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Forget Cannes - South Norwood and Thornton Heath to get their own film festival

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MOVE over Cannes - South Norwood and Thornton Heath are aiming to steal the French Riviera's thunder with a film festival of their own.

The South Norwood and Thornton Heath Free Film Festival will take place from October 25-November 1 with help from London-wide community group Free Film Festivals.

Roney Henderson, the driving force behind the new festival, said she was inspired after attending a Free Film Festivals meeting in Peckham.

Roney, who lives in South Norwood after moving there from Thornton Heath, said: "I studied film at City University London and have always been a huge fan of cinema.

"I went to the planning meeting for the free film festival for Peckham and Nunhead and came away thinking I wanted to be a part of it but that there probably wasn't any space for me.

"So I just thought, 'why not hold one where I live?'."

Roney organised planning meetings at Stanley Halls, which have all been attended by more than ten people and has formed a planning committee.

After plugging the idea online, venues including South Norwood's Stanley Halls, Thornton Heath's Scratchley Hall and Norbury Park Lawn Tennis Club have volunteered to stage events.

Roney said: "We're going to have different-themed evenings and show lots of popular films such as a [Quentin] Tarantino night. He's one of my favourite directors.

"But we will also have cult evenings and we want to have an evening where we just show work from local film-makers.

"There's a lot of talent here – I would love to see a young local filmmaker come out of this having been discovered by people."

Neil Johns, one of the founders of Free Film Festivals, has helped new festivals get off the ground in locations such as Herne Hill, Westminster and London Fields, providing the organisers with equipment and advice.

He said: "I'm very excited this is going to get off the ground. These are sort of postcode festivals and can be very popular."

Roney is also hoping for more involvement from the Thornton Heath community.

"At the moment it's quite South Norwood-centric. If we got both communities involved together it could be great for the area."

Contact snath@freefilmfest ivals.org for more information.

Forget Cannes - South Norwood and Thornton Heath to get their own film festival


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