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EVENT RECAP: The Kandu Arts REEL Film Festival 2024

The film brochure at Kandu Arts Reel Film Festival

On Friday, June 7th, film lovers from across Wiltshire congregated to celebrate the 4th Kandu Reel Cinema Film Festival, an annual gathering hosted at REEL Cinema Chippenham. As you know, film holds a central place in our work at Kandu Arts. We believe in its ability to serve as a powerful medium, accessible and engaging, enabling us to address complex issues, acquire new skills, and communicate our shared experiences.

The festival commenced with a showcase of final pieces by young filmmakers from Wiltshire College & University Centre, presented exclusively to an invite-only audience. Audiences were captivated by 18 remarkable shorts, each offering a unique perspective on the essence of cinema.

Among these, 'Body', a creation by Jax Holmes, resonated deeply, addressing pertinent social issues spanning generations. The film portrays the struggles of a teenage girl grappling with identity and body image, evoking profound emotions in the audience. Similarly, 'Burnt Out' by Jess Booth struck a chord, delving into the toll of daily routines and the unseen burden of mental health challenges. This film highlights the fact that we never know what one is dealing with inside of their own mind.

While many films explored weighty themes, the festival also featured light-hearted and entertaining creations, such as 'Family Switch Lives', a reality TV concept by Josh Van Acker. This film was about a switch in family roles, where the kids were now in charge and the parents were kids. The audience were delighted to witness familial roles reversed, finding humour and relatability in each scenario. The films were judged by industry professional Neville Farmer and the winning categories were:

BEST FILM: Big Boots. Directed by Atlas Anderson.

BEST SCRIPT: Should Be Simple. Written and Directed by Joseph Lathbury.

BEST EDIT: BEST EDIT – Family Switch Lives. Directed and Edited by Josh van Acker.

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC AND USE OF MUSIC – No Mother’s Day. Written, Directed, Composed and Performed by Jess Kuchar.

BEST DOCUMENTARY – The Seymour Arms. Directed by Gwyn Chapman.

Student film makers from Wiltshire College at The Kandu Arts REEL Film Festival

Following the student showcase, more local film enthusiasts gathered at the cinema to view a one-time-only Kandu-produced short documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Chippenham Folk Festival. The screening was accompanied by a stimulating Q&A session featuring Dick Stanger, a revered founding member of the festival.

The final part at the Kandu Arts REEL Film Festival was a screening of the Bafta-nominated film "Everything", produced by Kandu Arts and starring Ray Winstone, in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The screening was followed by an insightful Q&A session with Kandu director and co-producer of the film, Ed Deedigan, shedding light on the film's genesis and its exploration of critical social issues identified through Kandu Arts’ social work with sex workers in Bristol.

Ed Deedigan, Nickie Dew, Neville Farmer and Donna Lee

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who contributed to the success of the festival, including the dedicated staff at REEL Cinema, particularly manager Will McGuire and projectionist Charlie Mercer. Special thanks are also due to Donna Lee from Kandu Arts for technical support, Nickie Dew from Wiltshire College for providing a platform for emerging filmmakers, and the invaluable volunteer support of industry professional, Neville Farmer.

A big thank you to all who attended the festival - your presence and support enable us to continue organising community-driven events that celebrate the transformative power of film in Chippenham and beyond.

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