Budding film directors to screen their talents at international festival held in Tooting pub

Budding filmmakers will be given the chance to show off their talents later this month when the South West London International Film Festival returns for the 7th year.

The festival has become a favourite community event and is heading to a new venue at The Wheatsheaf pub in Tooting on November 24 boasting a programme of 31 short films chosen from hundreds of submissions.

The celebration of film sees submissions from as far as Iraq, Korea, Iran and Afghanistan bringing stories to south west London from people who don’t have the opportunity to show off their creative potential.

Festival director and founder Laurentiu Huianu, 51, said: “We encourage new projects and new film directors.

“It has become a recognised community festival. It became a place where youngsters feel that you don’t need to have 20 years experience behind you to get your first step in the industry.”

While receiving a mixed bag of entries every year, Mr Huianu, an NHS filmmaker, is passionate about giving underrepresented filmmakers a platform including young people and female directors.

The festival founder sees submissions from young children and fondly remembers one submission from an ambitious Jack, who made film one-minute long at age seven and now works at Ealing Studios as a director of photography.

He said: “I saw he was an incredible youngster from the first time I saw him. He made us proud.”

The festival will see up to 300 people in attendance, and for the die-hard fans there will be film screenings all day from 11:30am until 7:20pm, followed by an awards ceremony.

Mr Huianu receives no external funding for the event, and pays for it from his own pocket purely out of passion for the art of film.

He said: “I think what is beautiful is a lot of youngsters mixing with the older generation. You’ll see a 16-year-old with a 70-year-old at the same table, they never met before.

“I think that’s missing a lot in the community. In today’s very fast developing society we don’t have time for others.”

The programme of films is far-reaching and wide-ranging this year, ranging from love stories to politics.

Mr Huianu believes the event is particularly special for showcasing niche films and documentaries which you won’t find at the bigger festivals.

The South West London Film Festival will be held on Saturday 24 November 11:30am-11:30pm at The Wheatsheaf 2 Upper Tooting Road. Entrance is free and more information can be found here.


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