Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back for 2019 – here’s how to get involved

Alfred Hitchcock
Organisers are hoping this year’s festival goes without a Hitch (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is returning for eight days this September – and it’s looking for movie fans to get involved with the running of the event.

The Charlton Champion can exclusively reveal the dates for this year’s festival – Friday 6 to Saturday 14 September. If you’re new to the idea, the format is simple – free films screened at locations anywhere in the SE7 or SE18 postcodes.

If you’re looking to put a film on – maybe you have an idea, or you have a venue – then your ideas are welcome, but the team is also looking for people who are also happy to learn projectionists’ skills, rattle buckets, fundraise, or deliver leaflets to help the cause.

One of the most successful events of last year’s festival was a screening of Young Frankenstein at Severndroog Castle – organisers are considering putting on a Hitchcock film there this year. Past events have seen Withnail and I and This Is Spinal Tap put on by at The White Swan, and Battle of Britain at St George’s Garrison Church in Woolwich. There are plenty of other ideas – and you may have your own.

To get involved, sign up to the event’s mailing list or attend its open meeting at Charlton House on Wednesday 27 February at 7.30pm (with drinks at the White Swan after), where organisers hope to start nailing down some of the ideas and preparing a timetable.


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Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival 2018: What’s on this year?

Journey's End (photo: Lionsgate Films)
Saul Dibb’s war drama Journey’s End will screen at Charlton House

This year’s Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival has revealed its line-up, with World War I drama Journey’s End leading the selection of movies being screened at Charlton House.

2018’s event, to be held between 7 and 15 September, sees a range of films being shown at venues across Charlton, Woolwich, Plumstead and Shooters Hill. There’s no charge – just turn up, and throw some coins in the bucket if you can help with the costs of putting it on.

Director Saul Dibb’s adaptation of RC Sherriff play Journey’s End will be on at Charlton House on Tuesday 11 September (7.30pm, doors 6.30pm). Written by a captain wounded at Passchendaele, it depicts a handful of British soldiers “waiting to be killed” in a trench near the end of World War I. Charlton House was used as a military hospital towards the end of the Great War, and historian Clive Harris will give a talk at 7pm about about the real-life events that inspired the production.

Charlton House also plays host to the festival’s third short film competition on Thursday 13 September (7.30pm, doors 7pm), which this year has the theme Diversity and Future. There’s a £500 prize waiting for the winner.

On Friday 14 September (7pm, doors 6.30pm) comedy The Dish rounds off Charlton House’s contribution to the festival. Set in 1969, Sam Neill plays an Australian sheep farmer who has to steer the satellite dish – and its eccentric crew – to bring the Apollo 11 moon landings to the world’s TV screens.

Woolwich’s big screen in General Gordon Square will open the festival on Friday 7 September with The Greatest Showman. and close it with Sister Act on Saturday 15 September (Update 5 September: Sister Act has been cancelled).

Severndroog Castle on Shooters Hill plays host to Young Frankenstein on Friday 14 September, while nearby Shrewsbury House Community Centre screens both Yellow Submarine and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Other highlights include Silver Linings Playbook at Stir Cafe in Anglesea Road, Woolwich and Do The Right Thing at ArtFix cafe, also in Woolwich.

For more on what’s on – and how to get involved – visit the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival website.

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Outdoor cinema: The Greatest Showman and Moana come to Charlton House in July

Outdoor Cinema Charlton House

The Extraordinary Travelling Film Show are bringing their pop-up cinema to Charlton and screening two popular films outdoors in Charlton House’s walled garden this July:

The walled garden at Charlton House

In other local film news, the 3rd annual Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival will take place September 7th-15th, in venues around the area; we’ve heard rumours that Charlton House and the White Swan pub will be involved again this year and are looking forward to hearing the full line-up. You can keep up to date with film announcements – and get involved with the festival – via their Twitter account.

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7. Help us by telling us your stories – or buy the author a coffee.

Fancy holding a movie screening? Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back

The first Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival, in 2016, featured a screening of Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub

Got a film that you love and you’d like everyone else to see it? The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back for a third year – and it’s looking for people with ideas who can help make it happen.

Part of a network of free film festivals in south London, past festivals have featured Withnail and I and Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan, short films at Charlton House, Battle of Britain at St George’s Garrison Church in Woolwich, and Grease at the Royal Arsenal.

Organiser Gavin Eastley says: “We’re coming back for our third annual film fest with an even better Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival in 2018. So to start it all off again we are having an open meeting at Charlton House on Wednesday 21st February at 7:30pm.

“Please come along if you want to manage an evening of film or just have a great idea for a film and/or venue. Spread the word, please. The festival is for everyone.”

Want to know more? Get in touch with Gavin via the Free Film Festivals website.

Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival confirms 2017 line-up – including Withnail in the pub

Withnail and I

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back for a second year – with a screening of Withnail and I at the White Swan pub among the highlights.

The cult 1987 movie about two down-at-heel actors on a disastrous break in the Lake District, starring Richard E Grant and Paul McGann, will be screened at the pub on Sunday 10 September, presented by louche SE London blog (and mates of ours) Deserter.

All films are entirely free to watch – just turn up at the venue. The festival, which runs from 8-16 September, is entirely run by volunteers and is one of a network of free film festivals across south-east London.

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine will be playing on Saturday 9 September at The Stables – next door to Charlton House – with Flamsteed Astronomy Society on hand to bring you a solar observing session. That evening will see thriller The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, screened in the eerie surroundings of Charlton House after dark.

