Category Archives: The lead up

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.

birds hitchcock

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.

st albans fim festival 2014 character

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.



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.


Film Festival Takes Off!

Film Festival Director, Leoni Kibbey, shares with us her thoughts on the Film Festival last year and what she has in store for 2014.

ImageIn early March this year the fledgling St Albans International Film Festival soared onto the calendar of St Albans. Visitors in their thousands flocked from as far as the USA to attend the inaugural event. Greeted by over a hundred smiling volunteers (made up of enthusiastic St Albans city folk & students from University of Hertfordshire) film fans were guided to one of the twenty-two venues across the city, where they could immerse themselves in a multitude of events. These included; feature film premieres, ‘in competition’ short films selected from around four hundred entries (..and sent in from thirty countries around the world!) or to take part in fantastic creative workshops.

Alongside the programme of films and educational workshops was a plethora of culture and entertainment; the Clocktower became an immersive cinema experience, the Culture Cart’s very own Tom- a  posh gentleman on a bike, had people lino printing film themed artwork; local poet Anthony Adler helped our festival go-er explore the inner mind of a film character; live music was performed by a selection of the bands from our music video competition, guests sampled the special ‘Mothers Milk’ concoction served by a seven foot tall Droog at our Clockwork Orange themed ‘Milk Bar’ and there was even a film pub quiz that lasted a marathon 5 hours!

The glamorous closing ceremony hosted by DJ Martin Collins of Magic FM awarded over £3000 worth of prizes and the sponsors; University of Hertfordshire, Blanco, XLN Business Services & Top Talent Acting agency gave out awards to the commendable winners.

It was an astonishing sight to see screenings packed full, working relationships and friendships being forged and most of all to see the community come together to create the solid foundations for a successful annual cultural event. We had spread our wings and successfully flown.

St Albans Film Festival is important for many reasons. Not only does it celebrate local filmmaking talent, but it promotes tourism and boosts local trade. It also educates and inspires the next generation of filmmakers as well.

The festival recently won the St Albans Mayors Pride ‘Cultural Innovation Award,’ which is a huge boost to moral as we gear up for festival number two.

May 1st – 4th 2014 is the date for the Second International St Albans Film Festival and we are delighted to announce that the theme for next year’s festival is BIRDS:  by birds we mean women in film as well as the feathered kind! We will be announcing the programme over the coming months.

If you would like to take the leap and enter the festival, then the deadline for sending in your short film (max 20mins– but the shorter the better) is February 2013. Anyone can enter a short film into the competition and we welcome films of any genre and about any subject. Our categories this year include: Short Films, Music Videos, Animations, Student Films and there is a special category for films made by budding film makers aged between 5 – 15! As we all know, the months fly by, so get creating!

For more information on the upcoming festival or to find out details of how to enter and be a part of our next festival head to

Film Maker Bootcamp – 29th July

In just over a week (from the 29th July) the first of the St Albans Film Festival summer workshops will begin with the 5-day Film Maker Bootcamp. This workshop focuses on making a mini movie in the space of just one week, with films covering genres including Superheroes, Sci-fi Comedy, Western, Drama and even Zombie movies. The week will conclude with a family and friends premiere screening.

filmbootcampThis is the second event of the Post-‘St Albans Film Festival 2013’ calendar, following a rare screening of Colour Me Kubrick in May, which included a brilliant ‘meet the screen writer’ Q&A session. Colour Me Kubrick was not released in the UK as it received no funding from the British Film Institute, and so the DVD for the screening was sent from Czech Republic, making the event all the more exclusive.


Writer Tony Frewin, spent a long time answering the questions of the audience at the Maltings Arts Theatre (St Albans) and claimed the film had ‘written itself’ as it was based on the true story of confidence artist Alan Conway. The aptly named Conway, who impersonated film maker Stanley Kubrick for several years, was played by film legend John Malkovich – who Tony says was his first choice for the part, as he has the range needed to play such a role. Tony says his claim was supported by Malkovich’s work ethic: he was always on time and had the confidence to creatively add his own spin to the role; introducing the many accents his character uses and even cheekily adding a line about himself [John Malkovich] in.

Writer Tony Ferwin

Writer Tony Ferwin

These kinds of events are a great way to hear behind-the-scene seldom told facts and anecdotes. Tony Frewin, who also worked with Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey, recalls Mr Kubrick’s reaction to Alan Conway; saying he jokingly called him an ‘ingrate’ for only watching a bit of one of his films (and not liking it!) and claimed he would get him back by impersonating him in return.

Iris Zaki, director of My Kosher Shifts

Iris Zaki, director of My Kosher Shifts

To show a continued commitment to the St Albans Film Festival competition entrants, the Colour Me Kubrick screening opened with a viewing of the short film; My Kosher Shifts by director Iris Zaki.

We look forward to more events like this over the coming year in the lead up to St Albans Film Festival 2014, and wish all those attending the Film Maker bootcamp this month the best of luck with your debut films!

Re-branding the Blog

A big welcome back to anyone checking back here for news on the 2014 St Albans Film Festival and all that’s going on between now and then! It’s been a while since we’ve posted on the blog, so now we’re bringing you an entirely re-vamped and re-designed web page to make up for that… ta da!


The 2014 festival has been confirmed for a little later in the year than the previous one and will have an extra day of events – be sure to put the 1st – 4th May 2014 in your diaries and keep checking our Upcoming Events page to see what’s happening in the meantime. First up are our summer workshops for kids- created especially for 8 – 16 year olds to learn about film-making. For more info click HERE.



Rounding Up Day 2

Waste Disposal

Never one to rest, I headed to The Maltings after Mike’s Make Up Demo last night and finished up day two with a cheeky beer and the screenings of the final three films of the shortlisted Over 18s category: Waste Disposal, Smile and Saw Misgivings. I have not laughed so hard in a long time as I did at Saw Misgivings. Here is my only blog-friendly photo from the films, a snap shot from Waste Disposal (the film even included one of those plastic severed penises that Mike had spoken of! See Mike’s audience, he is right – they are in demand!)


Back at the shop

This gallery contains 4 photos.

At lunch time I stopped by the festival shop on 33 Market Place to see how the other staff were getting in. Great vibe in there!


Day 2 – Up and at ’em!


Day 2,  another Starbucks breakfast to get me through the day (still leeching off of their wifi). I tried to post my blog about the launch party last night at the event, but found two things out – 1) iPhones are even worse to blog from then iPads! 2) The best signal in Cafe Rouge is the toilets (yes, I did try and start up a new ‘blog from the bog’ series! But alas, the phone wouldn’t allow it! But the night was great, everybody looked fabulous and the wine was delicious. What more is there to say?! Time to see what today brings.