Preview: Watersprite International Student Film Festival

Eliza Dickinson 8 March 2017

It has been an exciting few weeks for the student film scene in Cambridge. ADC hosted its Cambridge Shorts evening a few weeks ago, A Festival of New Writing sees television and film professionals descend upon Cambridge in the latter half of this week, and the Watersprite international student film festival is back in Cambridge from 10-12 March.

Student filmmakers are attending from all over the world, with this year’s nominations including short films from South Africa, Myanmar, and Turkey, to name just a few. As Hilary Bevan Jones, the Chairman of Watersprite and the former Chairman of BAFTA, said “Watersprite promotes diversity and the support of young people by assisting in navigating the mysteries surrounding entry routes into the world of film” – this event will be providing a showcase for student filmmakers from all walks of life.

Industry professionals and film and television experts will also be attending, with many giving speeches and sitting on panels over the weekend, alongside the screenings of all nominated films. TCS has compiled our own list of the top 10 free events for you to look out for this weekend.


10 – Dangerous Crossings: Filming the Migration Crisis (Saturday, 2pm)

If you’re interested in the high-octane coverage of current affairs, then it will definitely be worth listening to Jack MacInnes, Marco Orsini, and Ragnhild Ek talking about their experiences recording the horror and scale of the migration crisis.


9 – Screening: Encounters (Sunday, 3.15pm)

All of the nominated films at the festival will be shown at some point over the weekend, loosely grouped into themes. Encounters is one of those themes, and looks set to be a particularly interesting one, as it covers stories ranging from the relationship between and old man and a seagull to the friendship between a banker and a cleaner.


8 – The Power of Visual Effects – with Paul J. Franklin (Saturday, 4pm)

The man who worked on the visual effects for Harry Potter, Interstellar, Inception, and The Dark Knight will be talking about his experiences in the industry and how he got to his position as an Oscar winner. This should be interesting for anyone curious about the work that goes into on-screen wizardry, and will hopefully provide some sneak peeks into your favourite film franchises.


7 – High Fliers: Stunt Filming with Gareth Milne (Sunday, 12pm)

Another exciting speaker should be Gareth Milne, who choreographed and performed many of the stunts in Skyfall, The Bourne Identity, and Indiana Jones. This should be an entertaining chat, whether you aspire to jump boats over bridges, or would rather watch from the comfort of your own home.


6 – Screening: Expression (Saturday, 10.45am)

This is a screening that should really showcase the diversity of student filmmaking. The films on show include a surrealist film from Germany, and G-Face, the story of a rapper from South Africa, 


5 – Fantastic Beasts and How to Film Them (Sunday, 2pm)

Everybody was in awe of the filmmaking in Planet Earth II, and this event could be your chance to ask one of the producers, Elizabeth White, just how they did it. Dr Gabrielle Walker, the BBC4 presenter of shows such as The Secret Life of Ice, will also be there, explaining her path from Cambridge to TV.


4 – Bird’s Eye View: Cinematography Masterclass (Saturday, 10.30am)

This masterclass is run by Illuminatrix, an all-female group of Cinematographers, giving a great example of the diversity on offer in the film industry today. This is not just an event about their experiences as women in the film industry, however, as they will also provide an insight into the art of cinematography.


3 – Screening: Confinement (Sunday, 12.15pm)

From the story of the 1912 expedition to the South Pole to the tale of a man trapped in an attack by a sinister organisation, the films shown in this screening display the ability of student filmmakers to capture the essence of ‘confinement’.


2 – LGBT Representation in Film (Saturday, 12.30pm)

Brian Robinson, the Festival Programmer of BFI Flare, Josh O’Connor, an actor who has starred in God’s Own Country and Florence Foster Jenkins, and Chanya Button, the director of Burn, Burn, Burn, talk about their perspectives on the increased representation of LGBT characters and relationships in film and TV today.


1 – Winner’s Screening, Picturehouse (Sunday, 10.30am)

The winning films in each category will be shown at this screening. While it’s unfortunate that no Cambridge students made it onto the nominations, this should showcase the best of student film from across the world, giving us all something to aspire to!