This weekend marks the sixth year of the University of York’s very own film festival, LUMA. Organised entirely by students, it’s an exciting and jam-packed couple of days with a huge amount of effort and planning behind them. We caught up with this year’s Festival Director, Rebecca Howard, to find out more about the festival and what they have planned for us all this year.
The Yorker: How was LUMA set up and how long has it been running here at the University of York?
Rebecca Howard: The LUMA Film Festival was first set up by the students in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television in 2012. At that point, the Film and Television Production degree was only a year old, and the students wanted to create an event simply to showcase their work. Since then, LUMA has grown from strength to strength. In 2013, it became an official event in York’s celebrated Festival of Ideas, and in 2014 it attracted official sponsors in Orillo Productions. Now in its sixth year, it not only has screenings to celebrate the work done by York’s film students, but also incorporates exciting talks and workshops from members of the film and television communities. In doing so, LUMA has become about not only what students have to offer the industry, but what the industry has to offer them. TY: What opportunities does it offer students and local filmmakers?
RH: From the get-go, LUMA’s always described itself as an event ‘by students, for students’. It allows the university’s young filmmakers to showcase their work in an official capacity, in front of a large audience. That kind of encouragement and audience feedback often proves essential in developing their voice as a filmmaker. In fact, we hold award ceremonies during our drinks receptions on both nights, the Screenwriting Award, the Audience Award – the audience’s pick for best film – and the Orillo award, our sponsor Orillo Productions’s pick for best film. It’s always very unpredictable who will take them home, and they give the winners a huge lift in confidence and a great place from which to start their careers, and their films’ subsequent festival runs.
For anyone attending the festival, it provides an incredible insight into the world of film and television production, whether that be by attending our masterclasses with some of the biggest names in the industry or by watching the high calibre of work that can be produced by such young filmmakers. So for film and TV fans there are a lot of exciting events to get involved in! TY: What kind of events are you running this year?
RH: We have a number of exciting events on this year! On Saturday, we have workshops from YAFTA, a prestigious acting academy, and Orillo Productions, on a beginners’ guide to cinematography with everything from DSLRs to RED Dragons. We’re also holding a panel discussion on taking the first steps in the industry with Tony Bracewell and Ben Willbond, a celebrated producer and actor/writer respectively, and a Q&A with Laurie Rose, a BAFTA-winning cinematographer behind the look of films like Sightseers and Free Fire, and TV shows like Peaky Blinders and London Spy. In the evening, we’ll be holding the first half of our Gala Screenings, representing some of the best films produced this year, and a drinks reception, during which a member of The Artists Partnership, a prestigious talent agency in London, will announce the winner of our Screenwriting Competition.
On Sunday, we’re holding an exclusive preview screening of Egomaniac, a FrightFest horror-comedy from York alumnus Kate Shenton, followed by a Q&A session with Kate herself. We also have a Q&A lined up with another York alumnus, Angela Robson, who has had an award-winning career in journalism and documentary filmmaking, as well as an advanced cinematography workshop with Orillo Productions and a TV workshop in live broadcasting in our department’s own state-of-the-art TV studio. After the second half of our Gala Screenings, we’re holding a second award ceremony to announce the winners of this year’s Audience Award and Orillo Award.
TY: Which guest/event are you most excited about and why?
RH: I would say that I’m probably most excited about our Gala Screenings. Held on both the Saturday and the Sunday evenings at 7pm, the Gala Screenings represent some the best of what that year’s crop of film students have accomplished, as decided on by the LUMA Organising Committee. We had an amazing bunch of submissions this year, and I’m honestly so proud to be showcasing work of such high calibre. It will also be interesting to see who takes home the awards for best film this year! TY: In 5 words, why should people come to LUMA 2017?
RH: To ‘celebrate the filmmakers of tomorrow’!
LUMA 2017 takes place this weekend, 17th-18th June at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, Heslington East Campus, University of York. View the full festival programme and other information at the LUMA Film Festival Facebook page.