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Top 7 reasons to go to a film festival

PUBLISHED: 11:38 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:46 16 March 2020

Meet with directors and stars to ask them what it is like to make and feature in a film. Picture: Mark Sepple

Meet with directors and stars to ask them what it is like to make and feature in a film. Picture: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

The Romford Film Festival kicks off from May 6. Over six days they’ll show 120 films and offer audiences the chance to meet with the filmmakers and producers.

Share your love of film with like-minded people and celebrate seeing films you might not anywhere else. Picture: Mark SeppleShare your love of film with like-minded people and celebrate seeing films you might not anywhere else. Picture: Mark Sepple

This year is the festival's fourth birthday. To help them celebrate, we spoke to the festival's founder, Spencer Hawken, who told us why it's important to support your local film festival.

1. Discover something new at the cinema

Fantasy short film ‘Cactus Boy’ that will be shown at the festival is the work of director and local Romford resident Chris Brake. Picture: Romford Film FestivalFantasy short film ‘Cactus Boy’ that will be shown at the festival is the work of director and local Romford resident Chris Brake. Picture: Romford Film Festival

'This year is the most star-studded show by far - we'll be showing films featuring Susan Sarandon and supermodel, 90s heartthrob Natasha Henstridge and Rolling Stones muse Jane Asher,' Spencer said.

'Through the festival we have a number of features and shorts showing in the UK for the first time, ahead of some of the UK's biggest film festivals.'

'Our opening night will feature a great networking event and three of our most exciting features,' he said.

2. Show your love for independent films

'The festival offers independent filmmakers a chance to show their work and you a chance to see some amazing films you might not see otherwise,' Spencer said.

Local filmmakers can share their talent and passion with a large audience, and you can enjoy a wide range of films from indie cinema to short films and riveting documentaries.

3. Share your passion for film

Take a sneak peek into the world of filmmakers in a two-hour meet and greet session with the directors on the opening night on May 6. Ask them questions and learn from their experience.

On May 8 Rebekah Louise-Smith a.k.a 'The Film Festival Doctor' will be sharing her advice to help budding filmmakers make it onto the circuit and what it takes to make a film.

4. There's something for everyone

No matter what your taste, there's something for everyone to watch.

'I'll be interested to see what people make of 'House Red' by director Coz Greenop,' Spencer said.

'I love a good thriller. This one tells the story of a couple that spend the summer in an Italian vineyard and discover there's a little more body in the wine than they were expecting.'

Spencer also recommended seeing faith-based action film 'The Reliant' that depicts the story of a 19-year-old girl trying to care for and raise her siblings in a society plagued by unrest, rioting and economic collapse.

Follow the Romford Film Festival on Facebook for the festival's cinema listings.

5. Why go to a film festival?

Attend the film festival in support of films and directors from the area.

'I scream on the beach' was shot in Southend. The film pays homage to classic 80's horror films.

'The film is shot as if you're watching it on an old VHS tape,' Spencer said. 'Which only adds to the effect as Emily (Hannah Paterson) tries to solve a murder near the beach at Halloween.'

Fantasy short film 'Cactus Boy' that will also be shown at the festival is the work of director Chris Brake, a resident of central Romford. It tells the story of a grown man that decides to break up with his childhood imaginary friend, cactus man.

'He earned funding to shoot the film in Hollywood. The short features 'Daybreak' and 'We Bought a Zoo' actor Colin Ford,' Spencer said.

There's also a documentary on Havering-atte-bower resident Will Ospreay who juggles his time between here and Japan as one of the UK's leading wrestlers.

6. Enjoy a night at the awards ceremony

At the end of the week, on May 11 at 7pm, you'll have the chance to attend the awards ceremony and learn what the judges think, how they ranked your favourite films and see who they crown the winners.

7. Help the festival continue to grow

'I'm excited to be returning for our fourth year. When we first started planning the festival, we weren't sure what to expect, but I'm proud of what it's become,' Spencer said.

'We just want to see it continue to grow and get better. There's no reason why Romford Film Festival can't sit up there in a list of the country's finest festivals because the quality of the whole event is incredible.'

How much are film festival tickets?

Book tickets online at romford.premierecinemas.co.uk. Individual day passes are £10 per person. A full festival pass is £30 and will give you access to any event or film on throughout the six days. Tickets for individual films go on sale in April.


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