Category Archives: The events

Festival Winners and Closing Party.

Havana club, 7.30pm – This is it! Time to find out the winners of the festival! The grand closing ceremony was an over 18s red carpet event, with welcome drinks on arrival. The room was decorated beautifully and there was a buffet spread provided by Buongiorno Italia.

Winners and Awards

MAIN FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS

Films for Kids (made by a Professional)
Judges special mention: SKETCH – The Walker Twins
Winner: BAGGAGE – Dir. Peter Butler

Music Video
Judges special mention: FELDSPAR – “THE FLAT & PAPER SKY” – Dir. Craig Heathcote
Winner: REGGIIMENTAL FEAT MATT HENSHAW “STAND BY THE WINDOW” – Dir. Adam Awni


Documentary
Judges special mention: SKIN – Dir. Janina Vilsmaier
Winner: THE GUEST – Dir. Kira De Hemmer Jeppeson

Student Film
Judges special mention: DAWID AND DOMINIK Dir. Andrew Salamonczyk
Winner: ROCKET BOYS –Dir. James Button

Over-18’s
Judges special mention: PHONE SEX GRANDMA – Dir. Jack Truman
Winner: PRODIGAL SON – Dir. CJ SCUFFINS

Main short film
Judges special mention: GRACIOUS AWAKENINGS – Dir Ben Jacobs, starring James Callas Ball, St Albans
Winner: TIME 2 SPLIT – Dir. Fabrice Bracq


Best Actor:
Judges special mention: Darren Kent – Sunny Boy (Main short)
Winner: Kerensa York – Lines in the Sand (Main Short)


MINI STUDENT FILM AWARDS

Best mini student film:
A DOG – Oscar Simmons, Shenley, Herts

Best performance by an actor or actress:
Emily Horton-Harpin, St Albans
LOVE LETTER – Written, Produced, Directed, Edited and Performed by Emily Horton-Harpin

Best Class entry:
TRUTH OR DARE – Lydate J&I School, Kirklees, West Yorkshire

Golden Nugget award:
KILPATRICK SNOWMAN – Kilpatrick Primary School, a special needs school in West Dunbartonshire

Made in St Albans film award:
THE DETECTIVE – Jack and Ashley Campbell, Age 14, St Albans


SHORTLISTED FILMS & ACTORS IN COMPETITION FOR THE FIRST ANNUAL ST ALBANS FESTIVAL 2013.

We are delighted to announce selected films listed below will be screened at the festival. Winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on the Sunday evening 10th March.

MAIN SHORT FILMS – Sponsored by Blanco

  • GRACIOUS AWAKENINGS – Dir Ben Jacobs
  • LITTLE ANGEL – Dir. Darren S Cook
  • THE FLYING LESSON – Dir Phil Hawkins
  • SUNNY BOY  – Dir. Jane Gull
  • LINES IN THE SAND – Dir. Michael Gilroy
  • THE PLAYERS  – Dir Benjamin Garfield
  • MEMORY SCULPTOR – Dir. Ken Ochiai
  • TIME 2 SPLIT – Dir. Fabrice Bracq
  • HOLDING ON – Dir. Jo Southwell
  • THE SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION GONE – Dir. Ashley Michael Briggs
  • PADDED CELL – Dir. Andrew Martin
  • ID – Daniel Gentely
  • THE BEST MEDICINE – Dir.Dan Smith.

