The third annual Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is taking place this week, writes Holly O’Mahony…
The event, running between September 7-15, marks a chance to see household favourites on the big screen at a number of local venues. The line-up includes films old and new, and locations range from outdoor sites to pubs and national properties – making it an opportunity to explore venues across the borough, too. All films showing are free to enjoy, although viewings operate on a first-come-first-serve basis, so it’s worth arriving in good time.
Jordan Peele’s 2017 horror Get out is being shown at cafe-cum-workspace artFix Woolwich. The film, starring Daniel Kaluuya as its protagonist Chris and Allison Williams as his girlfriend Rose, was nominated for four awards at the 90th Academy Awards in March this year, winning the awards for Best Original Screenplay.
Hit 2017 musical The Greatest Showman is also being shown in the outdoor location of General Gordon Square in Woolwich. While the film, directed by Michael Gracey, didn’t receive the critical acclaim that La La Land enjoyed earlier that same year, it’s catchy songs and story of a businessman’s rise from nothing to worldwide fame won over the masses.
Other festival highlights include Mel Brooks’ comedy-horror Young Frankenstein (1974). Starring Gene Wilder as the title character and Peter Boyle as the monster, the film follows Dr Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the infamous scientist, who inherits his grandfather’s estate in Transylvania and recreates his grandfather’s experiment to make his own monster. But complications soon follow with the arrival of the doctor’s fiancée. Young Frankenstein is showing at the atmospheric location of Severndroog Castle on Friday September 14 at 7:45pm. Those who attend the screening are also invited to visit the castle’s viewing platform which boasts views of London, and the café will be serving cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks and light meals.
The film festival will also provide an opportunity to see golden oldie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is also showing on Friday 14 but at Shrewsbury House Community Centre Library at 6:30pm. The 1986 musical, directed by Ken Hughes, and starring Sally Ann Howes and Dick Van Dyke, follows what happens when young siblings Jeremy (Adrian Hall) and Jemima (Heather Ripley) meet the beautiful Truly Scrumptious (Howes) and she subsequently falls in love with their widowed father Caractacus Potts (Dyke).
Sister Act is closing the festival on Saturday 15, showing outdoors at General Gordon Square at 7pm. The 1992 musical comedy directed by Emile Ardolino, and starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, follows lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Goldberg), who is hidden in a convent where she becomes the resident choirmaster. The film was one of the most financially successful comedies of the early 1990s, grossing $231 million USD worldwide, and a stage adaptation of Sister Act has enjoyed success on Broadway and in the West End in subsequent years.
The first Free Film Festival took place in Peckham and Nunhead in 2010. The concept has since spread to other boroughs across south London. Each Free Film Festival is run by its own group of volunteers – while equipment, including projectors, are shared – and the festivals aim to bring people together to enjoy films in local places they might not have previously been.
Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is taking place between September 7 – 15, in locations across Charlton and Woolwich. All film screenings are free to attend, operating on a first-come-first-serve basis. www.freefilmfestivals.org/filmfestival/charlton/