 

I popped over to our ‘Playing With Shakespeare’ event next, which was for our young audience. The garden at the Museum of St Albans was the perfect venue for a rendering of Much Ado About Nothing and it was completely adorable to watch the kids dress their parents up as trees! It was a really lovely event to be able to be a part of and the kids all seemed to love it, even the shyer ones. 

Then I went to catch the screening of the music video finalists at the Maltings Art Theatre. I was expecting some crazier things from the music videos than the other shorts and I certainly wasn’t let down. The videos were all completely different from each other and I totally loved all of them! 

My final stop of the day was to catch the student short film competition. There were a few technical issues with the screening but I don’t think it stopped any of us enjoying the films themselves, which were really fantastic! They came in different languages, styles, genres and all of them were so professional. I wasn’t expecting the films to be low quality but I truly hadn’t anticipated that they’d be of such a high standard. I couldn’t have enjoyed them more! 

Then the whole festival wrapped up with an awards ceremony and closing party at Havana! 

So that’s it, the end of the festival! It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend but I’ve loved every second, especially being able to blog about it for you guys! Sadly, this is my last blog post but I hope you’ve enjoyed having me as the official festival blogger and that you’ve had as good a time at the festival as I have! 

Lauren :) 

Film Festival Day 2!

My second day at the festival was just as jam-packed as the first. The first stop of my day was ‘The King and the Mockingbird’ which has always been one of my favourite animated films so I was excited to see how popular it was with other children. The answer? Very. The Maltings Art Theatre was packed almost to capacity and everyone seemed to be enjoying it, even though the film was subtitled and some of the audience were quite young. I think the parents enjoyed it almost as much as the kids!

My next stop was the ‘Costume Characterisation’ event hosted by the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Full disclosure, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan so the likelihood of me loving the event was high! When I arrived the room was packed with little ones who were all absolutely enthralled. The workshop started with a discussion about what judgments we make about based on their outfits, then they brought out a few costumes used in the actual Harry Potter films. Then the kids moved on to creating their own mood boards and the real selling point? The material they were using came from costumes used on the film set! From what I could tell all of the kids had a great time and I think their parents even learnt a few things!

I popped in on a screening of ‘Ponyo’ in the pool at Westminster Lodge. I only managed to catch it for a few minutes but all of the kiddies (and their parents) seemed to be enjoying the show and the fact that they got to watch it in the pool! I was slightly jealous I didn’t have a swimming costume with me so I could join in.

I made a quick dash then to catch a screening of ‘Crash Reel’ at The Pioneer Club. I’d heard the story behind the film before and so I was expecting it to be an emotional viewing but it really was spectacular!

My next stop was the Children’s Short Film Competition at the Verulamium Museum. I’m not sure what I was expecting from the event but I definitely didn’t get it. The films, especially those made by the younger children were amazing, some of them were very polished and professional and some were beautifully homemade. In fact my favourite film was light on technique but absolutely full to the brim with enthusiasm! And the film maker was only 6 years old to boot!

The last stop of my night was the screening of ‘Jaws’ also in the pool of Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre. The concept was amazing but I wasn’t sure about the practicalities, wouldn’t you get wrinkly in the pool for that long? But it actually turned out to be a really great night! There was even an inflatable shark in the pool!


Film Festival Day 1!

So on my first full day of the festival yesterday , I was busy non-stop all day and it was really fun!

My first stop  was at the parent and toddler sing-a-long screening of Mamma Mia. When I checked in it was a lot quieter than I expected for a room full of toddlers but everyone seemed to be having the BEST time. All of the parents looked relaxed and happy to be able enjoy the film without worrying about the kids making noise. I even spied a couple of the toddlers dancing along, which as you can imagine was completely adorable.

My next event was the screening of the French film ‘Ricky’ for which St Albans Town Hall was transformed into a very Parisian cinema set up. I only got to see the first half of ‘Ricky’ since I had to rush to another event but the concept was really intriguing – a baby who grows fully functioning wings.

The reason I had to miss the last half of ‘Ricky’ was to catch the first part of Lars Von Triers ‘Nymphomanic’. I was looking forward to this film from the second I knew it was being screened at the festival and I can honestly say I wasn’t disappointed! As an added bonus, due to some technical issues we were treated to an impromptu intro by Miranda Kane star of another of our feature films ‘Confessions of a Sex Worker’. Let me just say, Miranda was hilarious! Her intro was perfect for the film and I think made sure everyone felt slightly more comfortable for the upcoming film. On to the film, it was strangely emotional at times which I for one really wasn’t expecting, at point I might have been a bit misty eyed..

