30th May2018

Southend Film Festival 2018 – Gala Evening Report

by Philip Rogers

2018 marks the 10th anniversary for the Southend Film Festival which opened up on 24th May with the hugely anticipated black-tie gala. The festival has continued to grow year on year and is now recognised as the biggest film event in Southend and one of the most prestigious annual events in the UK filmmakers calendar.

Opening the festival this year was a very special screening of Lindsay Andersons if… for the 50th Anniversary. A fantastic satire of English public schooling, which went on to launch the careers of the films many young and talented actors. As expected the film was screened to a sellout audience, with many celebrity guests and VIP’s in attendance which included the festivals patron Vikki Michelle. The screening was made extra special as four students from the original film; Robin Askwith, David Wood, Brian Pettifer and Richard Everett were also in attendance for the film. Malcolm McDowell was hoping to attend, but due to filming commitments he was unable to make the event. It was however nice to see him talk about the film in a prerecorded video before the screening, as you can see how much the film still means to him now. Following the screening there was a short Q&A with the original actors from the film.

As well as celebrating the film David Wood was also there to promote his new book called FILMING if…. which is a first-hand written memoir about his experiences working on the film. With a foreword by Malcom McDowell and an after foreword by George Perry this is a book for fans of the original film and filmmaking in general and a perfect way to celebrate the films 50th Anniversary.

if…. Is certainly a film which has stood the test of the time and it was amazing to see the film on the big screen. Whether the audience they were seeing it for the first time on the day or for the first time in 50 years. It is still a powerful piece of cinema which remains as effective today, as it was when it was first released.

The Southend Film Festival ran until 28th May 2018. You can find out more details about the events on the website: https://www.southendfilmfestival.com/ and check out a gallery of image from the opening gala event below:

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