Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ken Loach to do Q&A at New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival

We caught two outdoor film screenings at #NXDFFF last night – just two of the six Free film festival events available yesterday.

Passing by Honey's on the high street at around 7pm we saw high street resident Ryan preparing to show The Harder They Come. A screen was set up in the window for folk to watch from the street. There appeared to be nothing to sit on – Ryan told us we needed to bring our own seating. When we passed by again at 8.15 the screening was in full swing with the audience seated and refreshments on hand from Honey's. A heart warming scene – and a treat for the betting shop regulars who, since the pavement was full, viewed the movie leaning against the shutters on the other side of the road.

Ryan's other curatorial contributions to the festival are The Hustler at Shades Pool Hall on Tuesday (7pm), and the screening of a Vietnamese documentary Surname Viet Given Name Nam in Deptford Market on Wednesday 30th (8pm). The festival works by inviting locals to get involved and work voluntarily to put films of their choice on at their favourite venues. *

We then headed on down to Fordham Park with a blanket and refreshments to watch Attack The Block which was powered by eager peddle pushers on about ten bikes (riding the bikes was a sure way to keep warm if you didn't have a blanket). The picture started whilst it was still light, but good sound and projection ensured a smooth transition into cinematic darkness, and although it was a little nippy, there was none of the rain that plagued the festival's outdoor stagings last year. A great film and a very successful event!

Older readers may recall the free outdoor screenings that took place some time ago in Greenwich Park, sponsored by Stella Artois. With the advantage of warmer weather – and later start and end times – the plague then was the deckchair brigade who paid a premium for a comfier seat and got in the way of other viewers (as happened in Greenwich screenings of the Olympics). No such hierarchy here – unless your restricted view was from behind the voluntary cyclists powering the film projection.

So now to the news (which Twitter followers may have already picked up): we talked to festival organisers Jill and Andrew after the film and heard that Ken Loach may be attending the screening of Spirit of 45 programmed by New Cross Learning for this coming Wednesday 30th April (unfortunately the same time as the Deptford Market outdoor screening). Fans of the documentary and its politics, and those who missed this film last year in the cinema or on the telly may have the unique opportunity to talk to the film maker in a Q&A, as well as listen to the pre-screening talk by The Equality Trust already planned. Check this page for details and updates. If it happens, it's a great coup for both New Cross Learning and the festival.

* Crossfields estate has been invited to take part but no one has yet taken on the responsibility of organising an event. The arches or any of our green areas would make perfect outdoor venues. However, whilst no one may be short on ideas, the problem is ensuring residents are not overly disturbed by a screening that cannot start till dusk and might not finish till after 10pm.

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