I then popped over to ‘St Albans Connection’ which was a series of short films either made by St Alban’s filmmakers or having a link to the local area. It was great to see recognisable places in some of the films or even recognise names and faces of those involved. It was the perfect event for a St Albans native or even someone just hoping to learn more about the area.

My day didn’t stop there and I then went to view the Over 18’s short film competition. The films were varied to say the least, there were dramas, comedies and even a parody to boot. There wasn’t a single film that I didn’t enjoy and from what I noted the rest of the audience felt similarly.

Finally on to my two evening events, the first was the ‘Women in Film and the Bechdel Test Panel’. The representation of women in film or any medium really is a subject close to my heart and a key theme of this years Film Festival so it was great to see such a strong turn out. The inclusion of audience discussion meant that there was a lively debate for the entire event and it was really great to hear the opinions of film industry insiders on the representation of women.

The last event I attended was the ‘Birds, Books and Gin’ event where we were given a really in depth look at Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and to hear some of the reasoning behind his decision making process. There were also cupcakes and free gin cocktails, which were very popular (I only had one, I promise!)

Let me know what events you’ve attended/are planning to attend and how you found them!


The Birds!

Yesterday we kicked off the opening event of the Film Festival, with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ at the spectacular St Albans Cathedral. Not only was the abbey all dressed up in purple and black but we also had a few feathered friends who swooped above the heads of the audience prior to the screening. Hedwig suffered from a little bit of stage fright when it was time for her big moment but during the pre show she was definitely a fan favourite!


We also had amazing crow puppets created by Whole Hog Theatre. They added the perfect amount of gorgeous but slightly creepy to the atmosphere of the evening.


We also had two fantastic choirs to kick off the event Big Sing initially and then The Correno Singers who definitely got everyone in the spirit of the evening.


And then finally we started ‘The Birds’ which is scary enough on it’s own but add to that the haunting backdrop of the abbey and all the decor it made for quite an exciting viewing.

All in all, the night went fantastically everyone had a great time. We couldn’t have found a better way to start what is going to be a really exciting festival weekend!

We have plenty of events on throughout the rest of the weekend, if your still looking for events to attend have a look at our programme here!

Hope to see you around the festival! Let me know what your planning to see.


Be a Festival Maker & Volunteer for one of the Coolest New Festivals Around.

Not only is the St Albans Film Festival an amazing place to be entertained, it’s also a great place to work and we still have some space for those of you interested in volunteering with us! We’re still looking for promotional staff for the upcoming weekend and during the festival we have spaces for ticket checkers and stewards in our venues, so if your interested read on to see if you fit the bill and be sure to contact us at:

As a volunteer you’ll be responsible for creating an unmissable atmosphere for the festival. To do this you should be an enthusiastic individual who wants to make the festival a success, it is our volunteers who have created and enhanced the uniqueness of the film festival.


Anyone can volunteer, you could be a community member, student, film fanatic and event enthusiast, a mum or even a family. Our volunteers span a range of ages, however under 16’s do have to be accompanied by an adult. Since our volunteers are predominantly locally based, this helps to provide a community feel to the festival.

The majority of our volunteers are hoping to help the St Albans community and to support the efforts of Leoni and what she has created with the film festival. Many of our volunteers saw the positive effects that the festival had on the community last year and decided to take part  again this year in order to be a part of that experience.


We still have a few roles available for you to volunteer for and the responsibility depends on the role you volunteer for. You can choose to take on a lot of responsibility, which looks fantastic on a CV and gain really valuable experience in a relevant field for you!

We’re completely flexible in terms of your availability and we really do appreciate any time you can spare to help us. So if your only available between 12 and 3 then that’s the only shift you’ll be scheduled in for!

Sound like fun? Make sure you get in contact with us at the email address above and get the opportunity to be a part of an amazing festival.



Lauren’s Top Picks for St Albans Film Festival 2014

The St Albans International Film Festival from 1st – 4th May 2014 is a brilliant film festival in its 2nd year with a short film competition and loads of fun for everyone whether you are filmmaker or simply a fan of movies. Since the programme for the Film Festival is jam-packed these are my top picks for those of you who are looking for some incredible entertainment for your May Bank Holiday weekend… and maybe take in some new films while your at it! Our full schedule can be found here if your more of a pick and mix type, otherwise read on for our tips for an awesome May Bank Holiday. 

Our opening screening on Thursday 1st May from 6:45 to 10pm of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ is an excellent place to start. Not only do you get to see an incredible classic film with there is also live music, the real Hedwig from Harry Potter will be making a flying visit through the Cathedral and the venue will be turned into an aviary for the night.. with a licensed bar and a stunning venue to boot, it’s pretty much the perfect evening and a brilliant way to start an exciting (long) weekend! 