DOCUMENTARIES – sponsored by XLN Telecommunications

  • 1915 – Dir. Tom Graffin
  • CAKE CREATION  – Dir. Michelle Becker
  • THE GUEST – Dir. Kira De Hemmer Jeppeson
  • GRANDPA & ME & A HELICOPTER TO HEAVEN – Dir. Johan Palmgren
  • SKIN – Dir. Janina Vilsmaier
  • PETER & BEN – Dir. Pinny Grylls
  • MY KOSHER SHIFTS – Dir. Iris Zaki
  • LAMPWORT – Dir. Alex Parkyn-Smith
  • NEWTON FAULKNER – Dir. Ben Roper
  • PARKOUR IN ST ALBANS – Dir. Ben Roper

OVER 18S

  • VACUUM ATTRACTION – Dir. Morgan Miller
  • WE CAN GET YOU SOME REALLY CHEAP GEAR – Dir. JOSHUA WESTBURY
  • THE DOMESTIC – Dir. Mike Tack
  • PHONE SEX GRANDMA – Dir. Jack Truman
  • TWO PERSONS MAX – Dir. Tim Kent
  • WASTE DISPOSAL – Dir. Katherine King
  • SMILE – Dir. The Bashford Twins
  • SAW MISGIVINGS – Dir. David Lilley
  • EX SOLDIERS – Dir. CHRIS ARMSTRONG
  • PRODIGAL SON – Dir. CJ SCUFFINS
  • THE END OF LOUIS LANE – Dir. OLIVER GUY WATKINS

STUDENT FILM – Sponsored by UNITAL HERTS PRODUCTION CO.

  • POPSY – Dir. John Lerchen
  • BIKE SHED – Dir. Edward White
  • FIGURE #1 Dir. Chus F. Sarrión
  • MOMENTUM – Dir. Boris Seewald
  • DAWID AND DOMINIK Dir. Andrew Salamonczyk
  • ORPHEUS – Dir. James Button
  • TUMBLING AFTER – Dir. Nicholas Humphries
  • ROCKET BOYS –Dir. James Button
  • IL TOUR DE DAVIDE – Dir. Nicola Sersale
  • TRUE REPOSE – Dir. Oscar Garth
  • IN MY SHED – Dir. Agathe Dalisson
  • A SHORT FILM ABOUT KLEZMER – Dir. Janie Armour

MUSIC VIDEO

  • BIANCA & CHIARA D’AMBROSIO “LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE” – Prod. John Ryan
  • THE ZEN HUSSIES “ANGELINA TOUT” – Dir. Sarah Mallabar
  • FELDSPAR – “THE FLAT & PAPER SKY” – Dir. Craig Heathcote
  • DARIA KULESH “TOM TOM” – Prod. Daria Kulesh
  • BIG TIMOTHY MUSIC “LIFE IN NEW YORK” – Dir James Merchant
  • COLUMBIA “ON THE RUN” – Dir Chris Dundon.
  • DYNAPHONE RECORDS “DARLIN” – Dir. Rob Collins
  • LOUISE PETIT BAND “DEMONS” – Dir. Mark Wooldridge
  • REGGIIMENTAL FEAT TRAWR “TOUCH” – Dir. Adam Awni
  • REGGIIMENTAL FEAT MATT HENSHAW “STAND BY THE WINDOW” – Dir. Adam Awni
  • 8:58 “ACROSS THE UNIVERSE” – Dir. Chunky Nelson
  • THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS “NOW WE’RE PRINCES” – Dir Darren S Cook
  • ZERO T “ROXY MUSIC” – Dir. Andrew Clunie
  • MAKSIM – THE GODFATHER – Dir. Ben Roper

FILMS FOR KIDS

  • HIGH ABOVE THE SKY – Dir Kim Noce & Shaun Clark.
  • HOMEY – Dir. Benjamin Garfield
  • SPROCKETT – Dir. Hazel Meeks
  • ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT – Dir. Derek Holder
  • BAGGAGE – Dir. Peter Butler
  • SKETCH – Dir. The Walker Sisters
  • LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE – Prod. John Ryan.
  • A SHADOW OF BLUE – Dir. Carlos Lascano
  • FORGET ME NOT – Dir Kim Noce & Shaun Clark.

