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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

Wessex Films on the Red Carpet

Published: 12 March 2015

The Highfield Campus was abuzz with the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood-style film gala as the University and the Students’ Union joined forces to host a charity screening of Fox Searchlight Pictures’ feature The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Monday 23rd February

The gala screening by Union Films in The Cube, kicked-off with Bollywood dancing in the entrance to the Students’ Union, which had been transformed for the night into a Bollywood-style film set. BBC South Today reported live as celebrities and special guests arrived at the red carpet aboard “Marigold Hotel” branded tuk tuks.

The special early screening of the film at the University was arranged by Damaris, an educational charity founded by Southampton-based social entrepreneurs Nick and Carol Pollard. Nick, who is a Southampton alumnus, also announced the launch of Damaris Silver Screen, a project involving Damaris with Age UK, Rotary and University of Southampton medical researchers, which will seek to reach socially disconnected older people – of whom there are 5 million in the UK – and re-engage them in cinema as an enriching social activity, with benefits for their health and well-being.

Members of Wessex Films were on hand to film proceedings, including some sensational dancing by the University’s Kandyan and Bharata Dance Society. A Wessex member, Pippa Short, gives an account of the filming process;

'Once handed our Access All Areas passes, we split into three teams In order to film the different aspects of setting up the event. From rolling out the red carpet to interviews at the special guest reception to even helping decorate the SUSU lobby, a considerable amount of footage was obtained before the evening event had even began. Our task was to produce a video promoting the idea of raising charitable awareness through the premieres of films across the country, specifically in the Rotary community. With access to the red carpet, our cameras could capture the success of the event whilst also evidencing the enjoyment of those who had either been invited to the evening or who had bought tickets. As the night drew to a close, we were able to put down the cameras and enjoy the after party, although our work had not finished there. For the following three days the post-production team pulled a few all-nighters in order to edit all the footage into a three minute video to hand over to Damaris and 20th Century Fox. We found the event to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience, regardless of the short space of time in which to make the video, and were very appreciative of the equipment leant to us from both SUSU and SUSUtv, which allowed us to film even more of the event (although we ended up with considerably more footage than we needed!).
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