Top five things for film fans in Bristol

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By Ellie Fernyhough, Third Year, Psychology

Do you love film? Have you just moved into Bristol? Here’s a rundown of some cinematic must-do’s to keep you busy.

It can be really hard to find your feet in a new city, and keeping up with the interests you had back home can sometimes be a bit difficult without knowing where to look. For those with an interest in film though, there are tons of great things to do in Bristol. I’ve loved getting involved with the city’s film community and these five things are must-do’s for any film-loving fresher:

Watershed

Situated at the entrance to Bristol’s harbourside, the Watershed cinema introduced me to independent film and has since become a staple of my student life here. It shows a huge range of films for very reasonable prices - under-24s get in for just £5! - cult classics, modern avant-garde and foreign film, as well as retrospectives on directors’ careers and some more mainstream titles are all on show.

The venue also hosts Q&A sessions with filmmakers that provide invaluable, intimate perspectives on the industry. I seriously recommend joining their mailing list, and definitely collect loyalty points ─ it won’t take long to earn free cinema tickets!

Cube Microplex

Another important independent cinema in the city is the Cube Microplex, tucked away in an old glass-recycling depot at the back of artsy Stokes Croft, run entirely by volunteers as an act of pure love for art and performance. You won’t be able to just drop into the Cube and see what’s on though, as their showings are sporadic with limited runs, but make an effort to get along to one of the movies they carefully select to put on their singular screen; it is a genuinely heartwarming experience.

Despite only being opened in 1998 the screen itself has a Victorian cinema feel to it, and the DIY cafe sells own-recipe cola. The Cube is a wonderful example of what Bristol can be at its best: accessible, accepting and artistic.

Get along to one of the movies they carefully select to put on their singular screen; it is a genuinely heartwarming experience

Infilm

One for aspiring filmmakers, Inflim is the University’s only society entirely dedicated to all aspects of creating films, from writing to editing. I have personally had opportunities I never would have even attempted to find by being involved with InFilm, and have not needed the experience which can often make filmmaking an exclusive hobby. Whether you want to act, direct, are fascinated by the technical side of film production or would just like to see what working on a set is actually like, InFilm, which runs several projects a year alongside workshops, is a good place to start.

Bristol Film Festival

This relatively new film festival does not operate in the standard way; it has events throughout the whole year with the aim of taking films out of standard cinema settings. They pair classics with wine tastings, screen sci-fi in the planetarium of We The Curious, and this autumn their season of horror movies are shown in a cemetery and the Redcliffe Caves. It is a unique way to present films, and much more fun than the standard outdoor screening affair.

Another film festival worth mentioning here is Bristol Rebel Film Festival, part of a growing collection of festivals across the UK and beyond aiming to showcase independent shorts and features. More of a traditional festival format than the Bristol Film Festival, it takes place over the last weekend of February and is a great opportunity to see otherwise-overlooked talent - and there is also a chance to submit your own shorts for screening!

It is a unique way to present films, and much more fun than the standard outdoor screening affair

Film journalism

I could not recommend this enough; getting involved with any of the student publications like Epigram or external blogs and magazines is a really wonderful way to increase your own engagement with the film world. Not a film student myself, I had never considered my own ability to review films or share my opinions about people within the industry who inspired me. However, it’s so accessible to take part in journalism as a student ─ a field not so open once you leave university  ─ that you can throw yourself into it and give it a go.

To me it was confidence-boosting, as well as giving me time to think more about my takes on film, and reason to burrow deeper into topics I found fascinating.  Aside from the perks of getting press passes to opening nights or festivals, it’s a rewarding experience and from my time at uni, writing and editing a student publication will stand out as something I was glad to have tried.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons/Stinglehammer


Where are your favourite film spots in Bristol? Let us know!

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