The Tab Meets: Director of Watersprite Film Festival

LEAF ARBUTHNOT talks celebs, student films and Harry Potter with Marianne Styger, the “goddess” of this year’s Watersprite film festival.

bill nighy Cambridge Cinema Film Harry Potter Watersprite

So you’re the great goddess of Watersprite! What is it exactly?

Yes, I’m the director of Watersprite Festival this year. It’s one of the world’s leading international student film festivals – run for students, by students.

Marianne surrounded by Watersprite paraphernalia


We have an awards part of the competition, where we invite students from all around the world to submit short films. We judge them and give out dazzling prizes, and we have an events side to the festival which is perhaps more relevant to Tab readers, because we have a weekend of free events in March where we invite film speakers, film critics and a variety of people from within the industry to provide talks and workshops.

What speakers have you had in the past? Any slebs?

 Bill Nighy, Olivia Coleman, David Yates, director of the past four Harry Potters…

Harry Potter! 

…Eddie Redmayne…

Which one was your favourite?

My personal favourite was Bill Nighy.

Any liver spots on his head?

I didn’t look too closely, I have to admit, but chatting to him was a definite highlight.


And does this year’s festival have a particular theme?

No, as we try to keep the programme as broad as possible in order to appeal to a wide range of people.

Fair play.

We hope that each year gets bigger and better. I’m super excited about some of the speakers this year.

Who are they, who are they?

You’ll have to wait until February to hear!

No, come on, just tell me quietly. Sneak some names into a hearty laugh.

Ha, ha.

I see. And how do you find managing your work/life balance? You’re a fourth year linguist are you not? Yet you seem fairly unstressed! Such glossy hair!

I have the help of a wonderful committee who are all very dedicated. And I’ve worked on the festival in the past, which is useful. So I’m aware of what needs to happen in terms of deadlines.


But at the same time you’ll probably find me crying in a corner in the MML libe soon.

Some people find the film scene in Cambridge pretty dead. Do you agree?

Yeah. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to start Watersprite in 2009. It’s partly because of the Cambridge workload. But also with the popularity of the ADC, theatre takes precedence as an art form.

Bitches gon’ thesp.


Find out more about what’s in store at