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Lancaster Town Library played host to the first ever Lancaster Childrens’ Film Festival during the half term holiday, an event aimed at educating children about film and film production.
The festival ran for eight days and offered workshops, film screenings, and live music for both children and adults. Alongside the library, the festival occupied various venues around Lancaster city centre including the Dukes Playhouse, Gregson Community and Arts Centre and Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
The event was the brainchild of Artistic Director Charlotte Forsdick, who has worked at adult film festivals in Brisbane and London. She was keen to bring the idea to Lancaster and offer children the chance to be an active part in watching films, rather than a just passive observer.
“With its diverse, creative community and fantastic setting, Lancaster is the perfect place for such an event. We wanted to bring some of the passion and love of film that we have to the young people of Lancaster and hopefully inspire the next Steven Spielberg,” she said. “We also hope it will introduce people to some unknown films which we feel are hidden gems.”
The opening gala, hosted on Saturday 23rd October, offered a sample of the week ahead by incorporating face painting, storytelling and a short film screening of Sherlock Jr. A three-piece string band played music from films including the theme tunes of Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
Later on in the week, the Dukes Playhouse showed films such as Mary Poppins, Eep and the Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells, voted Lancaster’s favourite children’s film.
“Eep is a Dutch film, so it’s subtitled, about a little girl who has wings and can fly. It’s definitely one of the best and I’m really looking forward to it,” Forsdick said.
Despite the event being aimed at children, the film showings interested avid movie fans of all ages, especially the screenings of Studio Ghibli films – the Japanese film makers responsible for films such as Spirited Away and The Cat Returns.
“Spirited Away is a really well made film and it’s Oscar award winning so it’s definitely worth a watch. Those films aren’t just for children and it’s great that they are being shown in Lancaster to make people aware of films they wouldn’t normally watch,” said James Cumiskey, a Lancaster University Geography student.
Other highlights included a screening of The Losers, a film based on a comic series written by Andy Diggle. The writer attended the showing and took part in a question and answer session about his work. The Yummy Cupcake Company was also on hand during the week as sponsors of the festival, and gave out free toffee apple drinks. A pyjama party, complete with free hot chocolate, rounded off the week.