Lewisham and Deptford Free Film Festival: 27th April – 6th May

image: New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival

From this Friday the New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival will provide film screenings, events and shows across the area for residents and visitors. A free film festival in Lewisham is a welcome opportunity for film-lovers and the public alike, as the borough is one of only two in London without a cinema.

Organised by a group of local residents, film groups, and clubs it is the first festival of its kind in Lewisham. It features 20 events; including 10 feature films and 12 documentaries and follows from the successful Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival last year.

Films on show include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II at the Somerville Adventure Playground, where individuals can help power the film. In a similar vein, the first Sherlock Holmes film will be on show at Fordham Park.

Explaining how the festival came about, one of the coordinators of the film festival Andrew Clarke said: “The Free Film Festival set it up; they’ve done two years in Nunhead and Peckham, and they wanted more people to do free film festivals.”

The Telegraph Hill-based artist added: “They approached various people last year and Cinetopia, a film event organisation who put on events around south east London, was one of them. The Free Film Festival ethos is to put on free events in the community so that you are bringing art and you are involving all sections of the community”.

Asked if they would do it again, he said: “It would be great if we could do it next year. We’ve done all the hard work and we’ve learnt many lessons and whoever wants to get involved can”. Funding for the festival has come from the Deptford Film Club’s Deptford Challenge Grant and a crowd-funding project on sponsume.com, which raised over £800 for the festival.

One filmmaker putting a film on show is Jody VandenBurg,29 from Peckham. The Tunnel is about the legendary British comedy club during the 1980s of the same name. The Peckham resident told EastLondonLines that the venue was “a long-gone hive for Britain’s wildest acts: a comedian and a notorious heckler tell the club’s story and that of its infamous compere, unsung ‘godfather of alternative comedy’, Malcolm Hardee.”

VandenBurg said Stephen Frost, who was a friend of Malcolm Hardee, would introduce the screening.  Frost is a  former Tunnel club performer and has an illustrious comedy CV, including Comedy Store Players and Whose Line Is It Anyway”.

Speaking about it, Vandenburg said: “This is my first film, though I did go to art college and did a film production degree so I have made student films and music videos so I’m not completely new to it”.

“I made it between 2010 to 2011, with two friends, Naomi de Pear and Domenico Favata. We began shooting after winning a grant from the Southern Exposure film fund, which is part of Film London’s Borough Scheme.”.

“The Tunnel however is the first step towards making a feature length documentary about the compere and promoter of the club, Malcolm Hardee, who died in 2005. I have been developing and researching a documentary about Malcolm for 6 years.”

The film will be on show at the Big Red Bus at the finale of the festival before the after party at the same venue on Sunday May 6.

Another individual putting on an event is Jade Desumala, a former Goldsmiths, University of London student.  The event she is organising, Attack the Cross!, is an all night celebration of aliens and bass. She encountered problems only last week when the original venue (Release nightclub) was repossessed but the event will now be held at Goldsmiths Students’ Union.

For full listings and more details, see here. The launch night for the festival is this Friday at the Old Deptford Police Station at 7pm.



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