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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!

Lauren 🙂

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 🙂

For a good cause!

I promised to bring you guys updates on the goings on at St Albans Film Festival HQ and I’m here to deliver! As if she wasn’t busy enough putting together the amazing festival programme, Leoni our festival director is also going to be running the London Marathon this year for the charity Shelter! Of course we’re going to be cheering her on but she’d love your support too so read the article below to see how you can help out and what your support means for the festival! 

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‘Festival Director runs for Shelter

…and not just from the relentless weather we’ve had this term. While we might all have been grateful recently to run for the shelter of our own homes, there are thousands of homeless people around the UK – and even here in ‘comfortable’ St Albans – who simply don’t have that option.

That’s where housing and homeless charity Shelter comes in. People become homeless for all sorts of reasons and sometimes even those with a home need help. Shelter reminds us that home isn’t just a roof over your head. It’s a place that provides security, privacy, and links to a community and support. Shelter is not going to stop its tireless work until everybody in the UK has access to this.

Our own Festival Director, Leoni Kibbey, won’t stop either! She is raising money for Shelter by running this year’s London Marathon on Sunday 13th April. In spite of the fact that this is her first marathon, she’s aiming to complete it in under four hours. And, incredibly, it’s all taking place just a few weeks before the second annual St Albans Film Festival, of which Leoni is the director, driving force, instigator and brains. As you might imagine, this has been keeping her pretty busy, which is why she needs your support! 

All next week Leoni will be wearing her Shelter running top around the city as she is dashing around putting plans in place for the next film festival, so if you see her, please do make a donation if you can. She’ll have a bucket with her, or you can give online via the Just Giving website: https://www.justgiving.com/Leoni-Kibbey

As a thank you for your support Leoni is promising to provide some free events at the Festival – including a fantastic demonstration from the RAF Falcons – Red Arrows Parachute Display Team who will be dropping into Verulamium Park on Sunday 4th May. 

Through her work in the film industry and as St Albans Film Festival Director Leoni will be starting at the Celebrity Start at the marathon on 13th April so look out for her on the telly-box as she runs 26.2 miles for SHELTER!’

 

The 2014 programme is here!

Hi, I’m Lauren, I’m about to be a University of Hertfordshire Event Management graduate, which is equal parts terrifying and exciting.  I’m ecstatic to announce that I am this year’s official St Albans Film Festival blogger. Kate did a great job last year and I promise to keep you informed of all the activities going on around the festival as well as all the busy goings-on at festival HQ this year! With just ONE MONTH left till the festival weekend is upon us lets take a look what’s in store. Drum roll, please..

The festival will kick off with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on Thursday evening. Is there a better way to start our 2nd annual Film Festival than with Alfred Hitchcock?

On Friday there are two all day workshops to choose between, the first is ‘Pitching & Developing Ideas’ with Sion Hughes from Rights TV. Last year this workshop was a complete sell out and this year is expected to be no different, so make sure you secure you place early if you want to attend!

Our second all day workshop is ‘The Art of Writing Screenplays’ with Robin Mukherjee. At the end of the day, certain screenplays will be performed by actors, so this workshop could be your chance to see your worked performed live! Your ticket cost covers a signed copy of Robin’s book and a free ticket to the evening ‘Birds, Books & Gin’ event at Waterstones, and yes not only do you get to see scripts performed live it also includes free Two Birds Gin and cake!

If an all-day commitment isn’t possible for you, there are plenty of other shorter events taking place over the weekend, some especially for families. The King & The Mockingbird screening on Saturday is one of our feature films; it’s an adaptation of one of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales and is quite frankly a masterpiece of French animation! You will not want to miss it and neither will your little ones.

If your hoping to entertain kids a little bit older on Saturday we also have a one hour Harry Potter ‘Costume Characterisation’ workshop for 7-12 year olds. A team from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will reveal how there is no costume without a character. They’re even planning to bring along the original mood boards and a selection of costumes from the Harry Potter film series.

We have a number of feature films spread out over the festival weekend. One of our feature films ‘Ricky’ is being screened on Friday, it’s a French language love story which is more than capable of brightening anyone’s day and finishes just in time for the school run!

Lars Von Triers ‘Nymphomaniac’ is probably one of the most controversial films on the festival circuit this year hence why it’s one of our feature films and both volumes are going to be screened on Friday. Leave the kids at home, but bring a friend because you’ll definitely want someone to discuss it with on the way home!

Let’s just admit it, we all secretly want to know what it’s like to be in a band. The Paddy Lincoln Gang, another of our feature films, gives you access to everything: the sex, drugs and the rock’n’roll. On Saturday you’ll have a chance to be a part of the UK Premier Cast & Crew Screening a month before its release date! Plus, you’ll get an exclusive performance from the band who will play live following the film & Q&A.  If that’s not value for money, what is?

Our closing feature film, screened on Sunday, is Muse of Fire follows two actors, Giles Terera and Dan Poole who directed and produced the film, that aims to demystify and illuminate Shakespeare’s work for everyone. There is a host of celebrities involved including Dame Judi Dench, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellan, Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston!

We have a whole host of panel events and workshops running throughout the festival, including ‘Alive’ at the Natural History Museum on Saturday with Director Dan Smith & Producer Mike Davis, who have just created an incredible 3D programme for Sky starring Sir David Attenborough. They even have some clips of the very first prehistoric bird!

There is also  ‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Ghibli’ also on Saturday, where you’ll get a chance to see rarely seen short Studio Ghibli films & listen to experts Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc who have written books on Studio Ghibli and Anime followed by a 1 hour Q&A.

