From 6th to 10th of June the Mercury again hosted the Romford Film Festival, bringing over 100 movies to Romford, some of which were shown a year ahead of their release date. To give representation to countries not typically known for cinema, the Festival teamed up with the Eurasian Creative guild who contributed 16 hours of programming that included movies from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Iran and Afghanistan.
The festival concluded with a spectacular awards ceremony that was attended by ambassadors, actors, directors and countries wishing to invest in UK film. Both Romford Film Festival and the Eurasian Creative Guild shared the stage for the awards that gave out over 30 awards for films represented during the festival.
This years jewels in the crown were Safe Spaces which swept up awards for best film and best supporting actress after being nominated in 7 categories, this comedy drama starred Justin Long and Fran Drescher and was at its second showing having come to Romford fresh from the Tribeca Film Festival. Local Filmmaker Terry Coker bought his film the Guard Of Auschwitz to the festival, scooping up the best local film award. Local actress Kierston Waring who hails from Leigh-On-Sea but lived in Romford scooped up best actress. The film 13 Graves was shown over three weeks ahead of its premiere and was nominated in four categories, winning best actor award for East Londoner Kevin Leslie. Meanwhile the movie Beyond Fury scooped up awards for its director Darren Ward and best supporting actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice.
Greg Burridge also was recognised for his outstanding contribution as an amateur filmmaker, creating an ultra-stylish action movie London Rampage.
The festival had a number of exclusives including a big indie horror that to this day must remained shrouded in secrecy.
The first ever screening in the UK of the 55 year old Kazakh movie My Name Is Kozha was attended by a large audience and made global news channels. The last ever interview of Oscar winning Karen Black. And the UK premiere of the movie Kaddish, which is being hailed as a superior film to Schindlers List focusing on a dreaded secret from the Holocaust that raises its head in modern day Balarus,
Romford Film Festival prides itself on being everything to everyone with a real mix of comedies, thrillers, music documentaries, action and horror films. It also sets itself aside from other festivals awarding places on merit not through connection, every piece of work valuable regardless of budget providing the quality is there.
Over the 5 day event, there were over 30 Q&A sessions allowing those attending to get to know deeper elements of the story, our understand more about the productions as a whole. In addition the Eurasian Creative Guild held a talk where those interested in or currently making film could look to the Eurasian countries for funding of their projects.
The festival has already set the dates of its 2020 festival which will run from 8th to the 11th of May 2020. Again, it will run from Premiere Cinemas. Filmmakers interested in submitting films for next year can do so through Filmfreeway: https://filmfreeway.com/RomfordFilmFestival
There are currently good reductions for early submissions, even if the product is not quite finished.