BEST ACTOR AWARD

  • Darren Kent – Sunny Boy (Main short)
  • Flora Brunier Time to Split – (Main Short)
  • Kerensa York – Lines in the Sand (Main Short)
  • DenDen – Memory Sculptor (Main Short)
  • Opal Dockery – Phone Sex Grandma (Over 18)
  • Billie Vee – Two Persons Max (Over 18)
  • Patrick Hanna – Momentum (Student)
  • Jake Talbot – Rocket Boys (Student)
  • Ethan smith – Rocket Boys (Student)
  • Edoardo Natoli – Il Tour De Davide (Student)

MINI STUDENT FILM SHORTLIST

  • HEDGEROW TALES – Buchlyvie Primary School, Stirlingshire.
  • FUEL THE FIRE – Sandaigh Primary School, Glasgow.
  • A DOG – Oscar Simmons, Shenley, Herts.
  • PIRATES OF THE INDIAN OCEAN – Northampton Bangladeshi Association Youth Club & Wind and Foster, Northampton.
  • DREAM BOY –   Young people from The Switch Project and filmmakers My Pockets.
  • VIKINGS – Lydate J&I School, Kirklees, West Yorkshire
  • TRUTH OR DARE – Lydate J&I School, Kirklees, West Yorkshire
  • FOX HUNTING – St Vincents Primary School, Mill Hill.
  • LOVE LETTER  – Written, Produced, Directed, Edited  and Performed by Emily Horton-Harpin, St Albans.
  • ANTI-BULLYING – Beauchamps High School.
  • THE VILLAGE IDIOT – Beauchamps High School.
  • KILPATRICK SNOWMAN – Kilpatrick Primary School, a special needs school in West Dunbartonshire
  • CTRL-Z – The Hills Lower School, Bedford.
  • STRICTLY KITCHEN DISCO – Johanna, Mandeville Primary School, St Albans.
  • GHOSTS IN THE WILD – Louis Holding, Surbiton, Surrey.
  • 10 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE BORED – William and Salim, St Albans.

MADE IN ST ALBANS

  • THE DETECTIVE – Jack Campbell, Age 14, St Albans.
  • A DREAM & A WISH – Iorwen Ellis, Age 8, St Albans
  • THE WEDDING – Tatiana – Mandeville, St Albans
  • THROUGH THE CHRISTMAS PORTAL – Laura. Martha, Nala Ages 8 & filmed by Will age 12, St Albans
  • A SPARK – Oscar Simmons, Age 12.
  • STOCKWOOD PARK MUSEUM –Reception Class, St Peters School, St Albans.
  • EDOARDO – THE HORRIBLEST BOY IN THE WORLD –  YEAR 3 St Peters School, St Albans.
  • THE PIANO – YEAR 5 St Peters School, St Albans.
  • THE ESCAPE (Legoman) – Benjamin, Mandeville Primary School, St Albans.
  • PICNIC ON THE HILL – Ages 7 – 10 Fleetville Junior school, St Albans.
  • MEMORY OF JUSTICE  – Oakwood Primary School, St Albans.
  • THE MURDERER – Jack Cate,Age 9 St Albans
  • SHOES & BIN – Fred Cobb, Age 8, St Albans.
  • SOMETHING – Rupert Williams, Age 9, St Albans
  • FOOTSTEPS FOR THE FUTURE – St Alban & St Stephen Junior School.

All films above are suitable for Children age 5 + There are two super films who made our shortlist but are not suitable for Primary School age so we will have a special  screening them with restricted access for age 11+ during the day on 9th March.

  • CLOSED EXITS – Rupert Rixon, St Albans
  • DEAD MAN WALKING – Jack Gentle Age 14.

After the awards came one of the most touching moments of the night, when Leoni’s family joined her on stage to pay tribute to her hardwork in organising the festival. Given that it was also Mothers Day, having her children join her on stage made the moment all the more poignant .

