Lights , camera, action…

Filming by students of the I Am Only Human After All workshop being run by Portsmouth Film Society is taking place around the city the weekend of 23 March.  The films will premiere at a red carpet event to be held at the New Theatre Royal on the 30th of May.  These short films will also be screened at other local events this year and be entered into competitions.  You will also be able to view them online.

The films being made by first time Portsmouth filmmakers reflect on important local issues such as homelessness, substance misuse, people in recovery, disabilities and multiculturalism.  The class also includes students who are actively involved in support of these communities.

Portsmouth Film Society (PFS) continues to deliver on its mission to use film to help break down social barriers and unite diverse cultures.  Throughout the 20 week course held at the University of Portsmouth, students are being introduced to all aspects of filmmaking encompassing scriptwriting, casting, directing, filming and film editing.  The curriculum includes lectures by local filmmakers and an inspirational tour of Sony’s Pinewood Studios in London.

“We are encouraged by the talent and dedication of the students and intend to apply and enhance their writing and cinematic skills in future PFS projects.” says chair Cecelia Young.
PFS plans to conduct similar courses in the future and are delighted to have received the Awards For All, Big Lottery, which is making this project possible.

For more information about the class and to purchase tickets for the 30 May Premiere please go to

Spotlight – Review

Released – 2015    IMDb Rating – 8.1/10   Genre – Crime, Drama, History 

Portsmouth Film Society Rating – 

The Oscar-nominated Spotlight is a journalistic thriller!

Spotlight is directed and written by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, and features big name actors such as Mark Ruffalo ( seen in such films such as Avengers and the Incredible Hulk ) and Michael Keaton ( also featured in Need for Speed and Robocop ).

The film, a true story, revolves around how the Boston Globe, under their first Jewish editor at the time, took on abusive institutions of a city where Catholicism is the way of life, and priests and the police worked hand in hand…

Liev Schreiber ( portraying Marty Baron ) sets the investigative journalism team, nicknamed ‘Spotlight’ on an old story regarding a priest, and around whom accusations of child abuse continue to multiply.

Initially, the journalists are reluctant to pursue an issue that could essentially implicate the holy hierarchy in a negatively portrayed scandal, but soon enough they find themselves discovering a wide-ranging and systemic cover-up…

Spotlight is a crime thriller which will have the audience glued to their seats for the entirety of the film…

Letters from Baghdad – Review

Released – 2016    IMDb Rating – 6.8/10   Genre – Documentary

Portsmouth Film Society Rating – 

“The Queen of the Desert – The woman history erased”.

British explorer Gertrude Bell (1868 – 1926) is brought back to life in Letters from Baghdad, a documentary which also accompanied by Tilda Swinton’s voice-over.

Known widely as the ‘female TE Lawrence’, Gertrude Bell was seen as one of Britains most powerful women in her time and helped to shape Iraq’s destiny after WW1.

Directed by Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl, Letters from Baghdad is a carefully researched and detailed documentary which takes a look at Gertrude Bell’s journey through Iraq and how she had a hand in establishing the state of Iraq.

All visuals are in black and white, and this matches the wealth of archive footage that is used to tell the story.

Tilda Swinton features throughout using a voice-over and reads extracts from many elegantly written letters sent to her by Gertrude Bell, including stories of exploring the desert and learning new languages such as Farsi and Arabic.

The documentary adopts an interesting snapshot approach to Bell’s career, switching seamlessly between to her childhood, to her later life whilst working in the government, as well as her direct influence within Iraq.

In Between – Review

Released – 2016     IMDb Rating – 7.4/10   Genre – Drama

Portsmouth Film Society Rating – 

“Some people live in palaces, but God knows what their life is like inside…”

Faith vs Independence… Family vs Fulfilment

In Between is a story of three Palestinian women who each struggle to fit two completely different cultural lifestyles within their daily lives. Freedom and repression, religion and secularism, and the past vs the future.

Mouna Hawa (Laila) features as a chain-smoking, big drinking personality, alongside Sana Jammalieh (Salma) who is a gay aspiring DJ, and Shaden Kanboura (Nour) who is a strait-laced and studious cultural girl.

Despite at first glance, it may look like the three woman all have different lifestyles and unique ambitions, but scratch the surface of their lives, and the problems each face are not so dissasimilar.

Witness this thrilling drama as the three women struggle to fit their free lifestyles with their strict cultural traditions!

The Big Sick – Review

Released – 2017    IMDb Rating – 7.7/10   Genre – Drama, Comedy, Romance

Portsmouth Film Society Rating – 

Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan star in The Big Sick, a hilariously interesting romantic comedy!

