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
    Ben Pitt
    Journalist, video producer, photographer, musician
  • Maciek Platek
    Maciek Platek
    Food and interior photographer
  • Christian Payne
    Christian Payne
    Photojournalist and creative technologist
  • Melina La Firenze
    Melina La Firenze
    Artist
  • Jojo Debrazza
    Jojo Debrazza
    Writer
  • Richard Slade
    Richard Slade
    Graphic and web designer
Ben Pitt
Journalist, video producer, photographer, musician

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.

Maciek Platek
Food and interior photographer

Maciek Platek is creating a name for himself in the local area as young and upcoming food and interior photographer. He has several large commissions with well established companies including Wyboston Lakes and La Maison Chic successfully promoting their businesses through his photography. His passion is not only for food and interior photography, but also for architecture, examples of which can be seen in his portfolio.

Maciek is actively seeking new commissions and will be more than happy to discuss any photographic requirements.

Christian Payne
Photojournalist and creative technologist

Christian Payne specialise in creative technology and communications. Working with multimedia creation, social media documenting and amplification. He also consults. Working with large and small businesses, news agencies, charities, NGO’s and the arts and corporate sector.

He likes to travel light and share stories and interactions in realtime and blogs as @Documentally and occasionally writes about technology for The Guardian.

Some of the workshops he delivers focus on documenting and sharing stories with networked devices. From getting to grips with Twitter to Mobile Video Production.

Melina La Firenze
Artist

Melina La Firenze is an artist living and working in St Neots. Born in Italy and brought up in London. She is self-taught and has been a painter all her life. She has been making jewellery since 2000. Her paintings have been exhibited in London and Barcelona and are now available as prints.

Her work is inspired by nature and the forms found in nature. The use of colour echoes a Mediterranean vibrancy and warmth such as in the deep blue skies and earthy tones. This passion for combining colours and textures is carried forth into the jewellery, hand-selecting semi-precious and precious stones and metals.

Jojo Debrazza
Writer

Jojo Debrazza is a writer of young adult and children’s fiction. The Charm is her debut YA novella. Jojo has a vivid imagination and likes to make up stories. Her friends call it lying but she calls it writing. She lives mainly in a dream world with her partner and a house full of small furry animals. It’s a carefree happy place where everything is bright and fluffy. Jojo’s other passion is football (soccer). As well as playing and helping to run a club she works as a football development officer in Cambridgeshire, England.

Richard Slade
Graphic and web designer

Richard Slade has over 20 years experience in the design industry working in the public, private and charity sectors with some of the top names in design.

He produces highly creative work for brands and organisations across the UK and his work covers a wide range of disciplines, including web, print and corporate identity. As well as extending his skills in to both marketing and project management, Richard is also a highly capable photographer and illustrator.

A huge advocate of design and creativity Richard formed Neotists in 2013 as a way to promote local freelance talent and community engagement. How he finds time to also row nationally with St Neots Rowing Club we don’t know.