St Neots Film Festival
The St Neots Film Festival was the idea of Neotist Melina Lafirenze who runs the film club in St Neots. Melina approached us about collaborating on the very first festival, set for 2016 and we were delighted to get involved.
Melina worked with various local schools, offering the students the chance to enter a short film in to the children or teenage categories. Entries for the fiction and documentary categories also poured in as the deadline drew near.
Initially we built the festival website which was the main route for submissions from local filmmakers, directors and creatives. Members then worked on marketing and communications to encourage entries and promote the event. Social media accounts were created and used to build a buzz about the festival. The entries were shortlisted, collated, and edited together ready for the 42 films to be shown over two nights at Cineworld in St Neots.
St Neots Film Festival
Short movies made by adults, were screened on Monday 7 November and documentaries and films by children and teenagers were shown to a full house on Thursday 10 November 2016.
Winners were announced after each category:
- Best film by an adult – The Birch by Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton
- Best film by a child – Italy by Amber Moore
- Best film by a teenager – The Door by Olivia Jordan
- Best documentary – Great Fen Spitfire by Martyn Moore
All four winning films were shown again on Friday 11 November at Love’s Farm House and filmmakers took part in a post festival discussion giving an insight into their inspirations and filmmaking techniques.
Reaction to the festival
I thought the St Neots Film Festival was a great idea. It brought together filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds. I have only been filmmaking since retiring and was so pleased to see films made by young people. This will encourage young people to continue in this fascinating activity which, apart from the technical skills, involves detailed observation, sound, music and endless patience.
Daphne Brown, wildlife filmmaker from St Neots
When we found out we’d won it was a huge surprise! We were really proud to pick up the best film award, especially considering the high standard of the other entries in the adult’s category. I was unaware that there was a filmmaking community in the area until I found out about the festival. It’s opened my eyes to what’s going on locally and the fantastic talent we have in St Neots.
Ben Franklin, filmmaker from Huntingdon
It was a real honour to have four of my films selected for the festival, even more so when I got to see the standard of the other films that were screened. I really enjoyed meeting with the other filmmakers and festival attendees. It felt great to know that there are so many talented people working in and around St Neots. I’m looking forward to next year already.
Adrian Storey, filmmaker from Huntingdon
The festival was a great success. I was amazed by the quality and diversity of entries. Thursday’s event was a full house at Cineworld, and local filmmakers were thrilled to see their films on screen. It was especially nice to see children leave the cinema buzzing and inspired to make films. Many people have commented on what a great festival this was and asked if it will be an annual event. I’m pleased to say that St Neots Film Festival 2017 is already being planned.
Melina Lafirenze, festival organiser
Neotists involved in the project
Ben Pitt freelances for various consumer technology magazines and websites, specialising in photography, video production and music production. A serial dabbler in the creative arts, he’s worked as a wedding and landscape photographer, musician, sound engineer, concert promoter, record label manager, graphic designer, video producer and author. He’s also chair of trustees at Love’s Farm House, a community centre on Love’s Farm, St Neots.