Produced by Judd Apatow, and based on a true story, this film is not only free of irony cynicism, but this date movie will also have you on the edge of your seats…

Stand-up comedian Kumail comes from a standard Asian family background – where arranged marriages are the only choice. However during one of his shows, a heckler (Emily) changes Kumail’s perspective on love and marriage, and what follows next is a secret romance, much to the ignorance of Kumail’s parents who are in the process of finding a girl for him.

However, once their secret is out their relationship reaches breaking point – Which side will Kumail choose? Things only get worse when Emily suddenly falls into a coma with a mysterious infection…

This romcom is a culture-clashing thriller, containing modern edge that will leave audience choosing sides!

PFS and Portsmouth University celebrate 4th LGBTQ+ history month with film festival!

Portsmouth Film Society is proud to announce Portsmouth’s deputy Lord Mayor, Councilor Lee Mason, will open the fourth Portsmouth Pride LGBTQ+ film festival!

This will take place on Wednesday 7th February 2018, at 7 pm. University of Portsmouth’s Equality and Diversity officer, Dave Small, will also be present and will do an introduction talk for the opening film of the event, God’s Own Country.

LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and others) history month takes place across the UK and around the world every February. Its purpose is to celebrate the lives, achievements, as well as promote awareness of the LGBTQ+ community.

As part of the celebrations the University, supported by the LGBTQ staff forum and LGBTQ+ student society, is proud to be supporting a range of events throughout the month.

The Eldon Building, home of the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, located on Winston Churchill Avenue, will be lit up the rainbow style in order to mark support!

Portsmouth’s Pride LGBTQ+ film festival 2018, which celebrates its fourth year, will once again be partnering with the University to screen LGBTQ+ related films across the entirety of the month. The festival will be launched on Wednesday 7th February prior to the screening of ‘God’s own Country’ at7 pm.

“The university represents a large body of staff and students and therefore it’s important to mark the LGBTQ history month. We find ways to work with community groups such as the Portsmouth Film Society to raise awareness of equality and diversity in the city,”Dave Small – University of Portsmouth’s Equality and Diversity officer. 

“There are increasing numbers of young people in the UK, and information around sexuality and relationships are limited. Portsmouth Film Society is proud and pride to encourage interest in films as a medium for public education, information, and entertainment by means of the exhibition of films of artistic, cultural or informative character. We are most grateful for the support of Peccadillo Pictures and The University of Portsmouth for our festival.”Aysegul Epengin – Portsmouth Film Society Coordinator. 

The programme will be as follows:

Wednesday 7 February – God’s Own Country (105 mins /15 /UK /2017)

This film is a romantic drama in which a young man struggling with both his sexuality and the challenges of running the family sheep and cattle farm falls in love with a Romanian migrant worker employed for the lambing season. It’s a transporting and wrenchingly acted love story set in the windswept wilds of the north of England. The film will be preceded by a launch reception at 7 pm.

Wednesday 14 February – Tom Of Finland (114 mins /18 /Finland /Sweden /Denmark / 2017)

A decorated officer, returns home after a harrowing and heroic experience in World War II, but life in Finland during peacetime proves equally distressing. He finds peace-time Helsinki rampant with the persecution of homosexuals, with gay men around him being pressured to marry women and have children. Touko finds refuge in his homoerotic drawings of muscular men, free of inhibitions. His work, made famous by his signature “Tom of Finland”, became the emblem of a generation of men and fanned the flames of a gay revolution.

Wednesday 21 February – In Between (103 mins /15 /Israel /Palestine /2017)

Three Arab-Israeli women attempt to balance faith and tradition with their modern lives while living in the heart of Tel Aviv. Directed by Maysaloun Hamoud. The director calls this “an authentic picture of a kind of invisible life that we live here as a younger generation of Palestinians” and it’s a claim that seems to ring true. Cinema expert Dr. Yael Friedman from UoP will introduce the film.

Further details of the screenings can be found at the Portsmouth Film Society webpage

Screening location: Portsmouth Film Society Eldon Building, room 1.10 – Winston Churchill Avenue Portsmouth PO1 2DJ


Ten films to look out for in 2018!

New year, new films!

2017 was a thrilling year for new movies, with CGI production and film storylines only increasing in quality. However, as a new year begins, there are already signs that 2018 will be another amazing year for movies and films across the world. Here are PFS’s top TEN films to watch out for in 2018.

10. Venom  Release Date – 5 October

If you know about Spiderman, you will know about Venom!

Sony is finally launching its spin-off collection of Spider-Man movies in 2018, with currently three movies planned for release. Venom is the first and features Tom Hardy as the leading villain! Spider-man fans and comic book readers have been asking for this for many years now, and with only 9 months to go until its release, we cannot wait!!!

9. The Purge: The Island  Release Date – 6 July

Who doesn’t love Purging?

This will be the fourth installment in James DeMonaco’s horror-dystopian premise, which goes with the idea where all criminal activities are suspended for 12 terrifying hours each year. This particular movie takes place before the three other Purge films on Staten Island,  and will aim to give the viewers an insight into how the Purge became one of America’s most popular cultural events.

