Fancy watching a film in a cemetery? Under railway arches, courtesy of a bicycle powered projector? How about in a pie and mash shop, or a wildlife garden?
You could have done all of these if you’d been to the Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival, that ran from 13-23 September. I was fortunate to catch most of the events because I live in one of the best parts of London.
The Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival, now in its third year, is all about showing films in interesting local venues and giving local communities a chance to meet and share their enjoyment of some truly classic films in stunning locations. It’s entirely not-for-profit and events are funded through partnerships with community organisations and other supporters. The festival was awarded a ‘distinction’ for innovation at the 2011 Film Society of the Year Awards.
This time round, the Centre for Wildlife Gardening hosted a rare screening of the cult East German children’s classic The Singing Ringing Tree – as well as Laurel and Hardy shorts accompanied by a live piano soundtrack.
Ken Ashton’s 1972 documentary We Was All One, about the old Elephant & Castle community and decline of cockney culture, was shown at Manze’s pie and mash shop, while Nunhead delicatessen Bambuni screened Jeunet and Caro’s darkly comic Delicatessen.
The grittier side of 1960s London could be seen in vintage documentary The London Nobody Knows, screened at bijou bookshop Rye Books, while ever-popular festival venue Nunhead Cemetery was packed with the living for the much-loved Ealing classic Kind Hearts and Coronets.
This year the festival spawned its own mini festival, Welcome to Busseywood – a 16 hour film marathon held in Peckham’s BusseyBuilding (a former cricket bat factory, and recently home to the Royal Court’s Theatre Local programme).
Spread across four screens over three floors, Welcome to Busseywood mixed themed shorts with work from new filmmakers, documentaries, classic music videos from 1987-2012, and nine hours of film and music celebrating 50 years of Jamaican independence. The day finished with a free club night through till4am.
Something for everyone, then – and in these times of austerity did I forget to mention that all these events were free …? Roll on Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival 2013!