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Romford Film Festival 2019: 100 films showcased from around the world

PUBLISHED: 15:55 26 June 2019

Judges from Eurasian Creative Guild, Sölvi Fannar, Mayor Michael Deon Burton and Dr. Nadi Fadina. Picture: Mark Sepple

Judges from Eurasian Creative Guild, Sölvi Fannar, Mayor Michael Deon Burton and Dr. Nadi Fadina. Picture: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

The third Romford Film Festival screened 100 films across five days and attracted about 1,000 people.

Filmmaker, Dale Lessoway at the awards ceremony. Picture: Mark SeppleFilmmaker, Dale Lessoway at the awards ceremony. Picture: Mark Sepple

The festival was hosted by Premiere Cinema at Mercury Mall, Romford, from June 6 to 10.

Many of the films were screened up to year before their release dates, while 30 Q&As were held with the directors, actors, writers and producers.

The event concluded with an awards ceremony giving out 30 awards.

This year, the festival teamed up with the Euroasian Creative Guild to give representation to countries not typically known for cinema, such as Kazakhstan, Georgia, Iran and Afghanistan.

The Mercury and Premiere Cinema team, Kris Tiwari, Natalie Bays, Craig Rutherford and Spencer Hawken with founder of the Eurasian Creative Guild, Marat Akhmedjanov. Picture: Mark SeppleThe Mercury and Premiere Cinema team, Kris Tiwari, Natalie Bays, Craig Rutherford and Spencer Hawken with founder of the Eurasian Creative Guild, Marat Akhmedjanov. Picture: Mark Sepple

The first festival was created three years ago with the ethos that "every film deserves a screen". Local filmmakers felt there was an injustice in the film festival circuit.

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"The system is very twisted. So many people run festivals for the wrong reasons they might give awards to their friends, or take handouts for their films to be seen in a favourable light," said one of the organisers.

"Some of the bigger festivals take hundreds of pounds from low budget filmmakers for the film to be considered when in all honesty, they have no chance of winning."

Work experience film students from Havering College with The Mercury team and founder of the Eurasian Creative Guild, Marat Akhmedjanov. Picture: Mark SeppleWork experience film students from Havering College with The Mercury team and founder of the Eurasian Creative Guild, Marat Akhmedjanov. Picture: Mark Sepple

The organisers of RFF believe that every film is a "labour of love" where a low budget filmmaker devotes hundreds of hours of their time and money into their passion projects and very often without an opportunity to showcase it on the big screen.

"In the UK, 80per cent of films end up never getting seen at all or YouTube or Amazon Prime; it's really quite sad."

Among this year's winners was Safe Spaces, a comedy drama written and directed by Daniel Schechter. Fresh off the screens from Tribeca Film Festival, it swept up the Best Film award and Best Supporting Actress after being nominated in seven categories.

Terry Coker took the Best Local Film award with Guard Of Auschwitz, filmed across Havering and Essex, starring Romford actress Kierston Waring.

RFF is hoping increase attendance even more next year, and encourages people to see films they haven't heard of before, as "today's low budget director can be tomorrow's Oscar winner".

The festival has already set the dates for next year - May 8 to 11 - and is accepting early submissions at discounted rates.

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