Romford Film Festival has announced the start of a new “exciting community cinema project” for local people in Havering.

The festival, in collaboration with Havering Changing and Studio Canal, is set to host a special free film screening of Ken Loach's The Old Oak, at Mardyke Community Centre on Saturday (November 18).

Set in a small Durham town, The Old Oak follows TJ (Dave Turner), a publican who, through a chance encounter, befriends Yara (Ebla Mari), a Syrian refugee with a passion for photography. Together, they open the back room of TJ's pub to foster community bonds and celebrate diverse cuisines.

After garnering acclaim at Cannes Film Festival, Romford Film Festival representatives Peter Blunden and Spencer Hawken reportedly initiated discussions with Studio Canal, resulting in this collaboration to bring the film to the community in Havering.

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Mr Hawken told the Recorder that attendees can watch the film, engage in discussions about its message, and enjoy a “culturally diverse meal”. This immersive event, he said, replicates the experience of being in The Old Oak’s community kitchen.

The event, for those aged 15 and over, will mark the beginning of a community cinema project between Havering Changing and Romford Film Festival throughout 2024.

Mr Hawken said the project will offer free film screenings every first Saturday of the month at the Mardyke Community Centre to residents of Orchard Village. These will feature a mix of family movies, recent blockbusters, and "important films through cinema history."

He added: “Some of the movies will have important ties with the area and the community and will include talks with actors and filmmakers.

“The events will also include film related activities including quizzes and maps of locations locally where attendees can become closer to film.”

Havering Changing & Romford Film Festival worked on a similar project in 2022 which included an open-air screening of Star Wars and independent short films hosted by their creators.

The Old Oak event will be take place from 5pm on November 18. Tickets can be booked following this link- The Old Oak - A Community Kitchen Experience Tickets, Sat 18 Nov 2023 at 17:00 | Eventbrite .