The Stables also plays host to Dirty Dancing – with bonus salsa class – on Wednesday 13 September – and Rising From Ashes – about the first Rwandan cycling team – on Saturday 16 September.

Documentary Ha’way The Lads – about legendary Charlton Athletic manager Jimmy Seed’s determination to break away from the North East’s coalfields and play football – plays at the Swan on Monday 11 September, with a short talk from Seed’s grandson James Dutton. This night is hosted by the independent, volunteer-run Charlton Athletic Museum.

Kids’ animation Kubo and the Two Strings plays at Thorntree Primary School on Tuesday 12 Septembember, with Hidden Figures showing there in the evening.

Documentary project 1000 Londoners will be at The Old Cottage Cafe on Thursday 14th September. Charlton House will host a short films competition later that evening, with a £1,500 prize for the winning film-maker on offer from sponsor Rockwell Property.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens the festival at Building 10 in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal on Friday 8 September, while a Grease sing-a-long will close it at the same venue on Saturday 16 September.

Other highlights include Suffragette at Greenwich Rugby Football Club, Plumstead Common on Sunday 10 September, Trading Places at the Woolwich Equitable pub on Monday 11 September, Salma Hayek in acclaimed biopic Frida at Artfix in Woolwich on Wednesday 13 September and Battle of Britain at St George’s Garrison Church off Woolwich Common on Friday 15 September, featuring a guided walk from local historian Steve Hunnisett.

For more information, visit the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival website.

Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival 2017: get involved!

Last year's Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival included a screening of Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub
Last year’s Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival included a screening of Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub. Look closely and you’ll see one of the original cast in the audience!

The Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival, launched last year and run entirely by volunteers, is back for 2017 and the organisers have been in touch with details of their first planning meeting:

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival (CWFFF) is returning in 2017 for its second annual event. Launched in September 2016, the inaugural CWFFF programmed thirteen screenings and seven supporting events.  We had “The Third Man” at St George’s Garrison Church, the rain masking tears of nostalgia in the hardy audience; the weird and controversial “A Field in England” in Charlton House; and a zombie-interrupted “Shaun of the Dead” at the White Swan.

Matthew Pennycook MP introduced our screening of the troubling “Winter of Discontent” at the Blue Nile restaurant while the intrepid battled their way to Bunker51 for “Predator”.  Local filmmakers Select18 conceived a first rate festival ident and our short film festival attracted over 3,000 entrants. The under 5s took over Shrewsbury House on the Monday, by Friday we were seeking the Grail.

We had talks and performances by a local musician who was part of the 2012 Paralympic closing ceremony; a local director introducing and providing a fascinating Q&A of his Bollywood style documentary; a film  academic describing his love of film moments and a local writer and photographer team who gave a location walk and talk, a photo exhibition and an introductory talk to our inevitable screening of “Blow Up” at a packed Charlton House.

All this was done by volunteers.  Come along to our planning meeting to find out how they did it and how you can get involved this year.

All of you are well and truly welcome.  We are meeting on Wednesday 25th January at 7:30pm at Charlton House to start the planning.  Be part of the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival 2017.


Twitter: @CWFilmFestival 


Instagram:   @charltonwoolwichfff

Predator screening at Bunker51
Predator screening at Bunker51

Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival starts on Friday – can you help?

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator
Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is at Bunker 51 in Herringham Road on Wednesday

As you’ll hopefully already know, the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival starts tomorrow in Woolwich’s General Gordon Square. It’ll bring nine days of movies to SE7 and SE18, without you having to pay a penny.

You can see the full programme on the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival website – and it’s not too late to get involved. If you’ve got a spare pair of hands and can help with stewarding, setting up the events or helping with the screenings, the organisers would love to hear from you. Get in touch via the website, Twitter or Facebook.

One late addition to the line-up uses the Bunker 51 laser-tag venue down by the Thames Barrier – a screening of 1987 sci-fi hit Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, gets under way at 7.30pm on Wednesday, with chances to have discounted laser tag sessions if you come an hour earlier.

Other SE7 highlights include documentary Virunga, about conservation volunteers battling to save mountain gorillas (Saturday 10th, 2.30pm, Charlton House); English Civil War thriller A Field In England (Sunday 11th, 2.30pm, Charlton House); horror comedy Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan (Sunday 11th, 7.30pm, with barbecue from 4pm); Shaun The Sheep at Charlton Park Academy (Wednesday 14th, 6pm); and a night of short films at Charlton House (Thursday 15th, 7.30pm).

Finally, there’s a Blow-Up Walk & Talk on Saturday 17th (5pm, meet at White Horse pub, Woolwich Road), exploring Maryon Park, where parts of the cult 1966 film were shot. That’s followed by a screening at Charlton House (7pm) and a Sounds of ’66 after-party at the White Swan from 10pm.

Don’t forget, it’s all free. And there’s plenty more to see in Woolwich, too, including The Third Man at St George’s Garrison Church (Saturday 10th, 7.45pm) and Monty Python & The Holy Grail in the gorgeous surroundings of Shrewsbury House on Shooters Hill (Friday 16th, 7.30pm).

The Charlton & Woolwich festival is part of a growing movement of south-east London free film events, and overlaps with other festivals in Peckham & Nunhead, Forest Hill and Catford. We wish the team luck – and hope you can get along to support it.