In its seventh year and going strong, the Crystal Palace International Film Festival (CPIFF) is a three-week festival dedicated to (you guessed it) international films. Showcasing 92 films across a variety of genres – feature, short, documentary, family matinee, animation and more – and shown in two spectacular South East London venues we’re rather taken with the idea. In digging a little deeper we’ve discovered some impressive facts about this year’s CPIFF that we think you ought to know before tickets, inevitably, sell out…
1 CPIFF HAS ACE VENUES
This year’s Crystal Palace International Film Festival will take place at two incredible South East London venues. Grade II listed Stanley Halls in South Norwood, which was the first building in Croydon to have electricity, and St John the Evangelist, the Gothic Revival church in Upper Norwood (just imagine watching a horror film in a church! More on that later).
2 IT FEATURES A SOUTH LONDON SUPERHERO
CPIFF opens with a corker on Friday 6 November at Stanley Halls. Screening SuperBob, a British comedy starring Catherine Tate and Brett Goldstein, which tells the tale of a postman from Peckham who acquires superpowers after being struck by a meteor… But still can’t get a date. Watch SuperBob AND animated musical comedy How Murray Saved Christmas, by Mike Reiss (a writer for, ahem, The Simpsons) for just £7.50. What’s more, Mike will holding a Q&A session after the screening.
3 YOU WILL LAUGH (A LOT)
Two Down. No, that’s not us counting down this round up but one of the comedies being screened at that CPIFF chairman Neill Roy – who founded the festival with Roberta Gallinari in 2009 – says ‘has great laughs in it’. It certainly bodes well, given that its executive producers are Stephen Fry and Sir Derek Jacobi. Judge for yourselves where it sits on the humour scale on Tuesday 17 November at Stanley Halls (£5).
4 THERE’S FOOD AND FILMS
Yes it is a festival of film but what festival would be complete with out food and drink? CPIFF has both. Love film and curry together? Then the team behind this year’s festival may have designed your ideal night. On Saturday 7 November, at St John’s church, you can enjoy an evening of short international film and a curry supper from one of SE19’s favourite curry restaurants, Palace Spice. All for £19.50.
5 SIMPSONS WRITER MIKE REISS IS FLYING OVER FROM L.A.
Did we mention that a writer from The Simpsons will be in town for CPIFF? Oh yes. Well, Mike Reiss – having flown over for CPIFF from L.A – will be back in Stanley Halls on Sunday 8 November to present The Secrets of The Simpsons, a 75-minute talk sharing funny stories and rare clips from his time on the popular animated American sitcom. Tickets for this show are a snip at £9 and will sell out in a shot – so make haste and book yours now.
6 YOU CAN WATCH HORROR FILMS IN A CHURCH
Fancy watching horror films in a Gothic Revival church on Friday 13? Read on… CPIFF’s horror/sci-fi night is not for the faint hearted, but if you like a fright night this could be for you. Short films shown on the night will include a shot-in-one-take slasher called Night of the Slasher (helpfully named so there’s no confusion about what you are about to watch) and the world premier of Gloria, a tale of one man’s search for love in an automated world. Fancy dress is encouraged for this evening (so it’s a second chance to don that OTT Halloween outfit you’re planning).
7 IT’S A FEEL GOOD FILM LOVE-FEST
One for lovers of the moving picture (also residents of South East London), this is your chance to support a local, independent venture that exists to celebrate the art of film, and talented film makers from around the world. It’s basically a film love-fest (and if you’ve submitted a film, it’s a competition too).
8 THE GALA FINALE SOUNDS FUN
On that note (competition), the films being screened at CPIFF have already been the subject of scrutiny from the Crystal Palace International Film Festival organisers (they don’t just let any old home movie through) but there’s more. Each film shown is being eyed by a panel of judges, including comedians Johnny Vegas and Mark Steel and the creator of Peppa Pig Neville Astley. The winners will receive a coveted CPIFF award at the Gala Finale, Comedy Films and Awards Evening.
9 LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, THERE’S GIN!
The CPIFF Gala Finale, Comedy Films and Awards Evening sounds like a hoot. Not only is there all that comedy – including Not Sophie’s Choice, directed by Matt Holt and featuring Catherine Tate and Alex McQueen, and the regional premier of The Last Post (a short film that came into fruition following a successful Kickstarter campaign) – but you’ll be handed a welcome Bloom gin and tonic on arrival. Gourmet canapés will also be available along with alternative entertainment (you know, as well as the films) in the shape of a musical act and the awards ceremony, presented by Mark Steel. See you there!
The Crystal Palace International Film runs runs from 6 to 28 November 2015. For the full programme and further information visit cpiff.co.uk