Film-Soc's Student Film Festival makes its debut

Film editor Steven Ross gives a rundown of the film festival hosted by Film-Soc

Steven Ross
18th March 2020
Film reel, Image: Unsplash
Newcastle University Film Society hosted a national student film festival from 13th-15th March, with work being submitted from universities across the country. Drama, comedy, arthouse, music, and documentary films were submitted, with 24 being selected by a panel to be shown at the festival.

The opening ceremony involved a speech by Film-Soc President, Patrick Harland who talked about the importance of student filmmaking and his excitement at establishing the festival. This was followed by an opportunity for filmmakers and enthusiasts to network in Luther’s Bar. On Saturday, all of the films that had been selected were screened in the Student’s Union. Some students who had been involved in making a film spoke about their work and the creative process involved in filmmaking. This provided an opportunity for the audience to gain a deeper understanding of the films they watched.  

This was the first film festival at Newcastle University established by Film-Soc. Image: Unsplash

Devon Young, former Film-Soc President also hosted a radio show to speak to some of the filmmakers including Matteo Magazzino, Holly Eysselinck and Kelly Wong. They talked about the areas they would like to work in as professional filmmaker and offered advice to other students who wanted to take the first steps in making their own films.

Devon hosted another radio show on Sunday morning with other committee members. They discussed their favourite films from the festival, the development of student filmmaking, and reviewed the romantic drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

We were lucky to have very similar creative tastes

Holly Eysselinck , Director

The festival closed on Sunday with an awards ceremony. The Cyril Offense, a film about accusations of child abuse by the MP Cyril Smith, took best picture, whilst 36 Hours won the people’s choice award. This was a meta-film project led by Alex Battersby about the process of making a short film in 36 hours. Other highlights included Skint, a drama about a debt collector who falls on hard times and Film-Soc’s own BOOM BAP BEATS CASSETTE TAPE [DIRTY] - or – Postmodernism.mp4 directed by Holly Eysselinck and Miles Cracknell. Holly said, “The whole process felt quite organic. We were lucky to have very similar creative tastes, it meant that we could go off and work on the film and when we showed each other it was always seen as an enhancement.”

It went far better than we could have expected

Patrick Harland, Film-Soc President

This was the first festival of its kind led by Film Society and there are hopes that in future years it will continue and grow as more students hear about the event and submit their films. The festival saw a great variety of films from across genres, providing an opportunity for every filmmaker to experience something unique. Patrick said of the festival, “It went far better than we could have expected. With how well it went this year I can only imagine how much better the festival could be in the following years.”

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