Barnes Film Festival 2017, A Retrospective

The 2017 Barnes Film Festival, sponsored by The European Nature Trust, opened on Friday night with a bang. The much anticipated launch night at the OSO Centre proved to be hugely successful with thought-provoking speeches from Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith and Festival Director Sam Cullis and live music from rising star, Willow Robinson. Guests were also warmly welcomed with delicious canapés and drinks courtesy of &Feast. The highlight of the night was the engaging Q&A with award winning writer-producer couple, Sue Vertue and Steven Moffatt. The event proved to a great way to get the festival rolling and many left eager for the weekend of activities ahead.

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Over the course of the weekend the festival offered budding young filmmakers a vast array of workshops and activities. These workshops covered many aspects of professional filmmaking such as scriptwriting, special effects and many more. The ‘Animation with iPhone’ workshop was particularly successful and was led by last years over 25 winner with his fantastic animation Perch, Liam Harris. 

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On Saturday evening St Paul’s Samuel Pepys’ theatre hosted the enjoyable and educational networking event where movie makers and fanatics alike had the chance to mingle and chat all things film. The exciting event also featured a dazzling lineup of guest speakers including Daniel Battsek (Head of Film4), Charlotte Arden (Gizmo Films), film director Iain Softley, Producer Sarah Curtis, Actress and Director Rayna Campbell, Ashleigh Wright (The Farm Group) and Simon Rickards (Godiva Films). Individuals left informed and invigorated by their new found knowledge of the film industry.

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A Highlight screening of the festival has to be A Plastic Ocean which follows the journey of Craig Leeson, who in searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. After travelling to twenty locations around the world they uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect. This film was both educational and moving to all those who attended and coincided with our 2017 Blue Dot theme.

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On Sunday viewers were fortunate enough to experience a showing of The Sunrise Storyteller followed by an interactive Skype Q&A with 18 year old director Kasha Sequoia. After this we welcomed a showing of Richmond Park: National Nature Reserve, presented by Sir David Attenborough which also featured a live Q&A with co-scriptwriters Richard Gray and Ron Crompton. This gave audiences the chance to gain further insight into the exquisite natural details of the Richmond Park.

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The closing evening was marked by the Luna open-air cinema screening of beloved family film E.T. Friends and families attended, blankets and chairs in hand, to enjoy the film in a cosy, communal atmosphere at Barnes Pond. The beautiful evening was a fitting way to bring the festival to a close leaving many excited and enthusiastic about what lies in store for the future of the Barnes Film Festival.

Written By Jamie Autorino

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