Category Archives: Videos

St Albans Film Festival 2013 wins Cultural Innovation Award

24th October was an exciting day for St Albans Film Festival. We attended the St Albans City and District Mayor’s Pride Awards 2013, having been nominated for the Cultural Innovation Award, and being whittled down to one of three finalists, alongside: St Albans Girls School – STAGs in Colours and St Albans International Organ Festival.


It was a fantastic evening, with nine different awards being presented in total. The Cultural Innovation Award was the second award to be called and each finalist’s nomination video was played on a large screen onstage to introduce each nomination and why it had been put forward for its category.

St Albans Film Festival had received two nominations, from Imogen de la Bere and Sophie Banks. The video message played was Sophie Banks’ nomination and Festival Director Leoni Kibbey’s reaction to the news.

All finalists were invited to the stage before the golden envelope was opened and the winner announced: we got it!

Sincere congratulations to all those nominated for this category, and our two fellow shortlisted finalists. Thank you also to St Albans Mayor; Councillor Annie Brewster JP, and the judges of the St Albans City and District Mayor’s Pride Awards.


Congratulations Leoni, on your award-winning festival! We’re looking forward to next year’s events!

Nomination details in the programme

Nomination details in the programme


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


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

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

Judges special mention: PHONE SEX GRANDMA – Dir. Jack Truman

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)


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


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

  • 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


  • VACUUM ATTRACTION – Dir. Morgan Miller
  • 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


  • 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


  • THE ZEN HUSSIES “ANGELINA TOUT” – Dir. Sarah Mallabar
  • FELDSPAR – “THE FLAT & PAPER SKY” – Dir. Craig Heathcote
  • DARIA KULESH “TOM TOM” – Prod. Daria Kulesh
  • COLUMBIA “ON THE RUN” – Dir Chris Dundon.
  • LOUISE PETIT BAND “DEMONS” – Dir. Mark Wooldridge
  • 8:58 “ACROSS THE UNIVERSE” – Dir. Chunky Nelson
  • ZERO T “ROXY MUSIC” – Dir. Andrew Clunie
  • MAKSIM – THE GODFATHER – Dir. Ben Roper


  • 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.


  • 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)


  • 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.


  • 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…

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 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.

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.

Interview with competition Finalist Adam Awni

Following the music video screenings, I interviewed Adam Awni who had had two of his music videos shortlisted in this category of the competition. He is also attending the festival to promote his new short film; Bunny, which currently has an online treasure hunt across the Internet to unlock content, with only 24 days remaining.

He explained that he had entered the competition after hearing about the film festival from a friend. He said: “I work in London, so St Albans is quite nearby. I’d heard it was the first year of running and it’s really good”

As well as being lucky enough to have two entries shortlisted Adam is using the opportunity to publicise his new film project, “I’ve been using the opportunity to flyer and network with other film makers to promote Bunny” he says, and points out that even the t-shirt he is wearing displays artwork from the film and its social media promotion.

Bunny flyer

Bunny flyer

Bunny is a 20 minute thriller/horror that took four months to write. Adam calls it ‘this generation’s version of Misery’. I asked if it has any ankle-crushing moments like Misery, and he assures me there is at least one shocking moment that will stick in your head.

“There are some cool, gore moments. Our prosthetics  artist has worked on all of the episodes of Game of Thrones  and Prometheus, but Bunny is not all about the effects. I believe in a good film, the story should carry it, which is why it took so long to write, because I wanted a story that hadn’t been seen,” Adam said.

From our chat, the resounding message was that Adam’s big aim was to reach a fresh, new concept  for a feature film that would  make people afraid. As a blogger and social networking enthusiast, most interesting to me however, was the way Adam was utilising social media and re-examining the way we all use the Internet in our lives – on two levels.

Firstly, his 50-day media promotion, funded by Kick-Starter  (there is only 24 days left, so if you want to get involved, don’t wait around), uses social media.

It comprises of an online treasure hunt using media platforms such as YouTube, SoundCloud and Twitter to reveal hidden messages, which can be used as passwords and clues to unlock content. Adam says everything that is unlockable is content of the film, and for him the challenge was to not only use social media for the treasure  hunt, but to utilise the function of said media (music on SoundCloud, videos on YouTube, etc).

The second level of utilising the popularity of social media is to play on the rising popularity of dating websites: “Bunny uses a dating site in its plot to make us scared of something that’s real in life. The best, scariest movies play on a real thing that we can experience in our lives and social lives, and that’s what makes it scare us. The characters in Bunny meet through a dating website,  which has become more socially acceptable than in the times when Hard Candy was released.”

“We have even made this website which has ‘malfunctioned’ to make the private chat section of our characters public, so you are seeing the early relationship develop, which has involved extra  script,” he says.

My final 2 minute quick-fire round-up of the film (I had to finish up the interview in time for the next event)  was that:
– The final film is a bit secretive, there will be no online download as Adam wants it to be in cinemas – it is going to be screened in two cinemas in London, one in Birmingham, with some interest in Manchester (the full film is 50% funded already through crowd-funding).
– Bunny is a character (but I’m not allowed to know anymore)
– The film includes a horrific female villain, the definition of a femme fatal.
For more information please visit

Adam went on to win the award for Best Music Video.

Avant Garde To Music Video with Ben Corbett

Next location on the list was St Albans School, which was about a 10 minute walk from St Peters School where I was at.

Rushing to find my way

Rushing to find my way

I have a new name for myself for the weekend: 15 minute late Kate.

I seem to be running a little behind for everything, but I guess that’s bound to happen when you are trying to get round as much as I am.

I joined Ben Corbett’s guide to the evolution of film long enough to watch four of his screenings, and each presented a different time in film history and different genres; from abstract, to gothic to surrealist.

Ben’s selection of screenings was powerfully diverse; I watched ‘Mothlight’ and ‘Eye Myth’ by Stan Brakhage, which had to be flown over from America especially for the viewing at St Albans film Festival. It could, however, be argued that these do not classify as a ‘film’ at all, as they are silent movies consisting of editing to a reel of film (Mothlight is a series of dried-out dead moths that have been stuck to the film roll).

Tim Burton's Vincent

Tim Burton’s Vincent

Next I watched ‘Vincent’, the film credited as launching Tim Burton’s career. This dark animation, narrated by Vincent Price is typical of Burton’s work now, which is of course for, and endorsed by, Disney. But at the time of the movie’s creation, working as a Disney animator (Ben Corbett referred to him as ‘getting sick of drawing bunnies and happy mice all day’) and cheekily using all the resources he had at Disney to create the movie, it led to them having to let him go. Ironically he now does some of the most well recognised animations in the world for Disney and Ben had started the movie with the question ‘Can you guess who made this film?”. I’m pretty sure the whole room knew in the first 2 seconds.

My final viewing of this seminar was ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’ , a surrealist film from the 1940s. Now, I admit I had no idea what on earth was happening in the entire 11 minute sequence, but I understood, at least, why we were shown it. The surrealist genre, the camera techniques (the early days of special effects) and gaudy soundtrack made it visually pleasing, audibly horrific and obvious that it changed the history of film making.


Vinyl Review

The Opening Film of the Festival

Vinyl Premiere

This was the first screening of the festival weekend. My full review of this will be live on Monday, but as a teaser: familiar faces, new faces, strong laughs, repetitive soundtrack (I literally hated the main song by the end of the movie), emotional moments, developed – and sometimes under-developed – relationships, smiles, triumph, true story.