AFter the awards and thank yous were over, it was time to get on with enjoying the good food and good drink! The night even ended with the St Albans Film Festival Harlem Shake…

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My unsung heroes of the weekend

As I write this, my last post before the closing party (please see my previous post for the list of content still to come though) I realise I have some thank yous to say, to the people that kept me sane this weekend…

The Starbucks team, who were lovely to me and leech off their wifi (my favour #missionwifi suggestion was "make them famous and try get free coffee. No free coffee I'm afraid, but they are awesome!

The Starbucks team, who were lovely to me and let me leech off their wifi (my favourite #missionwifi suggestion was “make them famous and try to get free coffee.” No free coffee I’m afraid, but they are awesome!

Student film leader Abu. For his motivational speeches

Student film leader Abu. For his motivational speeches

The University of Hertfordshire Students that filmed the event, who were there at every event I went to!

The University of Hertfordshire Students that filmed the event, who were there at every event I went to!

...Even when times got hard!

…Even when times got hard!

Herts Student Blogging Network for the support and extra publicity.

Herts Student Blogging Network for the support and extra publicity.

The Trevelyan family for letting me stay - their son Julian has a piano recital in St Albans this month

The Trevelyan family for letting me stay – their son Julian has a piano recital in St Albans this month.

An Afternoon Celebrating Stanley Kubrick at The Maltings

I spent the afternoon at The Maltings Art Theatre celebrating the life and films of Stanley Kubrick. The two screenings at this location for the afternoon were Staircases to Nowhere and Stanley Kubrick – A Life in Pictures.

The documentary, Staircases to Nowhere is a series of interviews and previously unheard stories from behind the scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s Tehe Shining (based on the novel by Stephen King) collected as part of ‘The Elstree Project’. The Elstree Project is a collaboration between Elstree Screen Heritage and the University of Hertfordshire. It is hoped that to celebrate the centenary of Elstree Studios, the Elstree Project will have collected 50 interviews in total.

Director (and University of Hertfordshire lecturer) Howard Berry introducing A Staircase to Nowhere

Director (and University of Hertfordshire lecturer) Howard Berry introducing A Staircase to Nowhere

Howard Berry, who directed the Staircases to Nowhere film, introduced not only the documentary, but also explained a bit more about the Elstree Project itself (see http://theelstreeproject.org/). He spoke of how there is often misconceptions about the nearby ‘Elstree Studios’, where huge films such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones were filmed. Elstree Studios actually refers to a collective of six studios, most of which are no longer in existence . Eastenders and Holby City are filmed at a remaining Elstree Studio.

Julian Senior talks about cutting the end of The Shining post-screening

Julian Senior talks about cutting the end of The Shining post-opening

Staircases to Nowhere gets its name from a quote from Julian Senior who disagreed with Kubrick over the ending. In one of the interviews Julian explains that at first he didn’t get the end of the film and didn’t know “if Jack frozen in the snow was a great ending”. It was only after a while that he realised that it’s the hotel that is alive (I kind of remember having this same issue with the end of the film myself when I first watched it, quite a few years ago) and found somethere eerie about the set and its staircase to nowhere. Julian also speaks of having to make phonecalls at 5am and sending someone to the theatre to cut the film reel (post-screening) when Kubrick infamously decided to change the ending (shortening it by 2 minutes) after the film had been release to the cinema.

I found the documentary’s details about the technical side of creating The Shining particularly interesting.  Hearing Kubrick described as a “frustrated technician” helps to piece together the story of the way that a new type of camera, mounted on a trolley, was able to film the boy’s tricycle continuously round the set.

Staircases to Nowhere is available to watch in full here:

The closing film of the festival, Stanley Kubrick – A Life in Pictures, ran back-to-back against the Elstree Project documentary, looking at his life and career as a whole. The film was directed by Jan Harlan, Christiane’s brother and one of Kubrick’s producers on Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut.

A snapshot from the closing film

A snapshot from the closing film

Speaking about the significance of the St Albans Film Festival, Jan says: “This lovely city of St Albans is anaemic when it comes to film culture – and this is the city where Stanley Kubrick lived for 20 years. I applaud the efforts of Leoni and her team of organisers and will certainly take full advantage of the rich offering.”

