Meet the Local: Matt Bigg, Director of St Albans Film Festival

This year will be the 6th Annual St Albans International Film Festival taking place from 25th June - 7th July 2019. Matt Bigg is the Festival Director working alongside Leoni Kibbey, the Festival Founder.

Matt is the founder of The Collective, a Graphic Design Agency, so I was very intrigued to find out how he got involved with the Film Festival.

How did you get involved with the St Albans Film Festival?

When my friend Leoni (founder director) had the idea to start the Film Festival back in 2009, she asked whether I wanted to get involved. I said yes immediately. From there my role, like the festival has changed and grown over the years.
Photo by Mark Sims
How do you decide with films to show at the festival each year?

We have a theme each year and then try and create a programme to suit that theme. For example, we have had “birds”, last year was “speed” and this year is “classics”. It is exciting.

What does a typical day look like for you when the festival begins?

A lot of walking. 20k to 30k steps per day is the normal. Me and Leoni always meet early, review yesterday’s events, deal with any issues and then plan the current day. We will normally have equipment, screens etc to deliver to venues. Then we will jump on social / email and sort any ticketing or enquiries. Before every evening screening at the Outdoor cinema, we have a big briefing with the whole team and get everyone ready the evening’s entertainment. We end the day with a mug of rum under screen. It is a nice traditional.
Photo by Mark Sims
What's the one thing you love most about being involved with the festival?

The variety of events we put on, is something we are very proud of. We will have something like 40+ events across the city, across almost 2 weeks in a wide variety of venues. We use everything from the Fleetville larder to the grounds of the Cathedral. Venues for 25 people, to venues that hold 500+. People always talk about the Outdoor Cinema, we understand that. However it is the other events that we put on, that make me smile. The programme this year will be our biggest yet.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Currently, I love this lyric from Frank Turner. It seems to sum up everything perfectly at the moment. In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind.
Photo by Mark Sims
What one film do you think everyone should see?

This year, we are showing All is Lost at the Outdoor Cinema. The film will be accompanied with a Live DJ Soundtrack – that should be quite special. Rocky Horror at the Alban Arena is our launch film and that should also be a fun night.

What is your favourite Pub in St Albans?

Ok, the hardest question to answer. So many good pubs, but more importantly so many good landlords. I normally go to pubs, with people that are giving something back to the City. Sean at Dylans and Christo at the Fighting Cocks are great ambassadors for St Albans. They also happen to run great pubs!

What is your favourite place to eat in St Albans?

I have started to walk the Alban Way and eat at the Plough (Dylans again - Sorry). I love the Alban Way, and have that pub at the end is well worth the walk. I also went to Tabure last week. You never ever have a bad meal there. The food is amazing.

What is your Favourite Memory of St Albans?

In terms of the Film Festival, we once put a screen inside the swimming pool at Westminster Lodge and showed Jaws. That was brilliant fun. Seeing Cassette Boy play at Havana to end the 3rd festival in 2015 is still one of my favourite nights in St Albans.

Where is your favourite place to have a coffee/tea in St Albans?

The Pudding Stop. I always go independent. Johnny has done an amazing job.

Where is your favourite place to buy a present in St Albans?

Odyssey vouchers and bottles from the Beer Shop appear often in my gift bags to people.

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