The festival will take place in less than 2 weeks, from 4th-6th March, and it promises to be a weekend packed with exciting workshops, speeches and masterclasses from leading voices in the film and TV industry. These range from talks with Kate Herron, director of Loki and Sex Education, and Akua Gyamfi, the founder of the British Blacklist; to a panel event on the ethics of documentary-making; to a masterclass in sound design from Oscar-nominated Theo Green, the sound designer for Dune and Blade Runner 2049. If all of that is not enough to entice you, tickets for the weekend are completely free!
Ticket links are available for online attendance here:
In person events will be available on the Watersprite Eventbrite Page:
Watersprite is the UK’s largest international student festival. It takes place in Cambridge every March – since its inception in 2009 – and is run by students at both Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University. Student film festival are unique in providing a platform for building young filmmakers to showcase their creativity an talent. Further, there are so many opportunities to get involved in the Watersprite committee – from organising events to judging submissions to designing posters, the opportunities are endless! Watersprite’s key value is that it is a festival run by students, for students.
This year stands out in Watersprite history – for the first time ever it will be a hybrid festival! It is also a biggest and most international year thus far: we have received over 1,400 submissions from exactly 100 countries! During the weekend itself, we will be screening the 44 nominated short-films and the long-awaited Awards Ceremony will take place on the evening of Saturday 5th. It is sure to be a magnificent celebration of young talent from across the globe!
Watersprite will also be holding a pre-festival Launch Event titled Fighting For Our Craft: A Panel with Female Filmmakers from Afghanistan. It will be an illuminating event, held in collaboration with the Afghanistan Working Group Student Society, and led by three of Afghanistan’s leading female filmmakers and journalist, in support of the Yalda Hakim Foundation. This foundation raises money to send young Afghan women to prestigious educational institutions around the world and is currently building supplemental education institutions t provide girls with the necessary education the Taliban have deprived them of.
I was able to catch an exclusive interview with Amber Hyams, Watersprite’s Festival Director this year!
What’s it been like being the festival director this year?
It’s amazing! I have met so many incredibly hard working and talented people and it has been a real pleasure being part of the Watersprite family. As with everything else, it has been a strange year to put on an international festival and I cannot thank the team enough for everything they have done.
What’s special about a student film festival?
As a festival run by young people for young people, Watersprite is always changing and growing in the most exciting ways. We work with what is currently happening and how people are currently feeling. Our Head of Awards this year, for example, wanted to celebrate experimental film and we now have an award dedicated to this part of cinema which has led to an amazing array of entries. You can also really the love and energy that young people have for film, as they play with all the industry has to offer and we try and reflect this breadth of possibilities throughout the festival weekend.
Where do you see Watersprite going in the future? What changes do you hope to see?
This year, as the first hybrid festival, we are sharing Watersprite with the world, allowing people from all over to tune in and engage with the opportunities we have on offer. We reached 100 countries this year, making it our most sure that student filmmakers support one another and that they have the space to do so, sharing ideas and experiences and proving the strength of young voices in the industry. I know that Waterprite will continue to grow, reaching even more corners of the world and nurturing future talent.
Do you have any advice for students who want to submit a film/take in the committee next year?
If you are at either Anglia Ruskin or Cambridge University and are interested in film, in any capacity, I cannot recommend joining the Watersprite Team enough. It has been the highlight of my university experience and I have forged such an amazing network with some of the brightest, most talented filmmakers, as well as meeting some outstanding industry professionals. If you would like to take part, you definitely do not need any prior experience but I would strongly recommend volunteering at the festival this year to get a taste of what Watersprite is about. I volunteered in my first year and it truly opened my eyes to all of the brilliant things going on.
If you are a filmmaker and are thinking about submitting to Watersprite 2023, I only have very simple advice: make sure you know exactly what you want your film to feel like. Do you want it to scare your audience? Make them cry? Make them smile? Do all you can to achieve this effect and my personal advice would always be to focus on an emotional response over everything else. Don’t waste time with beautiful shots if they do but show a leaf failing from a branch. And, please, make sure you spend enough time thinking about sound because nothing is more distracting than a bad crackle or the muffled cry of a director shouting “cut”, unless, of course, it’s experimental.