A rediscovered Laurel and Hardy film and The Lost Films of the Kursaal top the bill at 2017 Southend Film Festival (25-29 May).
In 1952, Laurel and Hardy performed in Southend and stayed at the Park Inn Palace hotel - the main venue for the Southend Film Festival - so it is a very special homecoming for The Battle of the Century (1927) to be screened there. For decades, the second reel of the film had been thought lost, but it was rediscovered two years ago and has only been seen in public once before.
In 2006, builders renovating a house in Southend-on-Sea discovered a collection of 16mm film reels shot by the late Jay Morehouse, owner of the iconic, Kursaal Amusement Park. For over twenty years he has filmed the crowds of day-trippers and holidaymakers having fun in the Essex resort, creating an astonishing record of people at play from the 1940s to the Swinging Sixties. Now restored and digitised, these films with have their world premiere as the Gala Opening Night of the Festival.
One of the major independent events in UK cinema, the Southend Film Festival will screen another fifty films and welcome directors and actors from across the globe to the 9th annual event.