01st Jun2018

Southend Film Festival 2018 – Report

by Philip Rogers

The Southend Film Festival celebrated its 10th year anniversary over the weekend and continued to show why it remains one of the most prestigious annual events in the UK for filmmakers. Delivering a strong diverse range of independent films specially selected for the festival, it gives the audience a unique opportunity to see films which they would not normally get to see on the big screen.

The festival creates an amazing atmosphere over the weekend with guests and filmmakers interacting by the bar between films. In fact, the only issues I had was the number of great films playing simultaneously, which often left me divided as to what I should watch. But with such a fantastic line up, whatever you chose you knew that you would not be left disappointed.

Following the initial opening gala on Thursday, where they had a special 50th Anniversary showing of if…. (1968), the main film festival lasted for four days. I was only able to attend two of those days, but with the fantastic range of films being shown and the friendly volunteer staff from The White Bus, I can’t help but feel I missed out on the days where I was unable to attend.

It will be another year before the festival returns, but that doesn’t mean the films will end there. The White Bus continues to hold specialist screening events every month in Southend and we will see the return of the Horror-on-Sea film festival in January. So, if you missed the festival this year, there will still be opportunities to attend some rare screenings in Southend which will keep you entertained until next year.

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Saturday 26th May 2018

KING CNUT (2018)

UK: 78 mins
Directed by Evandro Rosolen
1PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE ROYAL VIEW SUITE

A raw, honest and extremely funny documentary, which tells the story of how comedian Dave Griffiths fought against the fashion industry giants French Connection, for the right to sell his own t-shirt brand CNUT. It seems like a legal battle which one man couldn’t win, but King Cnut really shows what one man can achieve when you make a stand, in this truly inspiration real life documentary.

Short Film:

Fish Tales
A series of short-animated comedy sketches from director Pablo Raybould, about the experiences of two goldfish who reside within a round fishbowl.

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE (2017)

Finland-Germany: 100mins:
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
3:30PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE ROYAL VIEW SUITE

Director Aki Kaurismäki mixes situational comedy and drama in this story about the struggles of a Syrian refugee Khaled and the obstacles he faces when he arrives in Finland. Things seem bleak at first, but when he befriends a former traveling salesman, he gets an opportunity to start a new life.

Short Film:

Rachel
A moving drama which deals with the conflicting traditions of the family and the requests of the deceased. It asks the question, who has the right to choose what happens to the body once someone has passed away?

GUARDIANS (2017)

UK: 84mins
Directed by Mark A.C. Brown
6PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE BALLROOM

A horror-comedy which follows two Live-in Guardians who are thrown together in a creaky 200-year-old house. What seems like a great opportunity soon takes a more sinister turn, as they come under attack from unseen forces. Eccentric characters, lewd dialogue keeps the laughter coming at pace in this unique and very funny horror comedy.

Short Film:

The Weird World of Molly Brown
Molly Brown returns to Southend again with her unique animated shorts, which are creative, bizarre and anything but boring!

NEW TOWN UTOPIA (2017)

UK: 80mins
Directed by Christopher Ian Smith
8:30PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE BALLROOM

Detailing the rise of a new promising utopian town and how it shaped the creative people who grew up there, it is more than just a documentary it tells a story from the perspective of the people who lived there. Delivering both a positive and negative perspective of the town in equal measure, it shows how the town has developed creatively proving it has more to offer than just the rough reputation which precedes it.

Trailer:
Kickstarter trailer for the war series Operation Pegasus

Sunday 27th May 2018

A MAN CALLED OVE (2015)

Sweden: 116mins
Directed by Hannes Holm
1PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE ROYAL VIEW SUITE

An Oscar nominated comedy-drama which tells the story of Ove, an ill-tempered, retired recluse who spends his time between enforcing the association rules of the block and visiting his deceased wife. When a boisterous family move in next door, despite his initial apprehensions a new friendship is formed which soon starts to change his life. A brilliantly heartwarming story which is filled with laughter and tears.

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SISTERS

UK : 87mins : 2018 : Certificate ‘12’
Directed by James Wilsher
3:30PM : PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE BALLROOM

Written in 5 days and based primarily in one location, Sisters proves what you can achieve when you keep it simple and really concentrate of some fantastic characters. Based on the ups and downs of friendships, three friends spend a weekend away in an isolated cottage. They share a drink whilst discuss the events of the past, the future, and over the weekend begin to uncover some surprising revelations.

Short films:

Two short films from director Samuel Turner in aid of Cerebra, The Charity for Brain Injured Children.

A Disability Matter of War
An animated short based on the way children with disabilities were treated differently during World War II and the effects it had

Cerebra: I’m Coming Home
As inspirational short video to raise awareness for Cerebra, The Charity for Brain Injured Children.

LOVE, SURREAL AND ODD (2017)

Turkey: 95mins
Directed by Yilmaz Erdogan
6PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE ROYAL VIEW SUITE

A romantic comedy from Turkey which follows the relationship of four very different couples as their relationships develop and change over the years. For better or for worse it follows their journey from the laughter to the tears, because when it comes to relationships, nothing ever stays the same.

Short films:

Curse Words
Children are swearing at a younger age and it down to the parents, so one dad decides to find out what his daughter knows.

LET HER CRY (2015)

Sri Lanka: 104mins: Directed by Asoka Handagama
8:30PM: PARK INN BY RADISSON PALACE ROYAL VIEW SUITE

An engaging romantic-drama which tackles the unusual interactions between a professor, his family and his paramour after she is invited to stay with them. Looking at the situation from a different outlook, neither of the three leads are made to be fully at fault, so you are able to empathise with each of the characters. Strong performances from the cast and some bold ideas help from the film continues to show how the Sri Lanken cinema continues to evolve.

Short film finalists from the Harvest Film Festival 2017

Trough No. 42 – Joe Spray
A documentary short based around a water trough

Broniow Song – Alicja Rogalska
An untitled film which features a contemporary folk-song on the socio-economic situation of the rural area of Southern Masovia, Poland

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