Freshers Guide… Introducing film in Cambridge

Shane Murray 1 October 2009

With all that there is to do in college involving sport, and drinking, and the inevitable congruence of the two (that’s without mentioning your degree), most students could be forgiven for forgetting what their normal lives outside the Cambridge bubble involved. Here at TCS Film, we’d like to take a moment to remind you of the joy that is cinema – relaxing for two hours at a stretch is something most people forget how to do – and give you a quick introduction on all things cinematic in Cambridge.

Cinemas themselves in Cambridge are actually pretty good for what is a relatively small town. There are two commercial cinemas, Vue in the Grafton Centre, and a fantastic arthouse cinema, the Picturehouse (next to Wetherspoon’s), where you can go along and look intellectual by watching showings of old French films as well the latest in indie film. Both cinemas have student offers and the Picturehouse are offering one year’s free membership, a free ticket, and a free bottle of Stella to any fresher who signs up for membership before November 27th.

In addition, a fair few colleges have film societies of their own, the most notable of which is St John’s Film Society, showing a mix of films from the last few years with the occasional classic thrown in. If simply watching films isn’t enough for you, then you can also get involved with either of the University’s two film-making societies: Soc Doc Soc and Cinecam.

Soc Doc Soc is Cambridge’s youngest film society, established in 2006 by a core of documentary enthusiasts who noticed a gap in the University’s filmmaking and appreciation scene. The society’s focus is documentary films which raise social issues, which has spanned war reporting to maverick environmental activism to teenage first romance. Screenings and discussions with directors and producers proved popular, as the broadness of interests in Soc Doc Soc has attracted many people in Cambridge to join the society.

Soc Doc Soc is for those wishing to develop their film-making skills and to find potential collaborators for their projects, and also appealing to the many among us who, after a hard day in the library, just want to watch moving and challenging documentaries. If you would like to get involved see www.srcf.ucam.org/cusocdocsoc for latest news and events.

Cinecam is a rarity amongst Cambridge societies; its membership is not exclusive to the University but open to Anglia Ruskin University students and Cambridge residents alike. Perhaps then it comes as no surprise that, it is also the largest student-run film-making society in Cambridge.

There is only one requirement to join: you must really like filmmaking. This doesn’t mean you need to have to have a string of award-winning shorts and extended technical knowledge under your belt (but if you do, it’s not a disadvantage either); you just have to be curious about film. Curious enough to want to pick up a camera, aim and shoot. The whole point of the society is to allow everyone and anyone with an interest in making films to do so. The society helps to realise people’s projects by producing films as a society and doles out its contacts, advice and equipment for members pursuing independent projects.

And if all this isn’t enough for the hungry filmmaker in you then there’s the pièce de resistance, the event to showcase the crème de la crème of film-making and acting talent in Cambridge: the Cinecam film festival.  If you would like to know more, find them at the freshers’ fair or take a quick look at their website.

Last, but certainly not least, if you’re really interested in film or if you just like insulting (or sometimes praising) people you don’t know, please contact us through this website to write for TCS and receive the perks – namely getting free cinema tickets (if you’re lucky) in exchange for writing reviews.

Shane Murray