We also have a panel discussion on Women in Film & Media and ‘The Bechdel Test’ on Friday evening. Where you can join a panel of filmmakers, listen to the debate and share your views on the future of women in the film industry. Even though it’s all about the girls, there is definitely a place for boys here too!

It’s great that the festival can appeal to everyone, but it also has significance for those future filmmakers out there. Last years short film programme was an undeniable success and this years looks set to beat it! We’ve had entries from 500 filmmakers from 35 countries all around the world. Not only will our shortlisted films be screened during the festival a lot of the film talent or directors will also be at the festival so you’ll have a chance to meet the stars of tomorrow and to pick their brains.

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The shortlisted films and their categories are:

MAIN SHORT FILM

The programme of Main Shorts is in Two Parts: Beauty & Futility.

PART 1. BEAUTY

Twitcher Dir. Jane Gull

Dotty Dir. Ben Edwards

Dust & Waltz Dir. Darren Bransford

Valentine Dir. Kate Herron

All of Time Dir. Ben Roper

Balcony Dir. Lendita Zeqiraj

Woodwoo Dir Jonathan Blagrove

Forget Me Not Dir. Michael Beddoes

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Looking for England Dir. Matt Jamie

Dekaos Dir. Olly Ginelli

The Daisy Chain Dir. Ken Williams

PART 2. FUTILITY

Tokko Shigan (Suicide Volunteers) Dir.Kenshow Onodera

Are you Albert? Dir. Dan Hodgson

Man In Fear Dir. Will Jewell

Gift From God Dir. Merlin Merton

Traces Dir. Anthony Sutcliffe

Rab Da Vaasta Dir. Chakravarty Devulapalli

The Baron Dir. Gareth Tunley

The Futility of War Dir. Sam Barron

 

OVER 18’s SHORTS

Monomania Dir. Ben Vokes

Cold Turkey Dir. Thor Arnarsson

Satans Parish Dir. Mathew Radway

Three’s a Crowd Dir. Trevor Hardy

Insoma Dir. Dan Poole

Battlecock Dir. Ben Mallaby

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Salient Dir. Oliver Guy-Watkins

Makeover Dir.Mike Tack

Night of the Loving Dead Dir. Anna Humphries

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SHORT DOCUMENTARIES

Sun Dir. Jesse D Lawrence

Grandpa & Me Dir. Johan Palmgren

Li Wei: Weightless Dir. George Sinfield

Ô Divin Bovin (Oh Holy Cow) Dir. Alexandre Rufin

A Game of Numbers Dir. Kris Hoffman

Invisible People Dir. Michelle Becker

The Lake Dir. Geoff Tompkinson

From Care to Where Dir. Geoff Searle

Secret Garden Dir. Michelle Becker

 

ANIMATION SHORTS

Mothers Song Dir. Linda McCarthy

Zweibettzimmer (Double Occupancy) Dir. Fabian Giessler

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Angels & Ghosts Dir. Sara Kenney

Technical Hitch Dir. Joe Blaxland

Espero (Hope) Dir. Simone Giampaolo

Me, My Wife & Our Cow Dir. Azadeh Moezzi

Mum Can You Wipe My Bum Dir. Vicky Arlidge

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            Upstairs Dir. Matthias Hoegg

Another Birth Dir. Siamak Takalloo

Little Boxes Dir. Jon Anderson

Isaac & Quincy Dir. Tea & Cheese

 

MUSIC VIDEOS

Dear Someone Dir. Tetsuo Kamata

Masheenee Alcketiara Dir. Ema Shah

The Man Who Was Forever Haunted By His Head Dir. Claudio Sichel

Come Back to Me Now Dir. Adam Heath

Vertigo Dir. Rita Tarin

Out of My Head Dir. Richard Allen

Peace & Quiet Dir. Daniel Bahrami-Jenkins

Just Another Day Dir. Ryan Goff

River Dee Dir. Caroline Oliver

Sweetlove Butterfly Dir. Daniel Gentely

Guilty Secrets Dir. Vicky Arlidge

Every Time I See You I Go Wild Dir Paul D.

That’s St Albans Dir. Michael Dias

Big In L.A. Dir. Norman Cambridge

Shmelvis Style Dir. Michael Dias

 

STUDENT SHORTS

Dramas

Z Dir. Spyros Kopanitsos

Timothy Dir. Marc Martinez Jordan

Keepsake Dir. Callum Oakaby Wright

Uoldisnei Dir. Andrea Della Monica

Miles to Go Dir. Emily Coupland

Flip Dir. Rupert Rixon

Girl in Red Dir. Aaron Dunleavy

 

Docs

An Undertaking

Perseverance Beyond Doubt Dir. Jonathan Brough

To The New Ukraine Dir. Chris Cunningham

 

Animations

How Winnie Got Her False Teeth Dir. Nat Urwin

Just Like You Dir. Isabel Garrett

Cells Happen Dir. Shelley Nichols

Orpheus Dir. Jennifer Haugen

Wombmates Dir. J D Dean

Manhood Dir. John Goodhead

Aloha Oi Dir. Remus Buznea

Karolina Dir. Naomi Cant

 

The entire festival is filled to the brim with exciting interesting content that brings the film industry to everyone, whether you’re a child, a film student or just an avid filmgoer. Whatever event you choose to attend, you will not be disappointed!

 

To book tickets find us on Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/st-albans-film-festival-6181420157

And for any other info check out the website: http://www.stalbansfilmfestival.com

Hope to see you all at the festival!

 

And leave us a comment to let us know what your most excited about! Hearing you guys get excited about the festival makes our day.

 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.

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.

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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