This Year’s Festival Showcased the Very Best in Independent Cinema
Last month saw the return for the second year of the Romford Film Festival, which drew in film fans from across East London and Essex in equal measure. It was even more successful than last year, and thoughts are already turning to 2019.
When Romford announced that it would be holding a film festival last year, there were certain cynics who questioned whether anyone would turn up. Yet the success of the event went a way towards demonstrating that Romford is becoming something of a cultural hub. This year, the event returned for a second year and featured more films and a higher turnout.
The news comes as no surprise to one estate agent in Romford that has seen a rise in people wanting to move to the area following the regeneration that has taken place over the past decade and is still ongoing.
Romford film festival
The festival took place at the Premiere Cinema at Romford’s Mercury House, It ran for five days, from 24 to 28 May, and showed an incredible 120 films, made up of 70 full length features and 50 shorts from 25 different countries. Compare that with the 40 films shown in 2017, and you get an idea of just how much the festival has grown in a single year.
The event was organised by local resident Joseph Sultana, who made good use of social media to reach out to film makers the world over. On the eve of the event, he told the local press that he was “absolutely shocked” by the quantity and quality of the responses that he received from filmmakers who wanted to be a part of the festival.
He said: “We have had animated films from Japan and short films from USA. The quality looks amazing.”
Sultana was right to be excited. The 120 films were screened without a hitch, and the festival enjoyed fantastic attendance rates of around 3,500 attendees from both the local community and further afield.
The five-day festival concluded with a black tie Awards Ceremony. The event was a sell-out, and was attended by Councillor Linda van den Hende, the Mayor of Havering, along with other council members. In total, 14 different awards were presented in categories that included Best Score, Best Director and an extra special award to recognise the local industry, Best Havering Film.
The latter prize was scooped by a comedy short entitled Mumatar, while other award winners hailed from every corner of the globe, and included Rutger Hauer, Luke Goss, Simon Rumley and Tony Klinger.
Looking to 2019
Joseph Sultana is taking little in the way of time to reflect on the success of the event, however. He is already hard at work preparing for Romford ’19. For next year, he intends to run the festival over a full seven days, and to show in excess of 200 films.
He is determined to build on the success of the first two festivals rather than simply repeat them, and says: “We have a brand new team of organisers and judges so we don’t get stale or sit on our laurels and have introduced a flat fee for everyone to make it easier for people to enter.”
Next year’s festival will take place at the same venue, and will run from 21 to 27 May 2019.