The New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival 2015 – volunteering again

It really hit home after the festival had finished. It was the bank holiday and we went as a family to the local multiplex to watch the latest blockbusting mega Marvel-lous sequel. Even taking away the decent discount for my loyalty card, it still set me back well over thirty quid.  Not counting the zillion pounds for snacks, water and breathing. In the previous 10 days we had put on 37 events – many of them showing more than one film – and not officially charged even a single bit of cash.  Over and over again, throughout that 10 days, I kept thinking to myself – we give such great value.

The opening event, which we called ‘Friday Night Fever’, was one of my high points of the year so far, and possibly one of my most enjoyable ever sets as a dj.  I can’t even believe that somebody else (my social media mentor and fellow music addict Ken of Funk Wars) had the idea to show my favourite film of all time and then ask me to dj with him after the screening, creating a full on Disco Odyssey just like in the film Saturday Night Fever. It felt like somebody had decided that my dream scenario ought to become real. In the run up I worried that we wouldn’t fill the venue, Number 3 London. I needn’t have worried. The film got everyone absolutely ready to dance (what a soundtrack) and I barely needed to do a thing. Totally packed dancefloor of a whole variety of people – from young to old, be-wigged, dressed up, friends, faces I recognised, people I didn’t know from Barry, Maurice or Robin. I’m still smiling at the thought of it and it’s been (indecently long ago now) almost three months.  Thanks to Jay Alix for some lovely photographs (many of which you see below) and to Ken for his great tunes and for allowing, nay encouraging me to appear in my own dream.

After the exciting opening evening I attended free films every night (but one) for the next 10 days. The thing that struck me over and over was the great variety of what we put on at the New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival.  It was so nice both to see different people at every event, whilst at the same time also to keep seeing the same people at every event. It felt like we appealed to quite a crossover of people this time and, due to some great media coverage, we had some great audiences, even on a particularly drizzly evening for the outdoor pedal-powered screening of Guardians of the Galaxy in Fordham Park (thank you to Electric Pedals for both of our bike-powered screenings).

Here are some more photos to give you an idea of the grand variety of what was in store – AND ALL FOR FREE! (bearing in mind, I only got to a selection of the 37 events).

The Wizard of Oz (bicycle-powered screening)

Other lovely films including Guardians of the Galaxy (bicycle-powered), Julie and Julia, Paddington, Telstar, Hide and Seek and Barber City Blues

Here too is a short film of the festival made by Rosie Oliver of Tickertape Productions.  It is made up of stills of photographs by organisers and volunteers and includes a cameo by yours truly on the audio, so listen carefully!  You will also find some fab photographs of our closing party when we showed The Clash: Westway to the World, and director Don Letts did a brilliant DJ set for us at the Job Centre in Deptford.

In my eyes this was the perfect festival sandwich, it began with music, it ended with music, and it had music (and some politics, and a portion of cake) in the middle.  Can’t wait for next year’s festival. Are you going to get involved too?

As ever, thank yous go to our daddy festival, Free Film Festivals, and to all our venues, friends, pedallers and supporters.  There are 7 of us now – next up is the Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival from 3rd-13th September 2015.  See you there!

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