Airscreen at Cambridge Film Festival
Wednesday, 8 August 2001
A huge 17m x 10.5m Harkness Hall Airscreen took centre stage at two open air screenings during the revived Cambridge Film Festival. Shown as part of the Festival’s first run Children’s Film Festival, the highlight of the week long programme of events took place on two consecutive evenings with free screenings of Disney’s immensely popular ‘Toy Story 2’ and Aardman Animation’s smash hit ‘Chicken Run’, which entertained audiences of some 5,000 late into the night. Registering another first for the Festival, ‘Chicken Run’ was shown in a special subtitled version, making it the biggest screening ever to take place for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.

The Airscreen, a giant inflatable frame incorporating a projection surface from Harkness Hall, was rigged and de-rigged for each show in a little over 25 minutes. A powered air pump quickly inflated the PVC frame, which was anchored by guy ropes to four water-filled ballast weights. No other supporting structure was required. Outdoor screenings have been a speciality of the Cambridge Festival and technicians from the Festival's umbrella organisation, City Screen, are regularly called upon by other organisations for their expertise in this area, so it is with particular pride that the Festival returns with such a spectacular event.

Revived this summer, in association with the Independent, the Film Festival provided Cambridge and its regions with the full wealth and breadth of cinema - from the very big with screenings in widescreen 70mm, to the not so big in the Shortmatic strand; from very early archive prints to debates about the digital future. The Children's Film Festival element, with its own panel of reviewers and Children’s Jury, entertained younger audiences with a host of exciting new films, parties, games and competitions. Overall, a whole programme of events, short films, and brand new features celebrated the best in international and independent film.


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