Exclusive: Interview with St Albans Film Festival patron Christiane Kubrick

Christiane Kubrick speaks at the opening ceremony of the first St Albans Film Festival

Christiane Kubrick speaks at the opening ceremony of the first St Albans Film Festival - Credit: Leo Cinicolo

It’s been 15 years since pioneering director Stanley Kubrick passed away in St Albans. Responsible for some of the most iconic films of the 20th century, such as A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey, he is regarded as one of the most influential and prolific filmmakers of all time.

Thanks to his incredible canon of work - much of which was either filmed or edited in the St Albans district - and his creative window Christiane, artist and patron of the district’s forthcoming film festival, his passion for filmmaking lives on.

Christiane, who runs Childwickbury Art Fair on the Kubrick estate, sat down recently with St Albans Film Festival director Leoni Kibbey to discuss the future of film and offered some valuable advice to the festival’s burgeoning filmmakers.

Speaking about her late husband she said it was his great care and important follow-up process after making a film in addition to his artistic ability which made him successful.

She admitted that films have changed quite a lot in the past half a century, with the way we watch them and their subject matter developing almost every couple of months: “There was a time when everybody saw the same film and they would talk about it. Now they don’t and they still catch up on old films and there are an enormous amount of what I call boy films, which I happen to quite like.

“I like special effects. I think that is because I am a painter, but most women I don’t think like Iron Man that much.”

The subject of women heavily influenced the second St Albans film festival and a special dedicated award will even be handed out to honour films that adhere to the Bechdel Test, which identifies female-friendly gender-equality in movies.

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Christiane said it was true that films were more often than not targeted at men: “I sometimes think its because women don’t go to the cinema very much, I think they have a tendency to watch DVDs at home and I am certainly one of those as well and if I like a film I will watch it over and over and over and others I can’t even get interested in at all.

“Women are great film fans but in a completely different way – the advertising and the fashion in film at the moment is mostly for men.”

But she added there were films which featured women prominently and that blockbuster films such as James Bond had increased their inclusion of female characters in recent years.

Christiane also recognised that a lot of high-profile female actresses, such as Judi Dench, often went out of their way to act in films with a larger female cast list.

At least 500 entries have flooded into the festival already from aspiring and established filmmakers alike and Christiane’s advice for all entrants is simple. Not only should they have boundless amount of energy, but also be “relentless in so many fields”.

She went on: “Not only do they need a good idea they must have a good story, it has to be beautifully filmed, with good actors, they have to have everything and then they have to find and have the passion to see the advertising and all the things connected with films to sell them. It’s like running Harrods every day, unbelievably difficult.”