If you’ve made it this far you’re probably a bit of a film buff. So there’s a pretty good chance you’ll understand exactly what the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is all about. But why a film festival in Sunderland; what’s the city all about… and what else is there to do here? See it Do it Sunderland talk about some of Sunderland’s treats on offer to our visiting film buffs and filmmakers.
If Sunderland was a film, it’d be one of those tricky works that you couldn’t place into one genre. Where the story line grips you and reels you in, is never as you expected it, but leaves you with a feel good factor that is hard to put your finger on.
Sunderland is a city by the sea with miles of golden sands and all the traditional fun of the seaside. But it’s also on a major river, the Wear. It’s got a busy and vibrant city centre. But it’s also within minutes of rolling countryside. It’s home to new and exciting creative industries. But it’s got a phenomenal heritage ranging from early Christianity to heavy engineering.
The city’s twin resorts of Roker and Seaburn have been a favourite spot to relax and unwind, or let off steam, for generations. If you’re coming with the family then it’s a sandcastle builder’s paradise. Either way you’ll have no bother finding refreshment to suit regardless of whether ice cream or a full meal take your fancy.
Just a short stroll through the marina and onto the riverside brings you to the National Glass Centre Sunderland has been big in glass since the 7th Century when Bede brought glass making to the Britain… and modern Christianity for that matter. As well as taking in cutting edge glass and ceramic arts, there are opportunities to get hands on in glass making demonstrations. Right next door lies St Peter’s Church , which incorporates parts of the original 7th Century monastery created by the aforementioned Bede and Benedict Biscop. For fact fans, it’s right here where the date of Easter was set.
Even in the middle of Seaburn’s sandy beach, you’re only minutes away from the city centre where Sunderland Shorts is hosted. Obviously you can expect a good choice of pubs, bars, restaurants and shops. On top of that there’s the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art to investigate. If you want a sneak preview of the next big thing in contemporary art then this is the place to be. Names like Sam Taylor-Wood and Adam Chodzko shot to prominence after early exhibitions here.
If history is more your thing, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is just around the corner. You can meet local icon Wallace the Lion, see the first Nissan car built in Sunderland or study works by LS Lowry and others. The glass rotunda of the Winter Gardens is home to over 2,000 species that can be appreciated from the ground or an elevated walkway too.
Another of Sunderland’s cultural gems is Sunderland Empire Theatre . It’s the biggest theatre in the North East and the only one capable of hosting the biggest ‘West End’ style shows like Billy Elliott, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, or The Sound of Music. Beautifully decorated in true theatre style, it’s a favoured venue for all manner of big name performers.
Or, if you’ve got time to travel slightly further afield, Penshaw Monument is a must. Modelled on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, it was built as a memorial to the Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. In summer months the National Trust offer the chance to climb to the very top where the views across almost the whole of the North East are simply phenomenal.
That’s far from an exhaustive list of course; we haven’t even mentioned Washington Old Hall , the ancestral home of George Washington, of United States presidential fame, for example If you’re not already convinced, we hope that the warm welcome you’ll get when you visit Sunderland Shorts will change your mind.