Last weekend a new, exciting and promising event burst onto the capital’s ever flowing cultural spectrum and London South Bank University (LSBU) was its celebrated host.

As I made my way to attend the Screentest Festival’s “Best of Screentest “, a selection of the best rewarded student films at the “Awarding Ceremony” were being shown. 2011 is a turning-point in the history of the Screentest Festival. Indeed, it is the first time in its six years of existence that the festival is hosted in a different location to its hometown, Bristol.

“After six successful years of being held in Bristol, I thought it could only freshen up the festival’s notoriety by bringing it to the country’s most vibrant city “

As I am welcomed and guided through the University’s corridors to the screening theatre by one of the festival’s organisers Chris Nunn, an MA student at LSBU and this year’s edition’s president and main organiser, he tells me about relocating the festival to the capital: “After six successful years of being held in Bristol, I thought it could only freshen up the festival’s notoriety by bringing it to the country’s most vibrant city “.

So far so good, an estimate of around 200 film lovers of all genres are said to have passed Borough Campus’ doors to immerse themselves into some brilliant pieces of not-so-amateur art. All while enjoying a fresh bottle of Heineken from the bar.

…an impressively well-documented manifesto…

As I seat myself to watch a selected few of the festival’s best rewarded films, I am stunned by the miscellaneous nature, or should I say genre, of every one of the top-twelve retained works. The festival’s “best of” is opened with a very short animation work by the name of “Sprinkles” and proceeds by ranging from 10 minute pieces about time-travelling, an impressively well-documented manifesto on the preservation of the Scottish Caledonian forest, and then to more elliptic and delicate narratives.

The festival is partly sponsored by BAFTA and included is one of the Award’s nominated filmmakers, Luke Snellin, as part of its judges. He was appointed the tough role of nominating the most promising works in the more than a hundred short films competing. The nominations included: Best Film, Best Narrative, Best Animation, Best Experimental Film and at last, the “Best of Screentest”. It seemed to play with these different features in a clever and somewhat beautiful way.

“the talent and more subtle, experimental works do a magnificent job of not force-feeding you their intentions “

Pointing out on the striking diversity in genres presented to the public, Chris answered : ” The nominations were a tough decision to make. Naturally, the best cinematographic productions are the works of mature, PHD students most of the time but we were also struck by the talent and more subtle, experimental works including “Her method of Loki” and “Flux” which are more subtle in their production and do a magnificent job of not force-feeding you their intentions “. “Flux”, won the title for Best Drama.

When being asked about his thoughts on this year’s edition and on the future of Screentest, Chris said “I wanted to start a trend of passing on the reins of the festival to a different home base every year. It has proven tricky but my aim is to reach out to as many people as possible and maybe create an intercollegiate network in order to expand on organisational and creative levels”.

So which city will be the festival’s host for 2012?

Either way, LSBU has treated its guest with impressive respect this year and this seems to be a good start for the National Student Film Festival to continue the good work.

 

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