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Mansfield Town Film Festival to celebrate silver screen

Posted onPosted on 12th Jun

Around 230 films have been submitted from 25 countries to be shown at the first Mansfield Town Film Festival.

Festival creator Jay Martin — already an award-winner in his so far short career as a writer, director, and producer — said he had been blown away by support shown for the inaugural event.

The three-day festival, at the Palace Theatre in the town, from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th, July, will include live screenings of short films, masterclasses, Q&A sessions, workshops, exhibitions, and more — before the event concludes with an in-person awards evening and presentation of Mansfield Film Awards (Mannies).

The festivals film sections include Working Class Voices, LGBTQIA+ Voices, Women’s Voices, UK Narrative Shorts, UK Documentary, Shorts, UK Animated Shorts, UK Student Shorts, International Shorts, and Music Videos.

Jay, 24, said: “It is a really exciting time. There is a hunger in Mansfield people for film, for arts, for culture, but it is about giving them an opportunity to go somewhere and experience that.

“The festival is born of an ethos to promote diverse, working-class talent.”

Sneak previews of some of the films were shown at a small business reception in June, where Mansfield mayor Andy Abrahams said:

“People say why Mansfield? I say, why not Mansfield!

“The potential of where we can go with this film festival is enormous, into schools, generating aspiration for the future,” he added.

“In 10 years’ time we want people to think, shall I go to the Cannes Film Festival or the Mansfield Festival?”

Other guests at the networking event theatre included Mansfield District Council Cultural Services manager Sian Booth; Natalie Gasson-McKinley, of the Federation of Small Businesses; and Professor Veronica Pickering, the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire (pictured top with Jay).

Jay said: “It was great to share more about what people can expect from the festival as many were not familiar with the structure of film festivals.

“We talked about sponsorship opportunities, plans for making this a regular event and project, and even shared a sneak preview of submissions that will be screened at the festival.

“We have submissions ranging from animation, documentary, short films and music videos.

“I am excited to share this and I hope to see the community come along, check out the creative talent we have, and be part of this historical and cultural moment for Mansfield.”

The judging panel for the awards is made up of industry veterans and local people.

Jay, who wants the film festival to raise the town’s cultural profile as well as celebrate the silver screen, added: “This should be a massive culture boost for the town.

“It will bring together a stunning mix of filmmakers, with a strong focus on diverse, working-class talent from across the country and internationally.

“There will be an array of short films, music videos, documentaries, and animation over three days of unique programming, entertainment, and fresh perspectives.”

A former Mansfield Brunts School student, Jay is a filmmaker with a passion for visual storytelling.

He began studying at the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in September 2015, and from there developed Catharsis, his directorial debut. The film was made over a year, in and around the greater Nottinghamshire area.

In 2019 he launched pre-production for a political documentary-short, REDt’BLUE. The film was released in 2022, following a sold-out cinema premiere.

It told the story of how his home town, a rock solid Labour ‘safe’ seat from a strong mining background, switched to the Conservatives for the first time at the 2017 General Election — and remained blue two years later.

The film won awards and Jay also received good reviews for a trilogy of short documentaries for the BBC about how the coronavirus pandemic affected Mansfield and Ashfield.

The full programme of films and events for the festival will be at

Tickets can be bought — priced £10 for each day or £25 for all three days — from the Palace Theatre or at