Feeling nostalgic for when we could all get together and watch films in places other than our living rooms, we asked our team for some of their favourite Eastleigh Film Festival memories from years past.
Here’s what they said:
Sacha Lee, Artistic Director
Steel Magnolias at Quiffy’s, 2018
‘Introducing this film in a real-life retro hairdresser, with a glass of pink prosecco to boot, I don’t think I have ever felt such collective warmth from a roomful of 40 women (and one man!)’
Cabin in the Woods at Itchen Valley Country Park, 2018
‘There’s nothing more thrilling than stumbling through dark woods to get to the most beautifully set up film staging (thanks to our brilliant tech team) – what a setting and what a scary memory made!’
Ellie Russell, Marketing Manager
My favourite memory from the Eastleigh Film Festivals is ridiculously hiding in the trees with a colleague at Itchen Valley Country Park with torches under our faces shouting “We’re going to die out here!”, trying to make audiences jump on their way to the screening of The Blair Witch Project in the woods.
Our technical and creative team did such an incredible job of dressing the space – with the backdrop sounds of owls and other animals in the woods, it was far too creepy for me to watch the whole film!
Liz Wolton, Theatre & Film Programmer
For Eastleigh Film Festival 2017, we asked comedian Mark Thomas to give us a list of his favourite films which we put to an audience vote for our gala opening evening screening. The Blues Brothers won, one of my favourite films, and I sent him an email asking if he could do a 5-minute piece to camera welcoming audiences to the festival and explaining why he loves the film. I never got a reply, but as he was busy at the Edinburgh Fringe doing a show every night at the time, I wasn’t surprised.
Then, whilst chatting to other programmers during my trip to the Fringe, I spotted him in the Summerhall courtyard. Mark is a massive hero of mine and has been since the Mark Thomas Project on Channel 4 in the 80’s. Over the years, he has become a friend and now requests that his agent put The Point on all of his UK tours.
Spotting an opportunity, I gulped, walked over and to my total astonishment following my repeated request, Mark said ‘Hi Liz - so sorry, I’ve been meaning to do this. Get your phone and come with me!’ and took my hand.
We ended up in a corridor in Summerhall, the festival happening all around us, in front of a picture of a urinal (I think he did that on purpose!) with me recording him on my phone as you can see above. Apologies for the quality of the video - I was shaking as you can tell!
James Hibberd, Marketing Officer
Ever since I started as an intern here in 2015, I wanted to get involved with Eastleigh Film Festival as much as possible. From my first-ever trip to the cinema to see Star Wars Episode I (the one everyone wants to forget) at The Point back in the late 90s to the day I learned that I wouldn’t have to catch the train to Southampton to see the latest films anymore when Vue opened, my personal history with cinema was formed here.
So, when I got the chance to help programme last year’s festival, it’s fair to say I leapt at it. I’ve attended every year since 2016 (watching Hot Fuzz at Eastleigh Police Station was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience) and I was delighted that I could have even a small hand in deciding the direction of 2019’s event.
Here are just a few of my highlights from last year:
- Programming one of my favourite films of 2018, A Quiet Place, and then actually having people turn up to watch it with me in the woods on a grey, slightly damp night
- Discovering a new favourite in Jon Favreau’s Chef – seriously, if you love food as much as I do then you’ll love this heart-warming yet understatedly witty film. Plus, the soundtrack is 🔥
- Welcoming over 100 people plus actor Simon Shepherd and producer Linn Waite (pictured above) to our screening of Bait, far more than we ever thought would possibly be interested in a low-budget, Cornish black-and-white film entirely shot on an old camera from the 70s. Bait went on to win a BAFTA earlier this year and I’m not saying it was purely down to our screening, but I’m taking all the credit I can get.
- Promoting the festival at local schools and colleges with our mobile popcorn machine, even if it did set off Eastleigh College’s fire alarm. They told me it came from the kitchen but I’m 99.9% sure they were just trying to make me feel better…