Are you tired of the same old blockbuster hits dominating your movie nights? Do you crave something fresh, something daring, something you've never even heard of? Look no further than the Romford Film Festival, where cinematic wonders await to enthral and inspire you.

Running from May 24th to May 28th, the Romford Film Festival promises five days of cinematic bliss. Nestled within the heart of Romford's Premiere Cinema, this festival transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, offering a curated selection of 150 features and shorts that span genres, budgets, and borders.

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But why should you venture into the realm of indie films and hidden gems? Festival Director and Co-Founder, Spencer Hawken, sheds light on the allure of this cinematic extravaganza.

Romford Recorder: Lucy Davis in Have A Good DayLucy Davis in Have A Good Day (Image: Have A Good Day)
"Come and see films, learn about film, talk to film makers and have some unique experiences," says Hawken. "There is never just one film running at a time, there will always be something on for everyone." With screens operating from eleven in the morning until midnight, attendees are spoiled for choice with, at points, four films screening at once, ensuring that boredom is simply not an option. "In total we have roughly 30 world premieres and about 45 UK premieres showing over the course of the festival, so people always have a wide range of choice as to what they can watch."

From the bloodthirsty, bizarre horrors of "Unspeakable Beyond the Wall of Sleep" having its premiere at the festival starring Terminator 2’s Edward Furlong to the whimsical adventures of "Walking Fernando," where Javier Bardem portrays a goldfish with a thirst for exploration, the festival promises diversity and excitement at every turn.

But it's not just about the films themselves; it's about the immersive experience. Picture yourself sipping on film-themed cocktails at the festival bar, mingling with fellow cinephiles, or getting your photo taken on the illustrious red carpet. Romford Film Festival isn't just an event; it's a community, a sanctuary for film lovers to connect and celebrate their passion.

Romford Recorder: Romford Film FestivalRomford Film Festival (Image: Chris Harvey)
And let's not forget the star-studded guests. "You never know who is going to turn up," Hawken reveals. Previous Hollywood icons like Robert Davi of The Goonies and Die Hard and Luke Goss have attended, while Hollyoaks Terri Dwyer and Gavin & Stacey’s Larry Lamb, Holby’s Sarah-Jane Potss and Husband Joseph Millson and even the late Rutgar Hauer have all been to Romford Film Festival, the festival attracts a dazzling array of talent, often allowing attendees the chance to rub shoulders with some amazing stars.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to attend is the opportunity to discover tomorrow's cinematic sensations today. "A lot of films that end up as hits, nationally and worldwide, often start off at film festivals," explains Hawken. "So some will make it, some may not, but you'll get to see a lot of these films before other people and talk to the people that make them."

With ticket options to suit every budget, including a £40 pass for access to all events or £15 day passes for a full day of cinematic immersion or £4 slot options, Romford Film Festival strives to make this enriching experience accessible to all.

Romford Recorder: Leslie Ash in the film RuthLeslie Ash in the film Ruth (Image: Ruth)
Among the diverse array of films showcased at the Romford Film Festival, there are gems waiting to be discovered in every corner. Delve into the eerie mysteries of "Roswell Delirium," a science fiction tale set in an American school in Roswell, where UFOs are rumoured to roam. Or experience the thrill of "Class Trip Chaos," a heartwarming family adventure following a group of children on a countryside summer camp excursion.

For those with a taste for the unconventional, "Bien Cuit" offers a unique cinematic experience, boasting a cinematographer with credits on films like "Poor Things," promising a visual feast like no other. Let's not forget the spine-tingling terror of "The Consequence," a short film produced by Cathy Tyson of "Mona Lisa" fame, guaranteed to leave audiences on the edge of their seats. These films, among many others, promise to captivate and inspire, offering a glimpse into the boundless creativity and innovation of independent cinema.

Romford Recorder: Hans Crosses the RubiconHans Crosses the Rubicon (Image: Hans Crosses the Rubicon)
In addition to the captivating lineup of films, the Romford Film Festival offers a wealth of enriching talks and panels, providing attendees with unique insights into the world of cinema. Join industry experts and luminaries for thought-provoking discussions on a variety of topics. Delve into the legal intricacies of filmmaking with Silvia Schmidt, one of the film industry's leading lawyers, as she sheds light on the intersection of law and cinema. Explore the role of producers in shaping cinematic masterpieces with Charlotte Atkinson, producer of multiple short films, as she hosts an open forum on attracting producers to projects.

For aspiring filmmakers eager to take their first steps into the world of cinema, don't miss "A Dummy's Guide to Filmmaking," where a panel of directors, producers, and actors share invaluable insights and practical advice on navigating the complex landscape of filmmaking. These talks and panels offer a unique opportunity to learn from industry insiders, engage in stimulating dialogue, and gain a deeper appreciation for the art of filmmaking.

Romford Recorder: Hugo Santa Cruz and Alexandra Smith at Romford Film FestivalHugo Santa Cruz and Alexandra Smith at Romford Film Festival (Image: Chris Harvey)
Furthermore, the Romford Film Festival proudly collaborates with the Eurasian Creative Guild (ECG), enriching the cinematic experience with a diverse selection of films from Central Asia. Ambassadors from different countries, such as Kazakhstan, bring their unique perspectives to the festival, offering attendees a glimpse into the rich tapestry of global cinema.

But the ECG's contributions extend beyond the silver screen, with art and music sprinkled throughout the festival, providing a multi-dimensional cultural experience. Whether you're drawn to the allure of Central Asian cinema or intrigued by the vibrant tapestry of art and music, the ECG's presence adds an extra layer of depth and diversity to the Romford Film Festival, inviting attendees to embark on a journey of exploration and discovery.

Romford Recorder: Romford Film FestivalRomford Film Festival (Image: Chris Harvey)
Alongside all of these offerings, Romford Film Festival will be hosting a special screening of the classic "Once Upon a Time in America", starring Robert De Niro, on Saturday night at 6pm. Hawkens tells us: "It's the longest ever cut of the film, which has not as yet been seen on a big screen in the UK, it runs for an incredible four hours, ten minutes."

So, seize the moment. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace the unknown, and join in for a cinematic journey like no other. Come for the films, stay for the camaraderie, and leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Romford Film Festival awaits – will you answer the call?

Find out more, and book your tickets now at