Film students' festival helps boost church appeal

When Film Studies students wanted to show one of the oldest science fiction films ever made, they chose a fitting location – one of the oldest buildings in the city.
INSET castro

The gothic settings of St Mary de Castro Church in Leicester were perfect for the silent classic, which was screened with live accompaniment from world-leading silent film accompanist, Stephen Horne.
A sell-out audience of 150 people packed the church on Wednesday for the screening of Metropolis, which is 90 years old this year. A red carpet was installed outside and candles were lit in the church to add to the atmosphere.

It was part of the Sentient Film Festival, a hand-picked season of cinema chosen by students on Film 2009 year-long module.

Big Hero 6, Ex Machina, Her, Terminator, Robocop and 2001: A Space Odyssey were the films shown alongside Metropolis. The festival also include a retro gaming day at Leicester’s Brewdog and an AI in Cinema Day at the Phoenix which brought together fans and academics.

INSET castro 2

On Saturday a green screen was set up and audiences were encouraged to come in costume to have their own 15 minutes of fame dressed as Arnie or Robocop characters.

Laraine Porter, senior lecturer in film and an expert on silent cinema said: “The students have done a superb job on this festival from choosing the films to thinking of lots of different ways to entertain audiences.

“There’s a lot of gothic imagery in the film so the setting worked really well. The acoustics for the music were perfect and we are keen to work again with St Mary de Castro.”

Dr Tamela Marciel of the Leicester Space Centre was asked to introduce 2001: A Space Odyssey and the students made a special trailer featuring HAL to promote it.
More than 20 Film Studies students, programmers at Phoenix Leicester and lecturers worked on the programme.

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Student Ethan Hargreaves said the experience was superb. He said: “I absolutely loved it. Studying films, we spend a lot of our time sitting in a dark room watching films and not talking, so when we got the opportunity to talk to people and see what they think - I loved that.

“It gives you the chance to see all the different aspects of films from marketing to choosing a programme and operations, though I have to say that editing the 2001 trailer was one of the biggest things I have learned.”

Wednesday’s showing of Metropolis was done in conjunction with #DMUlocal, which supports community projects across the city. It raised £750 towards St Mary de Castro’s appeal to restore its historic spire.

Posted on Thursday 30th March 2017

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