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Apr 02 2023
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Free film events on offer at Firstsite Colchester

Tendring residents will soon be able to enjoy free festive events – and the Colchester Film Festival – thanks to Essex County Council’s (ECC) Arts and Cultural Fund.

Held at Firstsite, the Colchester Film Festival will be showing screenings from Monday 7 November to Friday 11 November from 7pm, while on Saturday 12 November from 11am Oscar and BAFTA award winners and nominees will be part of a guest panel speaking about ‘how to create an award-winning film’.

The panel features lead speaker, writer and director Mike Leigh, a Palm d’Or winner and a nominee for several Oscars, Academy Award winning writer and director of ‘The Silent Child’ Chris Overton, Colchester’s BAFTA award-winning writer and director Caroline Bartleet, and Deborah Moggach screenwriter of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Tulip Fever’. Deborah Moggach also wrote ‘These Foolish Things’ which was adapted for screen to become ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.

Both the film screenings and guest panel events require booking, however, due to the funding received from the ECC Arts and Cultural Fund, ticket prices have been kept low to ensure the Colchester Film Festival is as accessible to as many people as possible.

Having also received funding, the award-winning Colchester based arts and education charity, Signals, are launching the BFI Film Academy.

Costing £25 for the full course of 11 sessions – which take place from Saturday 19 November 2022 to Saturday 4 February 2024, with one day on Sunday 22 January 2023 – the BFI Film Academy delivered by Signals is for young people aged 16 to 19-years-old and provides them with the required skills, along with commercial and cultural knowledge, to make a career in film a reality.

Also, taking place from Wednesday 16 November until Sunday 8 January 2023, Colchester residents and visitors can experience Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ with a difference.

The free digitally accessible Christmas Carol Festive Trail will take people on a 12-stop journey around the city centre with disused retail areas transformed into a magical Christmas moment, as part of ECC’s Everyone’s Essex Strategy, which aims to rejuvenate the county’s high streets.  

Residents and visitors can scan a QR code and listen to a single actor narration bringing the well-known and much-loved Dickens characters to life, and the trail will be accompanied by the Christmas Carol close-harmony vocal group.

Supporting the retelling of the 12 chapters of Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’, local artists and community groups will be producing thought-provoking and creative installations that represent the stories, themes and characters of the novel. 

The festive trail brings together interactive digital animation, mosaic and textile weaving, oil and glass painting, millinery and lacework and multidimensional illustrations.

At each stopping point along the trail, residents and visitors can engage with each chapter, either as part of the full experience or as a standalone point of interest.

The full narration of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ will also be made available for those with reduced mobility to access at home.

During the festive period, visitors and residents of Colchester and Tendring will also be able to experience a Winter Window Wonderland courtesy of The Grand Theatre of Lemmings.

Occurring from Thursday 1 December to Saturday 24 December, a Winter Window Wonderland will take place in Manningtree which will see an illuminated ‘advent calendar’ window unveiled each night.

As part of the Winter Window Wonderland, on Saturday 17 December from 6pm a winter light festival take place featuring a family parade with illuminated bands and drummers as well as street theatre.

Councillor Graham Butland, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Devolution, the Arts, Heritage and Culture, said: “These wonderful events demonstrate the fantastic artists we have here in our county and how ECC’s Arts and Cultural Fund has supported them to deliver events and activities for our residents. 

“We’re delighted at how well received and attended the Arts and Cultural Fund summer activities were and I would encourage residents to find out about the free events taking place during the festive period.” 


Further Information

For more information and tickets for the Colchester Film Festival visit www.firstsite.uk or www.colchesterfilmfestival.co.uk and to find out more about the Signals BFI Film Academy course see www.signals.org.uk/bfi-film-academy-2022.
To find out more about the Christmas Carol Festive trail please see www.christmascarolfestivetrail.co.uk and for more information about The Grand Theatre of Lemmings Winter Window Wonderland visit www.lemmingstheatre.co.uk.
Expressions of interest for the second year of the Arts and Cultural Fund are now open. To express interest, please visit www.explore-essex.com/arts-culture-fund.


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