Category Archives: 2014

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!

Lauren 🙂

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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!

Lauren 🙂

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!

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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.


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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.

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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.

Lauren 🙂

Introducing the St Albans Film Festival 2014 Character

Last year’s film festival became instantly recognisable on posters, t-shirts and online, thanks to its purple branding and Droog character, which represented the festivals’ underlying theme; Stanley Kubrick.

Kubrick lived and filmed most of his work in the area and the late film director/ screenwriter’s wife, Christiane Kubrick became the festivals first Patron after opening the 2013 debut festival, with inspiring words of support.

Christiane Kubrick, opening the festival

Christiane Kubrick, opening the festival

Each year, the festival will celebrate a new theme but keep the distinct purple branding.

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As announced on our previous blog post, this year’s film festival theme is Birds, the feathered kind in – homage to Alfred Hitchcock and also women, in film and film-making and we can now reveal the character for this year.

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Expect: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds to be screened; a ‘Birds themed cocktail bar’; appearance by St Albans Director Dan Smith, currently directing for Sir David Attenborough a 3D Animated film where Natural History Dinosaurs come to life, including the very first birds; a live demonstration of remote control heli-camera/drones that are used widely in blockbusters to capture amazing aerial shots; screenings of films featuring amazing women such as Judi Dench in the new Shakespeare film Muse of Fire, and lots lots more.

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A CALL FOR ENTRIES…

May 1st – 4th 2014 is the date for the 2nd International St Albans Film Festival and entries have already started flying in from as far as Japan, Brazil, Australia & Iceland.

If you would like to take the leap and enter the next festival you could be in with the chance of winning part of the £3000 cash prize, a crafted trophy and respect from your clan!  Anyone can enter a short film of maximum 20 mins in length into one of 7 categories, listed below:

MAIN SHORT FILM – Any short narrative film that is a work of fiction eg: drama, comedy, romance, thriller. Last years’ winner was from France – Fabrice Braq’s film ‘Time to Split’ a relationship drama which cleverly used a split screen process.

DOCUMENTARY – Any short documentary film about any subject at all from big world issues to personal stories that matter to you. We even had a beautifully shot film in year one by director Michelle Becker which showed us how to bake a really tasty cake!

MUSIC VIDEO – Any music video from any artist, band or performer around the world. The Artists from the music videos that get accepted are asked whether they would like to perform live at the festival, a great way to build your audience and fan base!

ANIMATION – Any animation short, whether it’s suitable for children, adults or both. St Albans born and bred Arthur Melbourne-Cooper made the first ever animation over 100 years ago so this category is very significant for those who enter to be part of the City’s animation heritage.

OVER 18S – Any type of film whether it’s a work of fiction, documentary, animation or music video that deals with subjects suitable for an over 18 audience only. This could be for example horror, violence, adult language, erotica. Last year’s festival saw some really great entries – an interesting one that caught our attention was ‘Phone sex Grandma!’ by Jack Truman, USA.

STUDENT FILM – Any film by a student age 16+  Perhaps you are at film school and are carving your filmmaking career or maybe you are studying something else at school or college and just have a passion for film and filmmaking?

YOUNG STUDENT FILM – A film made by a child age 5 – 15, about any subject, it can be documentary, animation, drama.. whatever you like. Last year we had films entered from USA, Scotland and all across the UK in this category and a special children’s red carpet awards ceremony.

It costs £30 to enter a film, £20 for a student & £10 for a child. If you keep an eye on the Facebook & Twitter accounts @StAlbansFF there are often chances to win a free entry. Everyone whose film gets selected for screening will get a pass worth £40 to attend the festival events so it’s really worth entering.

The deadline for sending in your short film is 1st February 2013 so get creating and see the website to find out details of how to enter and be a part of the next spectacular St Albans International Film Festival as it takes over the City once again.  www.stalbansfilmfestival.com