Free films from local to global
By Ann Lazim
Open air cinema has gained in popularity over the last few years with pop up screenings in parks and outdoor spaces. A key element in Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival, now in its 6th year, is showing films in interesting locations. There’s a wealth of open spaces in the area and we’ll be returning to some of the original places this year, including a bike powered screening of Gravity on Peckham Rye and a visual and musical extravaganza projected on the side of the Victorian chapel in the atmospheric Nunhead Cemetery. Other outdoor locations include spaces on housing estates such as a basketball court.
Not all our screenings are outside! We collaborate with local organisations to put on a range of events in pubs and cafes and community halls. Sometimes the idea for a venue comes first followed by the choice of a film we think would work well there. Sometimes the idea for a film comes first. We don’t dream up a theme for the festival. The annual eclectic mix comes from a diverse range of people finding ways to make exciting events happen for free for their local community.
Mysteriously, though, themes have emerged in this year’s programme. Politics and the environment take centre stage in three documentaries being screened. Oscar nominated Virunga, revealing the dangerous situation experienced by those protecting the wildlife in a national park in the Congo can be seen in Glengall Wharf Garden, a locally managed food project on the edge of Southwark’s largest park. Dark Matter digs deep into the effects of weapons testing on the people and landscape of Sardinia. Landfill Harmonic, a film about children living on a landfill site in Paraguay who form an orchestra with instruments made from recycled materials is showing at Southwark’s Waste Management Facility.
Other means of making music feature too. Whiplash, a film about a drummer, is followed by a jazz band. A performance by a Stones tribute band follows a screening of Crossfire Hurricane. Avant garde ensemble a.P.A.t.T perform the world premiere of Pink Fish. And attendees at this year’s presentation by our Women in Film group will be welcomed by African drumming.
Launch & Closing Night
The opening event features rediscovered early 20th century films made at the Gaumont studios on nearby Dog Kennel Hill and will be accompanied by silent screen supremo Neil Brand. Our closing film is SuperBob, the story of a Peckham postman turned superhero, showing at local independent cinema Peckhamplex. The cinema is also host to the final of our Young Filmmakers Competition, an initiative that enables under 25s to get their short films shown on the big screen.
This year’s programme really does go from local to global. On the second Saturday the UK’s biggest one day free festival of African cinema takes place at the Bussey Building. Now in its fourth year, Welcome to Busseywood features a terrific range of dramas and documentaries.
The Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival has inspired others to start up similar festivals in their areas. There is a growing family of free film festivals. New Cross & Deptford, Camberwell, Herne Hill, London Fields and South Norwood & Thornton Heath are about to be joined by Streatham and there are moves in many places to set up others.
What: Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival 2015
Where: In various venues across Pecham
When: 3-13 September
You may also want to check out the Bermondsey Street Festival which takes place on the 19th of September 2015.