St Albans' first film festival receives 300 entrants from 30 countries

(January 17, 2013)

ff leoni       ff vinyl stalbansff poster                 


Global spotlight to focus on St Albans as City's first film festival receives 300 entrants from 30 countries


VINYL feature film to open the festival, a week ahead of its official UK cinema release


Over 300 films made by filmmakers from 30 countries have been entered into the St Albans Film Festival competition, making the City’s first film festival, to be held 8th –10th March, a truly international event.


The closing date for competition entries was Monday and filmmakers from as far as Australia , Singapore , Greece & USA have submitted their work along with entries from around the UK.


St Albans Film Festival director Leoni Kibbey was overwhelmed not only by the sheer number of films she has received, but also by the quality. “There are 6 categories of film in the short film competition element of the festival and we have received some really great films in every category,” says Leoni.


“I have been surprised and delighted by the high quality of filmmaking. I had tears streaming down my face watching some of the documentaries, but some of the other films have been incredibly funny, the children’s films wonderfully creative, and other films gripping. There is a lot of talent out there and I can’t wait to share these films with visitors to the festival in March.”


The festival is also pleased to announce that the feature film Vinyl will open the Festival on March 8th. Directed by Sara Sugarman, and starring Phil Daniels, Keith Allen, Perry Benson and up and coming young actor Jamie Blackley, Vinyl will be shown in St Albans a week ahead of its official UK-wide cinema release date.


"I am thrilled that Vinyl will open our festival," says Leoni. "Sara Sugarman is a great director and it is fitting that our opening feature film is directed by a woman as it will be screened on March 8th, which is International Woman's Day. I am really delighted to say that Sara will be here at the festival along with some of the stars of this very funny and touching feel-good film."


St Albans first film festival will celebrate the city's rich filmmaking heritage. Arthur Melbourne-Cooper - the pioneer of moving pictures - was born in the City, and the much celebrated film director Stanley Kubrick came to settle in the area, where he created some of his most famous work. Kubrick's manor was used as a nerve centre for his film productions. The Shining was finished here, and Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut were started and completed here.

St Albans is also a stone's throw from some of the most prestigious film studios in the world (see notes to editors), and the organisers of the festival are optimistic that this annual event will put St Albans firmly on the movie map.


The festival is being run by St Albans based actress and casting director Leoni Kibbey, with a festival team led by local photographer and filmmaker Donato Cinicolo, with support from Matt Bigg, owner of local design agency The Collective, and Sophie Banks and Angie Cronin, from Loudbird PR.


The festival will also harness the enthusiasm of many local volunteers, or Festival Makers, who will be helping to make this first festival a great success. Anyone interested in getting involved should come to the volunteer open day in St Albans on Sunday 27th January to meet the team and find out how they can help and become Festival Makers! Check out the website for information on where that open day will be ( Festival Makers will be wearing special BOWLER HATS giving a nod to the great Kubrick who lived in the area.


The full Film Festival programme will be announced soon, but as well as the short-film competition, it will feature events, talks and some amazing workshops, including stop-frame animation workshops. The festival will feature films for everyone: for children, teens, families, adults, and covering all tastes.


Leoni says: "The Oscars will have just happened, but St Albans will carry that Oscars excitement on through this very special weekend. The City will be a fun place to be with the thrill of movie-making all around the City centre, and a great festival vibe too. Children will be encouraged to get dressed up in film-themed fancy dress, there will be film Pub Quizes, interactive events where people will have a chance to get on camera or try things out behind the scenes, and celebrities from the world of film, art and music milling around the town."



Notes to editors

Media contacts:

Leoni Kibbey, Festival Director, Tel: 07583 089609 , Email: [email protected]

Sophie Banks / Angie Cronin, Loudbird PR, Tel: 07815 147073,

[email protected]




The six categories in the short film competition are:


About Leoni Kibbey:

Leoni has been resident in St Albans for seven years, and has worked in the media industry all her working life as an actress and casting director. She has produced her own films and has previously organised festivals. Leoni also teaches actors.

Leoni was awarded Best Supporting Actress at the 2Days Laughter Film Festival 2009 for the short film‘Chasing' and was nominated for Best Actress at the International Filmmaker Festival 2009 for her role in indie feature ‘Where Seagulls Cry A Song'. Leoni has cast Feature films, shorts and TV, she has recently worked on The Sweeney (Starring Ray Winstone & Plan B) & Streetdance 2 3D both for Vertigo Films and the feature length Shakespeare Documentary ‘Muse of Fire' (starring Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Baz Lurhman, Jeremy Irons, and many more).


About Donato Cinicolo:

Donato was introduced to the moving image by John Cox whilst at Watford School of Art, using 8mm, Super-8 and 16mm formats. Following a period in advertising, he returned to Watford to teach film-making. Eventually, in 1999, after the changeover to digital equipment, he began making short films and music videos in earnest, as writer/director/cinematographer. He is especially keen on the promotion of the craft to young film-makers and creative talent.


About St Albans

St Albans is a market town in Hertfordshire, about 22 miles from London and only 20 minutes on the train to St Pancras.

St Albans has a rich filmmaking history: Arthur Melbourne-Cooper who, in 1895, developed the first British 35mmmoving picture camera and was a pioneer in making moving pictures, was born in the City.

The much celebrated Stanley Kubrick also came to settle in the area and create some of his most famous work. St Albans is in close proximity to some of the best and busiest film studios in the world - Leavesden, Pinewood and Elstree.

The city's Roman aesthetic has been used as a backdrop to many films: St Albans Cathedral was a film location in Sean Connery's 1995 film First Knight, and in Johnny Englishstarring Rowan Atkinson.

The 2001 film Birthday Girlstarring Nicole Kidmanwas also partly filmed in St Albans .

More recently, several scenes from the film Incendiary, starring Williams, Ewan and Matthew Macfadyen, were filmed in St Albans, and Tom Cruise has recently filmed his new movie with Emily Blunt, All You Need is Kill, in the area.

"The best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all." STANLEY KUBRICK


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