8. Tomb Raider  Release date – 16 March

Tomb Raider is the third adaption of the video game. Directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug, and featuring Alicia Vikander, this film will join the latest of many rebooted video games. Let’s hope this film will better the other two, which were… Interesting, let’s just say!

7. Peter Rabbit  Release Date – 16 March

If you don’t know about Peter Rabbit,  you haven’t lived!

Peter Rabbit is the latest adaption of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious and sneaky rabbit who attempts to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden to try to get his hands on…  Can you guess it? Carrots!! This film features some huge actors and actresses, including Margot Robbie, Matt Lucas, and James Corden! Can’t Wait!

6. Bohemian Rhapsody  Release Date – 28 December

A Classic Reborn!!

Queen were one of the most iconic and popular band’s of the 20th century. Releasing three days after Christmas 2018, this biographical drama film will be written by Anthony McCarten and will focus on the 15 year period of the band. Queen band members Brian May (guitarist) and Roger Taylor (drummer) are also serving as the film’s music producers.

5. Ocean’s 8  Release Date – 22 June

Sandra Bullock and Rihanna lead an all-female cast in a spin-off and a sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy of films which first came out between 2001 and 2007. The film also includes a number of guest cameos from star actors and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Zayn Malik, and Serena Williams! Who will they be robbing this time?!

4. Avengers: Infinity War  Release Date – 27 April

The beginning of the end…

This highly anticipated film features Thanos, (the villain from The Guardians of the Galaxy) who is invading planet Earth, and the Avengers are divided… Infinity War will be split into two films, with the second half releasing in 2019!

3. M:I 6 – Mission Impossible  Release Date – 27 July

This will be the 6th installment of the Tom Cruise action film franchise that first kicked off in 1996. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also successfully directed the last Mission Impossible  (Rogue Nation), the film also will see the return of familiar actors such as Simon Pegg (who plays Benji) and Alec Baldwin (Alan).

2. Mary Poppins Returns  Release Date – 21 December

Emily Blunt returns in this childhood classic film who takes the grown-up children of Michael Banks on a joyride and exciting adventure! Colin Firth and Meryl Streep also feature in this sequel!

1. Incredibles 2  Release Date –  13 July

How long have we waited for this?!

Everyone’s favorite family of animated superheroes is back – and about time too! The first film was released back in 2004, with fans of all ages asking Disney for a sequel for years! The film will also reveal baby Jack-Jack’s new and emerging superpowers, with the film also featuring Incredibles regular Frozone (voiced by Samuel Jackson)!

Land of Mine – Review

Released – 2015    IMDb Rating – 7.8/10   Genre – Drama, History, War, Action

Portsmouth Film Society Rating – 

Land of Mine is a dramatic, tough and shockingly violent film about an event that occurred around the end of the second world war. Once the Germans had surrendered in 1945, thousands of Nazi soldiers were ordered to clear thousands of mines that were planted throughout the Danish coastline. Not only was this highly dangerous and a potentially suicidal mission but was also something commanded by the Danish authorities as a punishment for their defeat.

Nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, Land of Mine is not only a powerful war movie but is also a thrilling and fascinating watch.

Directed and written by Martin Zandvliet and starring Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, and Joel Basman, Land of Mine is an oppressively and enthralling tense drama which follows a squad of German soldiers, many of them young and teenage boys, as they clear the beaches.

Director Zandvliet uses sound – and sometimes the lack of it – to expertly portray the tensions going through the soldiers in the challenging situation. Roland Møller features as a brutal and tough Danish sergeant and is terrific throughout, and ultimately becomes the young soldiers’ protector.

Land of mine is a powerful and emotionally moving film and will leave you on the edge of your seats. Follow the journey of the German soldiers as they struggle to return home once their troubles are complete.


Ten films to watch during the Christmas holidays!

Ho Ho Ho! Santa Claus is comingggg to town!

Santa Claus is coming to town!

With Christmas around the corner, and the weather making it impossible to venture outside, here are our top 10 films to watch during the Christmas holidays, meaning you can stick the kettle on, get comfy and enjoy some classic films!

10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

At number 10 is a Christmas classic! Released in 1993, this film follows the life of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town. Bored of doing the same thing every year for Halloween, Jack stumbles onto the joys and beauty of Christmas, before facing the task of showing his fellow friends of bats, ghouls and goblins the magic Christmas time brings! Not only is the Nightmare Before Christmas a family-friendly film, it is a must-watch classic during the festive holidays!

Jack Skellington of Halloween Town

9. Elf (2003) – IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

If you haven’t watched Elf, have you ever really enjoyed Christmas?!