I was surprised to hear that in the beginning of his career, Kubrick lived off of 30 dollars a week unemployment cheque. There was a brilliant moment in the film where an actress speaks of working with Stanley and, after he continually gave her lifts home, she once asked him: “why are you always so nice to people?” He answered: “honey, the only person who is going get anything out of this movie is me”.

Tom Cruise narrates the journey of Kubrick’s career, looking at pictures, film clips and comments from his c0lleagues, including an interview with his producer partner, James B. Harris. Kubrick is, at one point, described as “smart, and incredible chess player, with not much education.”

a Harris-Kubrick film

a Harris-Kubrick film

It was good to have such a strong focus on Stanley Kubrick to close the film festival events, not least because of the local element, but it also rounded up the festival activities nicely, after the way that Christiane Kubrick, the wife of the late, iconic filmmaker had officially launched the festival. It brought the whole event full circle.

Christiane Kubrick, opening the festival

Christiane Kubrick, opening the festival

Christiane said, at opening party in the city centre, that Kubrick foresaw the way the Internet would change filmmaking and viewing.

“He knew it would all change and that people would make and view films in a completely different way,” she said. “You have to ‘find the film’ nowadays, and that’s why these festivals are such a good thing for filmmakers.”Leoni Kibbey, Film Festival Director said: “I [was] thrilled to be welcoming Christiane Kubrick to open our festival, especially on International Woman’s Day. The Kubrick name is legendary in the world of film, and to have the family’s support of this Festival is amazing.”

Stanley and Christiane got married in 1958 after they met on the set of the Paths of Glory, which Stanley directed. They moved to England in the early 1960s finally settling in Childwickbury Manor, just outside St Albans.

Christiane trained as an actress before pursuing a career in painting, going on to become an highly accomplished artist. Her work was featured in two of Stanley Kubrick films, A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut.

Stanley created some of his most famous work in the St Albans area. His house, Childwickbury Manor, was used as a nerve centre for his film productions: The Shining was finished there, and Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut were started and completed there.

Student Film Competition Finalists

The Pioneer Club

The Pioneer Club

Next on my agenda was the Student Film Competition Finalists’ screening at The Pioneer Club. Judging by my map, it was a long way out, so I set off early to make sure I’d get there on time. As it happened, I was a few minutes early and caught the end of the Online Video Success seminar, which was a surprisingly interactive and personal session, from the looks of it.

Online Video Success

Online Video Success

The Pioneer was a cool venue with a big screen on a stage and plenty of seating for the screenings. I didn’t get to watch all of the films, but the ones I did see were pleasantly surprising: this category is just as talented and creative as any other – and sometimes even more professional-looking (perhaps students have more to prove).

Screenings at the Pioneer

Screenings at the Pioneer

Well done to all the entrants in this category, the level of work was outstanding and had me cringing, laughing or down right creeped out in all the right places. Awesome job!

A full list of student finalists

A full list of student finalists

Maybe Bangladesh.

Maybe Bangladesh has been my favourite film event of the festival so far. With a traveller’s soul, a love of music and dreams of visiting India, this encapsulated so much of what I enjoy.

The screening about to begin

The screening about to begin

The screening began with a three-part cartoon short about the turbulent life of chickens from egg to Sunday roast, which came with a ‘may contain violence’ warning and needless to say, was hilarious. With evil revenge-seeking eggs, a chicken (unsuccessfully) crossing the road and a machine gun operating roast chicken, the journey from ‘Traumatic Beginnings’ to ‘Happy Ending’ was well received by most of the audience (in fairness, the warning was pretty clear).

Introductory short: Part 1 - Turbulent Beginnings

Introductory short: Part 1 – Turbulent Beginnings

Next up, Erich, who stars in and narrates the film, Maybe Bangladesh (which is in German with English subtitles) introduced the feature documentary with a song on the accordion. As the film is documenting Erich’s travels to source the sound of a mysterious, unlabelled cassette of Indian music he is given, introducing it this way really brings the story to life.

