Event profile: Free Family Film Festival

The third annual Free Family Film Festival at Beckenham Place Mansion is on Sunday 1st of September.

Everyone is welcome at this one-day celebration of cinema in the community. We speak with Saskia van Roomen, the organiser of the Free Family Film Festival and founder of Bromley Family Film Club.

What is Bromley Family Film Club?

The Bromley Family Film Club was set up in 2015 to offer a relaxed space for local children and families to enjoy a film and take part in creative activities together. We are an inclusive club and especially cater for children and young people with additional needs.

As the club has grown, we have added other activities like this Free Film Festival and the European Film Festival last March. We come together at the Bromley Central Library on the last Saturday of each month in the darker months of the year.

What can we expect from this year’s Festival?

This is our third year already and we have a full programme of films and activities for the whole family. Visitors can expect animation workshops, a giant kaleidoscope for the little ones to play with and make their own mini version to take away, arts and craft activities, storytelling and sun print workshops.

Stop motion animator Tim Allen, who worked on films such as Fantastic Mr Fox (which we are screening), Isle of Dogs, Shaun the Sheep and many others, is coming to give a bespoke workshop for 12 lucky children. He will also introduce our last film of the day, Fantastic Mr Fox, and give us an insight into how they made the film.

For those who just want to kick back and watch films, we have a varied programme with short animations from all over the world, an exciting classic American film showing the adventures of a little boy in Coney Island, a beautiful French-African tale, slapstick with live piano and, of course, Fantastic Mr Fox. The films are highly enjoyable and suitable for everyone.

For the day’s full schedule visit https://www.mansionmovies.com/schedule

How do you put it together?

I work with a group of wonderful volunteers on our monthly screenings at the Bromley Library and the Festival has grown quite organically from there. We all have children of similar ages and we organise events that we think our own children would enjoy. Our ethos is to be quite adventurous and ambitious with our programming and we work with artists and professional filmmakers in order to achieve this. Our films and activities should stimulate the imagination and encourage discussion.

Why the Mansion?

The Mansion has always been a special place for me personally as I have walked in the park on almost a daily basis for the last ten years. When I noticed that the Mansion was opening up to the public and was looking for community initiatives, I saw a perfect place to realise a long harboured wish: to organise a film festival. We are extremely lucky to have the support of the management team at The Mansion and also Lewisham Council, who have always provided the core funding for the Festival. I especially love the atmosphere and faded grandeur of The Mansion. A perfect place to watch a movie! The grandiose views and safe environment for children is another aspect that has made our event so special.

What other exciting things do you have coming up?

This year we are re-branding as ‘Small World Cinema’ to place more emphasis on our programming of films from all over the world. Film has a unique ability to promote and encourage inclusion and togetherness which is so important in our current climate. We are passionate to show films with something to say about the world and the way children and young people experience it. Our aim is to come together, broaden our kids’ outlook on the world and to simply have fun. For more information please email: bromleyfilmclub@gmail.com

For the day’s full schedule visit https://www.mansionmovies.com/schedule

Places for films and events are allocated on a first come first served basis, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.