St Albans’ 2017 film festival opens next week and, for the first time ever, there will be outdoor screenings in the St Albans Cathedral orchard.

The five-day event, running between July 5 and 9, is the fourth to be held in the city that opened one of the first cinemas in the country a century ago.

This year’s theme is the mind and other events will include virtual reality at the Clocktower, workshops, speakers, a drop-in ‘Mind Cafe’ and an international short film competition

An all-day screening of all of the finalists in the short film competition will take place at one of the world’s first cinemas, The Odyssey. The restored, art deco building will be also be hosting the awards ceremony on July 9.

The city of St Albans has a filmmaking history. It was the birthplace of Arthur Melbourne-Cooper; the pioneer of moving pictures, as well as being a second home to Stanley Kubrick. In the past four years the St Albans Film Festival has earned its place alongside the bigger international film festivals, gaining credibility and securing Christiane Kubrick, widow of film directing legend Stanley Kubrick, as its patron.

Leoni Kibbey, festival director, says: “In our first three years, we have established a reputation for putting on an innovative and ambitious programme of events.

“One of the reasons we wanted to set up the festival was to create a vibrant community event; an event which enables the community to come together, and celebrate the talent and creativity of the world of film, and connect with each other, in person, over some fantastic story-telling on screen, and escape from the pressures of everyday life.

“This will be an absolutely magical setting in which to enjoy some fantastic films, in the shadow of the stunning Cathedral. I cannot think of a better place for the community to gather over a summer weekend to enjoy some brilliant filmmaking.