That was...Southend-on-Sea Film Festival 2013!
Well, what a fantastic festival we had! Thanks so much to all the filmmakers and actors who joined us to talk about their films, to those who gave special presentations and, especially, to P. H. Moriarty for stepping in as our very special Opening Gala Night guest. You helped make the festival the huge success it was. Thanks also to our sponsors, who gave the festival the scope and reach it deserves and without whom the festival would be much diminished. The Opening and Closing Gala films, Borrowed Time and NFA (‘No Fixed Abode’) were great successes and, in between, we fitted in everything from classics to the most recent Independent productions, with documentaries, World cinema and family favourites in between. Truly ‘something for everyone’, and you responded magnificently. So thanks, of course, to our patrons, without whom I and my team would have been very lonely!
However, there’s no resting on our laurels, as planning starts now for next year (although our new specialised festival – Horror-on-Sea – comes next, in January. You can check this out at www.horror-on-sea.com . So please keep checking back here for updates for 2014.
I’ll see you again then!
Paul Cotgrove, Festival Director
1st May – Hurry: Gala Night Tickets Selling Fast!
Nearly all the public tickets for the Opening Gala screening of Borrowed Time, at the Odeon tomorrow evening, have sold out, so do hurry up if you want to rub shoulders with the many celebrities who will be joining us for this very special occasion. And tickets are selling fast for the Closing Gala presentation, NFA [No Fixed Abode] at the Park Inn Palace Hotel on Monday evening, where we will also be joined by the filmmakers and other special guests. So don’t delay! The remaining tickets for the Opening Gala can only be purchased in person at the Pier Visitor Information Centre (tel. 01702 618747); Closing Gala tickets can also be purchased at the Pier Visitor Information Centre, or on-line at http://www.visitsouthend.co.uk/thedms.aspx?dms=72&shop=15&prod=7155.
29th April – Change to Animation event
We regret that we have had to cancel the Sopot Animation event (scheduled for Monday 6th May at 3pm). We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. However, we are delighted that our good friend Aaron Foster, who produces the short piece of animation which precedes each festival film, and is also well-known for his surreal cartoons, has put together a selection of his own work which he will be presenting. Aaron graduated from South East Essex College in 2008 with a BA Honours degree in Digital Animation and is trained in both traditional hand drawn and digital 2D animation as well as illustration. His work is by turns amusing, imaginative and extremely thoughtful, and this will undoubtedly be an extremely interesting event. We are very grateful to him for stepping in at the last minute.
28th April – Very Special Gala Night Guest
We regret to announce that Festival Patron Ray Winstone will be unable to join us for the Opening Gala screening of Borrowed Time. Ray, who is a wonderful supporter of the festival - and, despite his heavy workload, has been with us for the last three years - was all set to come along, but has sent his apologies due to a family funeral. However, we are absolutely delighted that actor P. H. Moriarty will be coming along to introduce our Gala film. ‘P.H.’ is best known for playing Razors in the classic The Long Good Friday, and was our guest when that was our Gala presentation in 2011. A prolific actor, his credits also include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,Chaplin and Patriot Games - and one of his earliest films was Quadrophenia, in which Gala Night guest Phil Davis also appeared. So that will be quite a reunion, and we are looking forward to welcoming ‘P.H.’ back to Southend.
27th April – Johnny Cash documentary wins again!
We are delighted that My Father and the Man in Black, made by Jonathan Holiff, son of the legendary singer’s manager, has been voted “Best Documentary” at the Memphis International Film and Music Festival. This is the eighth competition award for this amazing documentary – hailed as “A painfully honest twin portrait of manager and artist” (Philip Brown, Toronto Star) - and we are thrilled to be presenting it right here in Southend on Friday 3rd May. Another scoop for the Southend Film Festival!
19th April – Special Doctor Who guest!
Before embarking on a celebrated career as a cartoonist and illustrator, and gaining formal recognition by the award of an MBE, Leigh-based Clive Collins was a film extra. One of the many films he appeared in was Doctor Who and the Daleks, and we are delighted that he will be joining us for a Q&A following that film’s screening (Monday 6th May, at 3pm). Not only will Clive reveal all about his stint as one of the Thal (“tall, glittery and silent!”) but he’ll also talk about life as a film extra in the ‘Swinging 60s’.
16th April – Your local international Festival!
Now that This Is Essex, which was filmed in Basildon, has been added to the programme, south east Essex is especially well represented at this year’s festival. Rather obviously, Canvey Island features in ‘Canvey Shorts’ (Saturday 4th May, 2.30pm) but have you spotted that The Robbery, the short that accompanies the Closing Gala film NFA (Monday 6th May, 8pm) was filmed in Benfleet – and Southend appears in Axed (Sunday 5th May, 5.30pm) and Knights of the Continuum (Monday 6th May, 12.30pm)? And that’s not all: The lead actor in Tortoise in Love (Sunday 5th May, 3pm), Tom Mitchelson, who will be introducing the film, hails from our town. So, while you’re enjoying the films, do keep your eyes peeled for some rather familiar locations!
Older news items can be found here