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Shakespeare’s global appeal celebrated in film competition

Shakespeare Film Festival, 21 - 23 September

Ophelia, by Savanna Spika.
Ophelia, by Savanna Spika

Budding filmmakers from all over the world will descend on Stratford-upon-Avon on 23 September as they take part in the Shakespeare Film Festival

Organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the annual film festival celebrates new film inspired by William Shakespeare. Launched in 2013 with Sir Kenneth Branagh as its patron, the competition invites people of all ages to produce a Shakespeare-related film using any form of technology - from a smart phone to the latest professional camera equipment. 

This year’s competition attracted 235 entries from 42 countries including the UK, United States, Russia, Turkey and Iran – the most since the competition began in 2013. A special screening will be held at Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23 September, where the works of the finalists will be shown and the winner of the coveted Shakespeare Shorts Film Competition, chosen by Sir Kenneth Branagh, announced.  The evening will be compared by Russell Jackson, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Birmingham and film textual advisor to Sir Kenneth on all of his Shakespeare films. 

There are also five sub-categories; the winners of each have been chosen with their short film to be shown at the screening:   

  • Best film inspired by Shakespeare – Ophelia by Caterina  Picone (USA) Caterina’s film explores what happens when method acting takes over the actor
  • Best interpretation of a passage Shakespeare – Richard III by Mona Zaidi (Canada). Mona’s film surreal adaptation of Richard III mixing film and animation
  • Best Shakespeare themed animation – Shakespearean Women Part 4 by Fin McMorran (UK) This is one of a series of short witty commentaries on Woman in Shakespeare inspired by woodcuts of the time. 
  • Best local film maker – Ophelia by Savanna Spika. Savanna’s film is a hard hitting look at the struggles a modern day Ophelia might face.
  • Best young UK film maker - Et Tu by Emma Parkinson (UK) Emma wins the chance to participate in Chanel 4’s Random Acts programme with partner Rural Media

Elizabeth Dollimore, Shakespeare Film Festival organiser, said: “Shakespeare isn’t just for scholars or aficionados; we want people of all ages and backgrounds to make their own personal connection with Shakespeare. This competition offers filmmakers from around the world a platform to express their understanding and appreciation for Shakespeare’s works, life and times, utilising the power of film to present their vision in a fresh and creative way for the enjoyment of wider audiences. Once again we’ve had an amazing response to the competition, a true testament to the global appeal of William Shakespeare.” 

The Shakespeare Film Festival takes place from 21 – 23 September 2017. Tickets for outdoor screenings: Adult £8, Child £5; Animation Workshop: £20, Film Making Workshop: £20. For more information and to book online see