Film festival of future ‘greats’ has No Limits

Emily Morgan and Matthew Baren, organisers of No Limits Film Festival, 2011
Emily Morgan and Matthew Baren, organisers of No Limits Film Festival, 2011
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IT is billed as the biggest student film festival ever held in the UK, with 150 movies from 24 countries being shown across ten screens.

“The hardest part about organising it?” Matthew Baren, director of the extravaganza which takes place in Sheffield next month, thinks aloud for a moment. “Probably watching all those films.

“I mean the quality is incredibly high and it’s great we’ve had so many sent in but it’s still a massive effort finding the time to watch them, then categorising and formatting them.

“There have been a few weekends where we’ve just got some food and wine and just watched films for hours, but I suppose you can’t really complain about that.”


It is only the second year the No Limit Film Festival – an event organised by an alliance of Sheffield and Hallam University students – has been held but it already making something of a name for itself within the industry.

This year’s entrants come from a range of countries including Japan, Puerto Rico, Iran, the US, Russia and Turkey, and a Sunday awards ceremony will be judged by DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, who worked on Hollywood smash The Black Swan.

More than 400 people are expected to attend at some point with the screenings taking place at the two university unions and auditoriums, Bank Street Arts and Endcliffe Park.

Not a bad couple of days, all in all, for an event being organised by a team of 10 students.

“There’s nothing like this anywhere else in the country,” says Matthew, 23, who is studying Film Production at Hallam and lives in Hunter’s Bar. “If it’s been made by students and it doesn’t contain anything illegal, we’ll show it.

“That’s why it’s called No Limits – because there really aren’t any. It’s a way for film makers to get their films shown and get some audience feedback.”

Special features at this year’s festival will include a late night lock-in screening of more extreme material (“there’s been a fair amount of blood and gore sent,” notes Matthew), a Cinema In Silence with live sign language and an open air screen at Endcliffe Park – powered by people on bikes. Get fit while you get entertained, it seems.

In total there will be 33 hours of film shown - many are shorts with the longest lasting just 83 minutes - but one question perhaps remains: why, if you’re not a student or a film-maker, should you care?

“It’s a good point,” says Matthew. “But you should care because this is the next generation of great film makers being brought to your city. It’s something different and you might just see something you really like.”

No Limits takes place April 2 – 3. Listings and tickets at

Films You Might Fancy

Meet The Priest: A 46-second short about... a priest.

El Ambidiestro: Spanish film set during the country’s civil war.

Smile Project: A series of shorts made by refugee children in the UK.

All Fried Up: Café-based homage to Pulp Fiction.

Talking Piranhas: Two talking fish narrate the life of a man whipped by his wife. Ikilem: A Turkish piece about women’s rights in the country.