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Film festival to return for second season

Posted onPosted on 13th Nov

After a successful inaugural year, Mansfield Town Film Festival (MTFF) is to return to Mansfield Palace Theatre in July 2024.

The festival, born of an ethos to promote diverse working class talent, took place back last summer and saw hundreds of filmmakers and filmgoers travel from all over the world to celebrate the talent of up and coming filmmakers.

The three-day film festival consisted of live screenings of more than 100 short films as well as breakout sessions with industry experts and local artistic organisations, such as Film Hub Midlands, and Real Talk TV.

Films of all genres were shown, including live action shorts, documentaries, animations, and international films. There were also screenings with a focus on female and LGBTQIA+ voices to aid in bringing new perspectives and voices to Mansfield film lovers.

The festival attracted the attention of three-time BAFTA winning filmmaker Ken Loach who, speaking on opening night, said: “It’s important that towns like Mansfield have artistic and cultural events like this one.

“Art is important. Films are worth more than just the commercial events we get in the multiplexes. Films show us many different cultures, different experiences, and different backgrounds.

“It’s important because we see our world better when we see it reflected on the big screen. We laugh together, we smile, we weep, we get angry, and maybe we see our own world a little more clearly.”

The festival concluded with the first Mansfield Film Awards, which saw local talent taking home two of the biggest awards — best documentary for local boxing legend Steve Ward and his film The Champ of Champs, and best music video for Ollerton composer Chris Miggells, whose music video Stone Giant saw him perform an original classical piano piece in Clipstone Headstocks.

Festival director Jay Martin said: “After the success of our inaugural festival, I am proud to announce that Mansfield Town Film Festival will be returning in 2024 — bigger, better, and even more ambitious.

“We want people in Mansfield to know that our festival is here to stay and we hope even more people will join us in 2024, from 26th to 28th July.

“Our team is growing and we are actively seeking people to join us to help make MTFF the biggest film festival in the East Midlands.

“We already have some amazing celebrity guests confirmed for next year, which we will be announcing in due course, and are currently accepting film submissions worldwide until 1st May.”

The festival attracted many first-timers with an aim to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for all, contrary to the intimidating experience of many larger film festivals around the country.

Ciaran Shea, a Nottingham filmmaker, said: “It was unlike anything else. I’ve been to a lot of festivals, I love attending and working at them, and the atmosphere at this festival was just so exciting. It felt like it was my first ever festival again.

After the successful release of Jay’s REDt’BLUE — a documentary that recounts Mansfield’s recent political upheaval — a chance encounter with the town’s mayor, Andy Abrahams, at the film’s premiere led Jay to pitch the idea for a film festival, among other creative projects.

Andy said: “It was brilliant to see how after meeting with Jay, it led to this fantastic festival. It is the perfect example of how we want Mansfield to see itself, not as an ‘extra’ but aiming high and with its name in lights.”

Mansfield Town Film Festival was made possible after Mansfield District Council was awarded more than £1.7m from Arts Council England to deliver creative and cultural activity in the community.

Sian Booth, cultural manager at the council, said: “Since the reopening of the Palace Theatre after the pandemic, the council has been reintroducing film to the programme.

“This harks back to the venue’s heritage as a cinema 100 years ago, and supports our ambitions to become more digital in our exhibition of arts and culture.

“But there’s also a deeper meaning and an important mission behind Mansfield Town Film Festival. Traditionally, to pursue a career in film you needed to know people to open doors and have the means to do unpaid work experience.

“The team is committed to championing film makers from working class and less-connected backgrounds to give communities a voice. The festival is designed to bring people together, celebrate diversity, and to grow a love of film in Mansfield.

“It has drawn the attention of the national and international film community as a future major film destination. But this is Mansfield’s festival for all local people to enjoy and get involved in.”

To stay up to date with the festival, go to its Facebook page or email [email protected] or go to