(Note: Apologies for the poor quality of this video, at this point my camera battery had died and I had to use my phone)

What I really liked about this documentary was its fun mix of live action footage and cartoon animation (using the same animators as the short film before it).

Interesting and inventive ways of mixing cartoon and live action footage

Interesting and inventive ways of mixing cartoon and live action footage

The plot follows Erich and his band mates, fellow musicians with itchy feet as they become mesmerised by the Indian music and want to share their own.

There is talk of such wonderful music coming from a higher power, but a Nepalese cook tells them, when asked where such wonderful music comes from: “Maybe Bangladesh…”.

Footage from India

Footage from Indian

As they journey through India on their search for the origin, they come to understand what culture shock really means, and deliver one of my favourite quotes from the film, above a soundtrack of traffic, horns and dogs barking, “We found noise before we found music…Indian noise is so penetrating even a shut down brain can’t handle it”.

When they find a man who tells them that the language of the cassette is Tamil and that the composer is dead, it seems that hope is lost. But the story doesn’t end there, as their hunt for the haunting voice of Govinda continues to lead them to some fascinating places.

Surreal, Immersive Fun at the Clocktower

I have had the most fun morning this morning at the final day of the film festival , really getting grips with, and enjoying, St Albans.

St Albans embracing the film festival

St Albans embracing the film festival

Aside from all the quirky shops and the busy farmers market, I found myself walking right past a flash mob in the market place this morning and a pop-up bandstand!

Music and dance mixed in with the film festival bring a great vibe to the city

Music and dance mixed in with the film festival bring a great vibe to the city

I went to St Albans Clocktower to experience the surreal cinema. At this venue a variety of costumed actors guide you through a story before a film viewing which gels the performances together and as the person greeting me at the tower explained “it will all make sense at the end”.

At the Clocktower

At the Clocktower

Climbing up the tiny, dark spiral staircase sure was a bit sinister and claustrophobic – a great atmosphere for an immersive experience such as this. Each level had something different going on, and at one point I came face-to-face with a giant ant!

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After being handed a fly-filled lollipop (yes, completely bizarre – but cool) it was time to move on. I’ll leave visitors to experience the surreal cinema themselves, without revealing too much, but its definitely a good place to visit for a bit of fun.

Lollies with flies in

Lollies with flies in

Next, I made my way to The Maltings Arts Theatre where I saw The Culture Cart again, making Lino prints, even better, I got to see the bike this time.

Culture Cart Prints

Culture Cart Prints

Mike Peel – SFX Make Up Demo

The Make Up stand

The Make Up stand

My last official blog topic of the day was the SFX make up demonstration with Mike Peel.

Mike Peel's Demo

Mike Peel’s Demo

Mike says recently he has often been working on zombie make up (when you do something well once, everybody wants that from you) but he also does other gore, creatures, elves, etc.

He says that he has a number of core items in stock, ready for when film makers approach him, including severed heads, severed limbs and plastic penises (bizarrely enough he gave 3 examples of when he has been approached for such items recently, including a nice anecdote about a possessed scarecrow that doesn’t take kindly to a drunk boy weeing up him, and even a film in which an aspiring actor has a penis ‘surgically attached’ to his head to get more work and recognition).

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The demo included putting a prosthesis onto a volunteer’s face, and using a substance 99% alcoholic (no, it’s not a good idea to drink it, it will kill you…) to melt the edges of the silicone to the face to blend it. He then blended it with flesh coloured powered paint mixed with water, before bringing in the blood.

Tammy's final look

Tammy’s final look

Volunteer make up model Tammi Nowell says “I’ve got a school photo on Monday, I hope it comes off!”

Mike’s first big goal of seeing his name up in the credits at the cinema was realised with the release of the film The Decent. He says his next big ambition is to work on Star Wars.