Absurd Art House film festival 2022: review

The 2nd Absurd Art House film festival took place on Saturday 9th July, in Blue Town – a small area of Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey which borders the Thames Estuary and the Kent coast in southeast England. There was so much that was wonderful about the event but much was frustrating too.

First the wonderful – this festival encompassed a variety of categories including poetry film and the film selections were varied and there was plenty to enjoy. The event was hosted by a compere who introduced the categories and awards between each selection of films, and the interjection of a live person into the programme really helped the evening to feel engaging. The trophies were fab – each were topped by a banana because all the bananas for the UK are imported through the next door port.

The venue was just brilliant – historic and intimate: The Criterion Blue Town:

“Originally the “New Inn” in 1868 the site became “The Royal Oxford Music Hall”. The following year the building became The Criterion public house, with a music hall called ‘The Palace of Varieties’ situated immediately to its rear. This offered “rational amusement for all classes” including in April 1876, a one armed juggler!”

Now it’s a community heritage centre and cinema where volunteers are welcoming and knowledgeable and intriguing artefacts abound. A friendly bar/cafe provided drinks and refreshments available all evening.

Best Student Absurd – Throng by William Clarke

Now for the frustrating … the time between notification of a successful entry and the event date itself was less than a week. It was luck that I was free to attend, but without some lead in time it can make it more difficult or impossible for many to come along. Or in fact, invite anyone else who might want to join. It’s a big shame the audience wasn’t larger – but you can’t just ‘build it and they will come’. Perhaps unsurprisingly therefore (as of writing this) the website is not up-to-date for 2022 and at present the only complete list of films that were screened is from an Instagram post – which frustratingly doesn’t give a filmmaker name. So I can’t even go back and find people/films quickly by googling.

I know there was me with ‘Because Goddess is Never Enough’, Lee Campbell with ‘The Perfect Crime: A doggy whodunnit’ (because I follow him on Instagram, I spotted his post that he was selected and we met on the night), and Sarah Tremlett with ‘Villanelle for Elizabeth not Ophelia’ (because we’ve met before and I know her work). But I’d like to be telling you more about the other films that I liked – forgive me, I wasn’t taking notes and it’s not worth the detective work.

I can show you the winners – again from an Instagram post:

As for poetry film, the winning film was beautifully shot, read and performed. But it felt more like an advert for the Catalonia tourist board, with what looked like a very large budget (guessing from its numerous sponsors and associations), and the film felt out of place in this quirky Absurd Art House festival.

I would far rather events happen than not, and all of the frustrations are fixable while the core of the event is excellent. I understand the huge volume of tasks that pile up on the organiser of any event and there is always more to be done in less time than is available. I very much hope that Absurd Art House goes onward and upwards and builds a bigger audience for 2023 – the event and the venue deserve it.


  1. Reply
    Greg R 16 July, 2022

    Thank you for posting this review of the Absurd Art House Film Festival. I’m honored and very pleased that my film (Dear Leviathan) was included. I didn’t have an opportunity to attend the event, but I’m glad to read about it. Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Jane Glennie 22 July, 2022

      Do you have a website and/or your film online anywhere? I could add a link in the review

  2. Reply
    Pamela Fakenberg 16 July, 2022

    Thanks for this very interesting review — this is one festival I’ve somehow missed hearing about!

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