Q&A with Bristol Film Festival

Ahead of their first event at the Bristol Improv Theatre, we chatted to Owen, founder of Bristol Film Festival, all about what this fab, Bristol based company does and how they make such joyous events.


Q: Hey Owen, we’re really excited to be hosting Bristol Film Festival’s Screening of Cabaret at the Bristol Improv Theatre! Can you tell us a little bit about Bristol Film Festival, what you do and where it all began?

We’re excited to be hosting our first event with Bristol Improv Theatre! We’ve been hosting screenings across Bristol since March 2016, and from day one we have focussed on bringing classic films back to the big screen in iconic Bristol locations, to create unique experiences and evenings out.

Q: How does holding a screening in a unique and tailored venue add to the experience of watching a film?

It can really help bring the film to life, especially if the environment is fitting (The Descent in Redcliffe Caves being the most obvious example of that!). But it also adds to the evening, be that a drinks reception with compered wine tasting or exploring Concorde then watching a film beneath its wings. Plus, it gets Bristolians back into amazing local venues and seeing them in a different setting to what they may normally be used for.

Q: Why have you chosen ‘Cabaret’ for our venue? And what should people expect?

We love the setup and thought that with the cabaret-style seating in place, it was a no-brainer! There’s something fun about descending the staircase, getting a drink at the bar then moving through the venue to take your seat at a table and enjoy the film. Ideally we want our audience to feel like they’re in a nightclub, watching the show and the drama unfold. We encourage them to dress like they’re in the Kit Kat Klub too (but some of our guests need no encouragement).

Q: What has been your favourite Bristol Film Festival experience to date? Any standout moments?

They’re all my favourites… In all seriousness, hosting a 30th anniversary screening of Withnail and I with its star Paul McGann guest speaking was a deliriously funny event; Paul is a true gentleman and it was so interesting to hear all of his anecdotes from filming. We’re really excited to have Christopher Eccleston joining us in March to introduce and discuss one of his favourite films, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Can I claim a future event as a personal highlight already?

Q: Why is keeping things local such an important aspect of Bristol Film Festival’s work?

I’m a lifelong Bristolian and love the creativity of the city. When you put ‘Bristol’ into your own name, you have to live up to that expectation – but the festival grew organically out of working with local venues and suppliers, so it seemed natural. 

Q: Who is this screening for and why should people come along to this event?

It’s for fans of musicals and classic films alike, and it’s a great opportunity to discover – or rediscover – this Oscar-winning tragicomic hit. And anyone who loves Liza Minnelli. It’s a chance to leave your troubles outside – in here, life is beautiful…