The ‘Magic From the Movies’ event on Friday from 7 to 9pm is a must see for anyone who wants to be blown away by some incredible sleight of hand skills… be wowed by this highly skilled and charming magic circle magician, Wayne Fox.  You’ll even get to see how some of your favourite screen tricks were created! Will Dynamo’s secrets be revealed….. 


On Saturday from 7pm we have our screening of Jaws in Westminster Lodge’s pool. Yes, that’s right. IN THE POOL. It’s probably going to be equal parts amazing and terrifying. But definitely an unmissable experience!

There are two feature film Premiere’s being screened – both which will have cast and crew attending and most definitely some celebrities to spot! The Paddy Lincoln Gang, at the Pioneer Club on Saturday will be followed by a live gig from the band who appear as the lead roles in the movie & Seven Cases – starring Steven Berkoff, Saffron Sprackling (Republica) and Sam Fox will screen on Sunday. 


Speaking of Celebrities – don’t miss the star studded film Muse of Fire – with Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellan, Baz Luhrman, Ewan McGregor and many more this is the last chance to see this film on the big screen as it makes its final festival outing as the closing film of our festival. 


and my best top tip for the festival is… want to come and enjoy the films for free? Then be a festival volunteer over the weekend and get a festival pass in return to get into some of these brilliant event. just email 

This really was just a taster, there are around 50 events so take a look for yourself – 

I hope your all as excited for the programme as I am! See you there. 

Lauren🙂 Official Festival Blogger 2014



Top Festival Picks for Students – St Albans Film Festival 2014

The St Albans Film Festival which takes place 1st – 4th May 2014 is an excellent place to learn more about the film industry and to pick up skills and tips from those already in the business and so as a student hoping to get into the film industry it’s most definitely a great way to spend your bank holiday. 

Since the programme for the Film Festival is jam-packed we thought we would give you a helping hand and break down the weekend into the top picks for students  Our full schedule can be found here if your more of a pick and mix type, otherwise read on for our tips for an amazing weekend. 

On Friday 2nd May we have two all day workshops, both running from 9:30am to 5pm the first is ‘Pitching and Developing Ideas’ and the second is ‘The Art of Writing Screenplays’. Both workshops are going to be amazing in terms of tapping in to insider knowledge and by making a choice between the two you can’t really go wrong.

We also have ‘Blood, Sweat and Fears – How To Make Horror’ taking place between 8:30 and 10pm, which will give you a unique insight on the practicalities of shooting your first film, whether it be horror or any genre – Mike Tack will take you through how to start from scratch to getting your work seen by the right people. 


On Saturday at 10am and again at 1:30pm we’ll be running a ‘Stop Frame Animation Workshop’ where you’ll be shooting your very own stop animation film using the latest software and techniques. If your interested in animation we’re also running a ‘Studio Ghibli & Anime’ event during which you’ll be privy to rarely seen shorts and a Q&A with Studio Ghibli experts.

The ‘How To Direct Actors’ workshop between 10am and 12pm is a must for any aspiring directors out there who need to gain some practical experience directing professional actors. And for the more adventurous film makers out there we have a ‘Filming Extreme Sports Workshop’ running between 11am and 1pm, which will help you learn the best equipment and techniques for filming in these high intensity situations. 


There is also a ‘Writing For Screen’ event which encompasses four talks and workshops from 11am to 4:30pm with different industry insiders who can help you with all aspects of screen writing.

On Sunday we have our Student Film Shorts competition from 2-5pm where you can come along and see what other students are producing, maybe pick up some tips and get to know the people behind the shorts. In the spirit of networking you should also check out the ‘Awards Ceremony and Closing Party’ from 7:30pm, it’s an excellent opportunity to network with people in the industry and hopefully make some useful connections and most importantly have some fun! Jezus… we even have the incredible Cassetteboy rocking the after party at Club Havana till 2am… and tickets are only £10 for that. With 5 million youtube hits Cassetteboy Vs DJ Rubbish Comedy Disco is a brilliant way to spend a bank holiday Sunday and to have a laugh with your new found filmmaking friends.


Photographer: Steve Ullathorne 

But to be honest even if your not a film lover, you honestly can’t go wrong by stopping by for one of our feature films or perhaps one of the talks if you find one that piques your interest!

And as always I’m more than happy to chat with anyone of you about what you’ll be going to or to answer any questions about any of the events!

I hope your all as excited for the programme as I am! See you there… 

Lauren🙂 Official Festival Blogger 2014