The extra-terrestrial international Film Festival

(March 30, 2015)

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Swim-in cinema one of a number of quirky venues for film screenings at festival just north of London from 1 - 3 May


Visitors to the St Albans Film Festival, just 20 minutes from central London, will get the chance to take in a movie while they swim or while they drink real ale under the stars, as well as in the luxury of a newly restored turn of the century cinema this year, as the third festival kicks off over the first weekend of May, with a number of Space-related film events that are out of this world.


The historic city's third Film Festival, taking place over the weekend of 1 - 3 May, is screening films in a newly restored art deco cinema which was one of the first cinemas to open in the UK, at a state-of-the-art swimming pool, in the old Georgian Town Hall and in the garden of the oldest pub in the country, as part of a programme of film-related events throughout the City, director Leoni Kibbey has announced.


Since the first event in 2013, the St Albans Film Festival has earned its place alongside the bigger international film festivals, gaining credibility by attracting over 1,000 entries from filmmakers from 40 countries into its short film competition, and also securing Christiane Kubrick, widow of film directing legend Stanley Kubrick, who lived and worked in the area, as its Patron.


The Festival is holding its grand launch event and closing awards ceremony at the recently restored Odyssey cinema, which first opened in 1908, and has taken Space as its theme this year, coinciding with the centenary of Einstein's general theory of relativity (gravity), and also the current general release of The Theory of Everything; the Oscar-winning movie about the St Albans educated famous scientist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking.


The team will also be managing a central ‘hub' based at the St Albans Town Hall, a Grade ll listed Georgian building which is to be transformed into an exceptional new museum and art gallery in 2017, having received first phase funding from the HLF.  This historic building will hold the official screenings of the finalists in the short film competition, and run a selected number of events about filmmaking.


All other events at the festival will be organised by local partners in addition to the Odyssey, including Westminster Lodge leisure centre which is once again holding its swim-in cinema, following the huge popularity of last year's event, on Saturday 2nd May.
The leisure centre is again installing state-of-the-art equipment to screen a film for swimmers: Monsters vs Aliens is being shown in the afternoon for children and Alien Resurrection in the evening for adults. Last year's swim-in cinema sold out within days of the tickets going on sale, and with inflatable loungers to sit on and a drink included, the same demand for tickets is predicted again this year.

The oldest pub in the country, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, also has plans for an alfresco pop-up cinema and barbecue, showing popular space themed feature films on the Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th evenings preceding the festival. 

Leoni Kibbey, festival director, says: "I am so excited about this year's theme - and have been blown away by how filmmakers have engaged with and interpreted it!   2015 is a fitting year for this futuristic theme of space, with some amazing new technologies pushing the boundaries of what film can achieve into brave new worlds.  


"In our first three years, we have established a reputation for putting on an innovative and ambitious programme of events and this year we are hoping to take this a giant leap forward with city residents and businesses taking more ownership of their festival by putting on more of their own events and initiatives to celebrate film."


Tickets go on sale next week, and further details about the festival can be found on the website


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