Written by Emily Fox.

Phoenix, Leicester’s independent cinema and art centre, is teaming up with De Montfort University’s film studies department to host a free online film festival this month, as part of its Phoenix at Home programme.

Running from 21-25 April, Blossom Film Festival will explore the themes of growth, hope and new beginnings – notions that strike a chord for many in current times – through a range of free films and events, including Phoenix’s popular Mystery Film night where no-one knows what is screening until the film actually starts.

An annual collaboration between the two organisations, the festival is curated and delivered by students and staff from the film studies degree at De Montfort University, in conjunction with Phoenix.

With cinemas still unable to open, this year’s festival has moved entirely online and will bring the magic of cinema direct to people’s homes.

All of these one-off events are free of charge, and the festival aims to mirror the much-missed cinema experience through ‘watch along’ events at specific times, with the audience able to interact with each other via a live chat room.

The festival screenings include family favourite Toy Story, empowering film Suffragette and comedy-drama Hunt for the Wilderpeople. More information about the screenings, including technical details and how to book, can be found on Phoenix’s website. All attendees will be emailed a link in advance to access the screenings online.

The festival has teamed up with Filmbankmedia, an international film distributor, to provide an online streaming player for several events. Other films in the programme are accessible via the subscription streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Phoenix is an independent cinema, digital art gallery and Café Bar in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Phoenix is a registered charity which aims to bring inspirational film and art to all. 

Launched a year ago, just after the first COVID-19 lockdown began, Phoenix at Home brings together a host of online content, handpicked by Phoenix’s creative team, to offer a diverse range of film, online courses, digital art and creative activities.