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.

Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival latest: Venues and volunteers step forward

Woolwich big screen
There might be something more interesting appearing on Woolwich’s big screen soon….

An update from Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival‘s Gavin Eastley:

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival held their first meeting in the reborn White Swan in Charlton Village on Wednesday 24th February.  An excellent turnout with lots of enthusiasm and imagination in the room put us firmly on the road to make the festival a reality. Films and venues were suggested and we now have a number of venues keen to host a film screening including St Georges Garrison Church, Charlton Park Academy and Shrewsbury House.  

Greenwich Council have offered the big screen in General Gordon Square and have arranged a meeting to discuss how they can help further. We are looking for all interested members of the Charlton and Woolwich communities to take part in what we intend will become an annual event.  

If you are a film buff, a film maker, interested in community cohesion and celebration or would like to volunteer in an interesting venture then please come to the second  meeting of the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival at the Woolwich Equitable pub, General Gordon Square, Woolwich on Wednesday 16th March at 7:30pm

We went to the last meeting and were very impressed by the turnout, ideas and enthusiasm on display. This could be a great event for Charlton and Woolwich: we hope more local venues, groups and businesses get on board.

Can you help the new Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival?

Blow Up in Maryon Park: Charlton's most famous contribution to cinema
Blow Up in Maryon Park: Charlton’s most famous contribution to cinema
Want to get involved with a free film festival for Charlton and Woolwich later this year? Organiser Gavin Eastley is looking for people to help make it happen.

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is based on a movement that’s boomed across south London in recent years, such as the Camberwell Free Film Festival, New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival and the Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival.

They show mainstream films – last year’s Peckham event screened Gravity in Peckham Rye Park – as well as more arthouse fare in smaller venues. Most festivals hold a couple of big outdoor events that bring in crowds of up to 300-400.

There are also workshops, filmmaking events and the chance to support local filmmaking talent.

And there are also chances to volunteer…

Projection. Could you get involved in projecting films at our free events? No particular skills needed as long as you’re happy around a laptop, projector and PA.

Event planning and management. Would you like to plan a film event? Do you know a venue that might like to host a film screening? At Free Film Festivals we welcome people who want to create their own film events – feature films, documentaries, new films, filmmaking events. Our festivals are completely created by local volunteers.

Stewards. Could you guide people at our larger events and help with collecting evaluation forms and shaking a bucket? Stewards always needed.

Filmmakers. Could you help to run a filmmaking workshop or organise a ‘meet the industry’ day or similar event to inspire new filmmakers? Read a filmmaker Tom Worth’s blog on how getting involved can inspire you as a filmmaker.

Marketing. From leafleting to social media, press, graphic design and website editing – our marketing teams are always looking for people to help with publicity.

Fund raisers. There is a cost to putting these on and most are funded by partnerships with community organisations and sponsorship.

Gavin says: “I can see The Draughtman’s Contract at Charlton House, The Guns of Navarone at the Royal Artillery (bit of a stretch that one), Mr Turner at Rushgrove House, a big cycle-powered event in Charlton Park and I am sure someone will want to do something with Blow Up. I am sure there are great documentaries about Woolwich.”

Well, now you say it, the London Screen Archive has a few…

Can you help Gavin put the Charlton & Woolwich Film Festival on? He’s holding a meeting at the White Swan, Charlton Village on Wednesday 24 February at 7.30pm. Or contact Gavin via the Free Film Festivals website.