THE University of Winchester has formed a new partnership with the organisers of the city's film festival.

The two organisations have worked together for several years, with the new agreement seeking to expand and formalise the relationship.

Winchester Film Festival began in 2011 in a basement beneath a café in Jewry Street where it screened 15 shorts by local filmmakers.

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The festival now selects from thousands of award-winning short and feature-length films from five continents and hosts world and regional premieres.

The university supports the festival as a sponsor and venue for screenings, with students taking part in many aspects of the event, from planning and judging to working front of house.

Festival director John Hayes said that around halfway through its life the city’s annual celebration of cinema ‘ballooned’ in size, saying: “Since that point, the festival could not have functioned without the support of the university and its student volunteers.

“We have worked with students from many different departments including journalism, music and marketing as well as film production. It’s a two-way process and everyone benefits.”

Hampshire Chronicle: L-R: Paul Carter, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Department of Film and Media and Winchester Film Festival director John Hayes L-R: Paul Carter, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Department of Film and Media and Winchester Film Festival director John Hayes (Image: University of Winchester)

This year, students at the university have embarked on a new module which will require them to organise their own film festival.

The event will involve students from other courses, including events marketing. Among the films to be screened at the festival will be the third-year students’ final projects.

Rob Ferrin, programme leader for film production at the university, said: “The Winchester Film Festival is a marquee event, each year in the film calendar of Winchester and Hampshire. Over the past ten years, the festival has provided numerous opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in organising and running a film festival as well as networking opportunities for our students to meet filmmakers from all around the globe.

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“To have this partnership continue is an exciting prospect for all involved. We look forward to the continued success of the Winchester Film Festival and all the opportunities it will provide for students in the years to come.”

As previously reported, the Winchester Film Festival has been split into two for its 12th outing.

Part one ran in November at a variety of venues around the city. Meanwhile, the second half runs from February 23 to March 9 and in addition to screenings will include panel debates, in-depth presentations and audience Q&As.