St Albans Film Festival 2014: Swimmers to watch Jaws by the poolside


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The Independent Culture

Swimmers in a brand new pool in St Albans will have the chance to watch Jaws while they swim as part of the second St Albans Film Festival. 

St Albans is an unusual choice to host a film festival as it does not have a cinema. The pool at Westminster Lodge Sports Centre in the city's Verulamium Park is one of the innovative venues being used by the organisers to screen more than 100 feature films and short films on the bank holiday weekend 1- 4 May.

Local resident Christiane Kubrick, widow of the legendary filmmaker Stanley, is the patron of the festival with London Luton Airport as its headline sponsor.

The festival launches on 1 May with a screening of the Hitchcock classic The Birds in its 11th century Cathedral, including a guest appearance from the birdy film-star Hedwig from the Harry Potter movies who will be flying around the Cathedral prior to the screening.

Other events across the weekend include a special day of ‘Films while you swim' at the new Westminster Lodge swimming pool with a Disney classic for children in the daytime and Jaws in the evening for over-18s.

“This year our theme is Birds & Flight,” explained Leoni Kibbey, director of the festival.

“Plans are afoot for a new cinema to open, but in the meantime we are using some wonderful locations to screen films like the medieval clock tower as well as local theatres and pubs. We've had a tremendous response from film makers this year, with more than 400 entries from across the globe already received in the short film competition.”

The festival will also include a special free parachute display in Verulamium park from the Red Arrows Falcons, the UK military parachute display team.

Arthur Melbourne-Cooper who developed the first British 35mm moving picture camera in 1895 and was a pioneer in making moving pictures was born in St Albans which has been used as a backdrop to films including First Knight, Johnny English and Birthday Girl starring Nicole Kidman. More recently, several scenes from the film Incendiary starring Matthew Macfadyen were filmed in the city.