Walking around London, it can sometimes feel as though you have unwittingly stepped onto a film set. The city’s endless streets, eccentric buildings and even more eccentric residents lend themselves perfectly to celluloid’s many moments of triumph, tragedy and passion.
It should come as no surprise then that a new film festival will be taking full advantage of the capital’s movie magic. Opening today the London On Film Festival will offer a full schedule of events highlighting the films and filmmakers who focus on the city.
The brainchild of four childhood friends and film enthusiasts, the festival is running until next Sunday in its West London location.
“There are festivals for Greek film, Jewish film, in all the different cultures,” said organizer Bea Addis. “There weren’t any that focused on London and trying to bring all the different cultures together”.
Each day will focus on a different aspect of London life, looking amongst other things at the people who coexist in the city and the intriguing notion of the capital as a character in itself.
The promised ‘unique cultural programme’ includes a variety of Londoncentric screenings, from Stephen Frears’ 2002 delight, Dirty Pretty Things to lesser known documentaries like The Big Smoke. With in-depth discussions led by industry professionals after the showings, there should be something for every taste.
The runaway hit of the festival looks set to be Grove Roots, a documentary produced by eight young locals following the history of the Ladbroke Grove area, including the rise of the Notting Hill Carnival. Two showings have already sold out, but organizers have added a third date at the end of the festival for which tickets are still available.
The home of the festival is Kensal Green’s 80 seat Lexi Cinema. Opened only last September, the venue is a Social Enterprise Cinema, meaning it is volunteer run and with all profits going to a South African sustainability charity.
The cinema is very much a community venture, and the organizers said they were hoping to represent those community ethics in the festival.
“Its going to be a really fun atmosphere,” said Bea. “We are really hoping to get people involved and engaged with the theme.”
If film isn’t your cup of tea, don’t be deterred. The festival’s many off screen treats include a musical number by a West End star, a fancy dress event, burlesque dancers, and performances by London’s best buskers.
“I’m in love with the buskers,” said Bea. “I think they are incredible”.
For more information about the festival and to book tickets check out www.londononfilmfestival.org.uk or call the Lexi box office on 0871 7042069
The festival runs Tuesday 16th June to Sunday 21st June.The Lexi Cinema 194b Chamberlayne Road
Trailer for Grove Roots: an essential film for anyone interested in London