Watersprite International Student Film Festival aims to discover, showcase and nurture emerging young film making talent from around the world and to offer a springboard for the film makers of the future as they start their careers.
Screenings, talks by award winning industry professionals, panels and interactive events are free and open to all. Now in its 10th year, Watersprite 2019 has attracted over 1000 submissions from around 100 countries and, after two intensive rounds of judging, will be screening 26 nominated films at the Festival which runs from 7 – 10 March.
Cambridge Film Festival celebrates film past, present and future, showcases new talent and brings film makers to the city for eight glorious days of screenings and events from 25 October to 1 November.
I met with Kayleigh Barnes, Marketing Co-ordinator at Cambridge Film Trust to find out more about this year’s Festival schedule. Every year (in what sounds to me like a really fabulous job!) the Festival programmers visit major international film festivals – think London, Cannes, Berlin and Venice. Their quest is to discover the best new films and documentaries out there and to bring a varied line up back to Cambridge, giving us a rare chance to see great films that we might otherwise miss.
Kayleigh and I talked about the diverse strands of programming that run alongside the main feature films and documentaries. The Family Film Festival offers daytime film screenings suitable for all ages, with linked children’s arts and crafts activities and a BAFTA workshop while the Short Film programme brings us shorts from around the world. For a film maker, having your work shown in this category is very prestigious indeed; in a lengthy selection process, hundreds of submissions are reviewed by a panel of film industry experts and each film is watched by three reviewers before a final forty films make the cut.
For fans of old movies, there’s a Silence and Sounds classics programme, screening vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment. Experimental film making is showcased in the Microcinema programme while the very popular Camera Catalonia screens a selection of the best Catalan films. Partnerships with the Cambridge African Film Festival and the Korean Cultural Centre enrich the Festival programme with contemporary films from across Africa and Korea.
Cambridge Film Trust, a charity founded to promote film culture and education in the East of England, runs this event under the leadership of Festival Director, Toby Jones. The Festival’s main venue is the Arts Picturehouse Cinema in St Andrew’s Street with screenings also being held at Emmanuel College just opposite and The Light Cinema at Cambridge Leisure Park.
Check out the Festival website where you’ll find the full programme of screenings and events and through which you can book tickets.
The Summer Night Market is back on Friday 18 May for a special two day event, with cinema screenings under the stars and an outdoor big screen showing the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live on Saturday 19 May.
There’s been a market in Cambridge since medieval times and a general market still runs every day in Market Square outside the Guildhall, selling street food, fruit and vegetables, books, jewellery and much more besides. Every Sunday there’s an arts, craft and local produce market showcasing original work from some of the area’s talented artists and craftspeople as well as organic produce grown by the region’s farmers. Around two hundred traders ply their wares in the Market over the course of a week and many of them will have stalls at the Summer Night Market. You’ll also find pop up bars and restaurants alongside street food vendors and local charity stallholders.
Screenings on 18 May will be the animated family film “Sing” at 6.30pm, followed by comedy “Meet the Parents” at 8.30pm. Expect a party atmosphere on 19 May, the Royal wedding day, when the market will be decked out in patriotic bunting. Feel free to bring your own flag! Seating will be provided but these events are popular so the advice is to come early to bag your spot or bring your own portable chair.
Dates for Summer Night Markets and outdoor cinema through the summer are:
Friday 22 June, screening “Moana” then “Dirty Dancing”
Friday 20 July, screening “Paddington” then “Grease”
Friday 17 August, screening “Paddington 2” then “The Greatest Showman”
Dan Ritchie, who manages the Market, tells me, “The Summer Night Markets and outdoor cinema are totally free for visitors and traders. It’s great to see a whole mix of people come together … families, friends, visitors and students, all enjoying a really lovely vibe.”
Following its very successful debut season in 2017, the Star & Mouse “trinket cinema” is back, bringing film screenings underneath the stars at fabulous venues in and around Cambridge at weekends from May through to September. This is a very different experience to the one you’ll get at your local multiplex!
The inspiration for The Star & Mouse Picture Show, owned by Eleanor Lyons and Christian Juschck, came from the way they were already spending time with their friends … evenings of fairy lights, food, fire pits and fancy dress in their garden with their old projector rigged up to screen a movie onto a bed sheet. Eleanor loves to create a magical world, just as her Dad did for her when she was growing up in a caravan while the family built their house. Eleanor and Christian’s creativity is boundless – they are bursting with ideas as they bring us the feeling and the enchantment of those evenings with their friends, just scaled up (and they have a large inflatable screen now!)
The season starts this May Bank Holiday (4-6 May) with a Fantasy and Fairytale Weekend at Manor Farm Bourn. Other venues this year include Madingley Hall, The Doubletree Hilton and The Cambridge American Cemetery. Star & Mouse will be screening a mix of new films and classics that people want to see again and again. Unbelievably, this year it’s the 40th anniversary of “Grease”, so on 29 July you can reconnect with Sandy and Danny at Manor Farm Bourn, which will be set up as a drive in movie theatre. Another highlight will be the River Cam Film Festival (16-19 August) for which Star & Mouse have their own private venue, a little island in The Cam – you get there by punt!
Whatever you book for, make sure you get there early as the film, screened at nightfall, is just part of the evening. There’s always plenty of live entertainment, themed to the film. Catering will be taken care of by popular local food trucks this year and the eco-friendly bar will keep you refreshed. They’re using proper wine glasses, napkins and plates while cups will be made of biodegradable plant based plastics. As darkness falls, park yourself in a deckchair, put on your wireless headphones, relax and enjoy the screening.
Once autumn sets in, Star & Mouse move indoors to the magnificent Saloon Room at Madingley Hall, which they transform into an indoor cinema, custom decorated and lit, with big wing chairs for seating. There’ll be a Halloween film show and in December, they’ll screen Christmas films. Eleanor and Christian really do go to great lengths to create a very special experience. “Last December, we showed “Narnia” in an old barn,” Eleanor tells me. “We transformed it into a magical pine forest and it took us 72 hours! But it was worth it to see the wonder on people’s faces when they walked in.”
So let’s keep our fingers crossed for balmy summer nights! For full details of this season’s programme, to read more of Eleanor and Christian’s story and to book tickets in advance (strongly recommended), just check out the Star & Mouse website.