Celebration of film wraps up biggest yet Romford Film Festival

Harold Wood's Spencer Hawken - The Mercury's centre manager, Netflix consultant and a co-founder of Romford Film Festival

Harold Wood-born Spencer Hawken hosting the awards - Credit: Sandra Rowse

A celebration of local and international filmmakers rounded up Romford's biggest movie festival to date this year. 

From May 19 to 25, 183 films from 150 filmmakers showcased their work at Premiere Cinemas in The Mercury Shopping Centre for the sixth annual Romford Film Festival in 2022, which was partnered with the Eurasian Creative Guild. 

Best Eurasian Feature Film was given to Tygyn Darhan by Nikita Arzhakov in Romford by the Eurasian Creative Guild

The Best Eurasian Feature Film award was given to Tygyn Darkhan by Nikita Arzhakov in Romford by the Eurasian Creative Guild's Eurasian Film Festival - Credit: Sandra Rowse

The selected films represented only 37 per cent of the entries submitted for the international event.

Harold Wood-born Spencer Hawken - who is The Mercury's centre manager, a consultant for Netflix and a co-founder of the festival alongside Natalie Bays - said: "It's been great - we've had Larry Lamb here, he was lovely; we've had some very busy screens; we've had a lot of fun."

He added: "We've had a lot of people flown here from all over the planet - we had representation from eight filmmakers who have come in from the States, we've had people from Australia, Greece, South America, Ukraine."

Romford Film Festival co-funders Spencer Hawken and Natalie Bays

Romford Film Festival co-funders Spencer Hawken and Natalie Bays - Credit: Sandra Rowse

On the closing night, a glittering ceremony saw multiple filmmakers and other industry professionals receive awards. 

This included EastEnders star Larry Lamb, who was recognised as best actor for his role in Old Windows, and Tiggy Bayley, who was named best actress for her part in Tildypops.

Larry Lamb went on a tour of Romford while at the film festival, including visiting Robins Pie And Mash on South Street

Larry Lamb went on a tour of Romford while at the film festival, including visiting Robins Pie And Mash on South Street - Credit: Carrie Kendall

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Old Windows also achieved best screenplay, with writer and actress Laura Bayston accepting the award. 

Laura Bayston with Richard Colton from sponsors Royal Flush Productions at the Romford Film Festival

Laura Bayston with Richard Colton from sponsors Royal Flush Productions - Credit: Sandra Rowse

She revealed on stage that her first job was at Premiere Cinemas in Romford 25 years ago, "ripping tickets to watch Forest Gump". 

Director and actress Sarah-Jane Potts collected the accolade of best short film for her debut film The Magician. 

Sarah-Jane Potts with the best short film award at the Romford Film Festival for her debut film The Magician

Sarah-Jane Potts with the best short film award - Credit: Sandra Rowse

In her speech, she said: "It's overwhelming, I want to say thank you to Romford as you have been so supportive and friendly and it's my first festival so this is amazing. 

"I wanted to make a film about connections and kindness because of how important it is and that goes beyond words and dialogue."

Best documentary was awarded to Kyle Grendys for the work Fraser Syndrome and Me. 

Kyle Grendys of Fraser Syndrome and Me with best documentary awards at the Romford Film Festival

Kyle Grendys, who made documentary Fraser Syndrome and Me - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Filmmaker Kyle is only the 75th person to be born with the rare, recessive gene disorder.

She said: "This is a story about love and unity and community so that's so prevalent here. Thank you for having me and sharing so much love with me and everybody."

Romford Film Festival is in the process of applying to secure British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) accreditation.

Stewart Pink from sponsor Phoenix FM at the Romford Film Festival

Stewart Pink from sponsor Phoenix FM - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Tiggy Bayley, who was named best actress for her part in Tildypops at the Romford Film Festival

Tiggy Bayley with her best actress award - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Filmmakers at the Romford Film Festival 2022's opening night

Filmmakers at the Romford Film Festival 2022's opening night - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Romford Film Festival awards ceremony on May 25, 2022

Everyone who attended the Romford Film Festival awards ceremony on May 25 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Natasha Hawthornthwaite and Scott Bradley of the film Becontree at the Romford Film Festival 2022

Natasha Hawthornthwaite and Scott Bradley of the film Becontree - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Romford Film Festival's Spencer Hawken talking to guests - including actress Sarah-Jane Potts - at the opening night 2022

Spencer Hawken talking to guests - including director and actress Sarah-Jane Potts - at the festival's opening night - Credit: Sandra Rowse

New York filmmaker Alex Rollinsberg at the Romford Film Festival 2022

New York filmmaker Alex Rollinsberg at the Romford Film Festival's opening night - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Councillors and filmmakers at the Romford Film Festival 2022 opening night

Councillors and filmmakers at the Romford Film Festival's opening night - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Cllr Christine Vickery chatting with Michelle Beard at the Romford Film Festival's opening night

Cllr Christine Vickery chatting with guest Michelle Beard at the Romford Film Festival's opening night - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Kat and Paul Philippou-Curtis, who made the film Fire Ants, at Romford Film Festival's opening night 2022

Kat and Paul Philippou-Curtis, who made the film Fire Ants, at Romford Film Festival's opening night 2022 - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Nikky Athan and Gabriel Athanasiou, of the film Astoria, at the Romford Film Festival's opening night 2022

Nikky Athan Gabriel Athanasiou, of the film Astoria - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Craig Talbot and Megan Smith of the film Best Friends at the Romford Film Festival 2022

Craig Talbot and Megan Smith - their film is called Best Friends - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Editor of sponsor Romford Recorder, Franki Berry, announced best local film at the Romford Film Festival awards

Editor of sponsor Romford Recorder, Franki Berry, announced Visitors to be best local film at the awards ceremony - Credit: Sandra Rowse