Film festival launches online movie events

Two girls sitting at table with a cake on it

Film critic Anna Smith presents the wonderful Booksmart by Olivia Wilde as part of the ‘A Film I Love…’ series from Cambridge Film Festival at Home - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

Organisers of the Cambridge Film Festival are launching a year of UK-wide online film events.

Following the unprecedented success of 2020's online AMPLIFY! Film Festival, which reached audiences across the country, Cambridge Film Festival is set to launch a series of year-round online movies and film-related showcases. 

The Cambridge Film Festival at Home initiative, which is available to people throughout the UK, kicks off on Friday January 8 with some outstanding films as part of the ‘A Film I Love…’ series of popular 'Pay What You Can Afford' events.

Cambridge Film Festival at Home logo

Cambridge Film Festival at Home - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

Coming under the CFF at Home umbrella, A Film I Love… showcases special guests who choose, introduce, and talk about a film they love and why it means so much to them prior to the screening of the film. 

Among the film experts presenting January's movies are special guests Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo.

Matthew Webb, executive director at Cambridge Film Trust, said: “We’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring a series of fantastic films and film events to audiences in Cambridge and across the country, especially in these challenging times.

"We hope our wonderfully loyal film festival audience will love them, and that they will be a good build up to the 40th Cambridge Film Festival later in 2021.


Amadeus is the pick of radio presenter Simon Mayo - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

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“Kicking off with the online events that feature guests such as Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, and then bringing hugely diverse screenings out of cinemas and into communities means we can reach out to everyone as there’s sure to be something they will enjoy.”

When the first lockdown was announced back in March 2020, the team behind Cambridge Film Festival feared the 40th edition of CFF would not go ahead.

They immediately got to work to save the festival and to ensure that film lovers would continue to have access to movies that were not available via other platforms.

First came a partnership with three other UK film Festivals to produce AMPLIFY!, a virtual film festival that ran throughout November 2020 and attracted an audience of over 15,000, not just from Cambridgeshire but across the UK.

Now they are launching CFF at Home, another new project that delivers a range of screenings and film events directly into people’s homes across the country throughout the year. 

A Film I Love logo

Cambridge Film Festival presents 'A Film I Love...' - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

As part of CFF at home, the online version of ‘A Film I Love…’ will see fortnightly premieres on the festival website

Leading the line-up in January are three of the UK’s top film critics and broadcasters – Mark Kermode, Anna Smith and Simon Mayo.

Mark Kermode has selected a film that he confesses he does not understand at all, Andrew Kötting’s unexpectedly compelling The Whalebone Box.

The Whalebone Box poster

The Whalebone Box film poster - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

The film tells the story of three men who undertake a journey to return a box made of whalebone to the place where the whale was beached.

The Whalebone Box 

Mark Kermode has selected Andrew Kötting’s The Whalebone Box as his choice in the 'A Film I Love...' series - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

Anna Smith, film critic and host of the Girls on Film podcast, will present the wonderful Booksmart by Olivia Wilde, a painful and hilarious comedy about being young.

Booksmart film poster

Booksmart can be seen as part of the Cambridge Film Festival at Home initiative - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

Olivia Wilde’s directing debut follows one chaotic day in the lives of two very smart girls who intensely love each other as best friends.

This film is a sharp, very funny reboot of the classic coming-of-age buddy comedy.

Also confirmed for ‘A Film I Love…’ is BBC Radio 5Live and Scala Radio presenter Simon Mayo who, it turns out, really loves the three-hour epic Amadeus.

Amadeus, coincidentally, had its UK premiere at Cambridge Film Festival back in 1984.

Film Amadeus forms part of the Cambridge Film Festival at Home's ‘A Film I Love…’ series

Movie Amadeus forms part of the Cambridge Film Festival at Home's ‘A Film I Love…’ series - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

This masterpiece of filmmaking tells the story of the consuming rivalry between Mozart and Salieri.

It is engaging, beautifully performed and staged, and packed with emotional power. 

Amadeus film poster

Radio presenter Simon Mayo's choice in the ‘A Film I Love…’ series is Amadeus - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival

Later in the spring, further guests include Radio Times film editor Andrew Collins, Empire magazine writer Helen O'Hara and The Observer film critic Simran Hans. 

Alongside ‘A Film I Love…’, CFF at Home includes two other key projects later in the year.

Cambridge Film Festival 'In Your Community' logo

Cambridge Film Festival - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

Cambridge Film Festival In Your Community is a partnership with Cambridge City Council to present free film screenings in communities across north Cambridge, alongside a training scheme to develop the skills necessary for young people across Cambridge to deliver film events themselves in their own communities.

CFF Youth Lab Logo

CFF Youth Lab - Credit: Cambridge Film Festival

CFF Youth Lab, which launched in 2019 and is being expanded, is an exciting film education initiative focusing on young people’s film evaluation and criticism skills as well as encouraging communication and team working.

Open to anyone aged 16 to 24, the CFF Youth Lab gives participants unrivalled access to filmmakers and industry professionals through workshops, talks, and discussion groups.

It also places them at the heart of CFF’s awards process through the new Young People’s Film Award.

The Young People's Jury at the 39th Cambridge Film Festival 

The Young People's Jury at the 39th Cambridge Film Festival - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Film Festival 

CFF at Home is made possible by BFI’s Film Audience Network, with the support of The National Lottery.

  • Full information about all aspects of CFF at Home can be found at