Elf is a fantastically funny film, starring comedic genius Will Ferrell. Buddy is an elf who finds himself out of place in the North Pole due to his size and sets off to the big bad New York to find himself. Not only will this film have you falling around in laughter, it is also a film that will allow you to appreciate the good things you have in life!

Will Ferrell as Elf

8. A Christmas Carol (2009) – IMDb Rating: 6.8/10 

This is a classic Christmas film, and the latest in a series of remakes and adaptions over the years. This version features the superb Jim Carrey. Not only is this film perfect for all ages, it will also teach you about the magic Christmas brings, as well as making you acknowledge your family and friends over materialistic goods.

A Christmas Carol

7. The Snowman (1982) – IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

This is another absolute classic and a must-watch Christmas film!

A young boy makes a snowman on Christmas Eve, which comes to life and takes him on a magical adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. This film is famous for featuring the all-time classic Christmas song ‘Walking in the Air’ and is a perfect film for anyone wanting to get into the Christmas spirit!

The Snowman is an absolute Christmas Classic!

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

This film is based on the book by Dr. Seuss and is about the magical land of Whoville, which exists inside a snowflake! All the Whos (The citizens of Whoville) love Christmas, but the Grinch is a nasty creature who despises the festive period and attempts to steal the holidays. Find out what happens, as this film is a classic for all ages!

The Grinch

5. The Santa Clause (1994) – IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

Is Santa Claus real?

Scott Calvin (played by the legend Tim Allen) tries to break it to his 6-year-old son that Santa Claus is not real, only to accidentally kill the actual Santa Claus. Follow Scott’s amazing journey as he steps into Santa’s shoes to save Christmas! This is another classic festive film, and will have you glued to your tv’s!

Is Santa Claus real?!

4. The Polar Express (2004) – IMDb Rating: 6.6/10 

This film is a wonderfully animated adventure film, featuring the North Pole!

A young boy jumps on a train to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus and instead finds himself on a journey of self-discovery and magic. Not only will this film leave you excited for Christmas, but also shows you that the wonder of life never fades for those who always believe!

The Polar Express

3. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – IMDb Rating: 7.9/10 

As the saying goes- Old is always Gold!

Will the real Santa Claus please stand up? This film is another classic – and will have you glued to your tv’s to find out who is the real Santa and hypnotized by the magic Christmas brings. Whilst there have been many remakes and adaptions to this film, the plot remains the same throughout!

Will the real Santa Claus please stand up?

2. Frozen (2013) – IMDb Rating: 7.5/10 

Let it gooo!

Join Anna, Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven on a journey involving lots of snow, mystical trolls, and a hilarious snowman called Olaf. Whilst this may not be a direct Christmas film, this will have the whole family enjoying the festive spirits and bringing lots of laughter!

Olaf the Snowman

1. Home Alone (1990) – IMDb Rating: 7.5/10 

If you haven’t watched Home Alone, you’re in for a real treat!

When eight-year-old Kevin is left home alone for the Christmas holidays, he finds himself in heaven; eating what he wants, watching what he wants, and more importantly – doing what he wants! However, when two sloppy burglars attempt to take advantage of what they think is an empty house, Kevin must grow up and defend his household! This film is a Christmas time classic – and a family favorite!

Home Alone!



“I Am Only Human After All” workshops in full flow!

Over the last few weeks, Portsmouth Film Society (PFS) have been hosting community workshops within university buildings. These workshops aim to work with individuals who have been neglected and ignored within our society. Now five weeks in, the workshops have been going in full flow, with a packed class-room every week!

The workshop’s main goal is to use film and photography to help break down social barriers and unite diverse cultures and bring people from all ethnicities, races and ages together for a good cause. Coordinated by Aysegul Epengin, who is not only the founder of PFS but a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth, these workshops not only help people discover and learn new skills and talents, but hope it can bring light to people’s lives, with the individuals being referred by charities such as the Salvation Army, Recovery Café and Empowering2change.  These individuals have battled with homelessness, substance misuse, and multiculturalism, and this project hopes to help people move on from past troubles by educating them to gain new skills.

One session was about photography skills. Each member of the project was asked to bring still images of landscapes or holiday memories with them from the last workshop, and this task was heavily participated in by all members. Aysegul discussed each photo, citing its positive and negative elements, and how this could be improved in the future. Not only were all the members highly passionate towards this task, but this showed that despite the society ignoring these individuals due to their past dilemmas, the community have come in to help.

I am Human After All is a project that will be running for 20 weeks until the 25th of April, and is a free course for adults. PFS’s chair Cecelia Young said: “At the end of the project, we hope the people involved will gain a sense of achievement in making the film, be more confident, be more reflective in public, gain a feeling of being accepted and being clearly human.”

This project helps the unfortunate to tell their story, and help others to tell theirs using film and photography, and those wanting to take part should get in touch with the PFS at