GET your popcorn on order because the Southend Film Festival is on its way, and it's opening with two world premieres!

The jam packed five day programme kicks off this year with a gangster movie called London Heist, starring former Eastenders and Hollywood actor Craig Fairbrass, and Midnight of My Life, a short film about Steve Marriot directed by Phil Davis - star of Quadrophenia - and starring The Hobbit and Sherlock actor Martin Freeman.

London Heist is set around Jack Cregan – played by Fairbrass – a career criminal, family man and vicious armed robber who sets out on a mission for revenge after his father, Alfie, is brutally murdered and their money from a Heathrow airport heist is stolen. Set against the backdrop of the gritty streets of London and Spain’s seductive Costa del Sol, London Heist is a gripping revenge thriller along the lines of genre classics Point Blank and Heat.

After the screening, Craig will be on hand along with his fellow actors to talk about the film and take part in a Q & A session.

Midnight Of My Life is of course centred around the Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott, played by Freeman who gives a "poignant study of talent, ageing and what success means". It's set in July 1985, and while the megastars of rock and pop are strutting their stuff at Wembley, Marriott is propping up the bar of a dingy pub in Putney, waiting to play to a small crowd of boozers. Bitter and drunk, an encounter with a young revival Mod restores his faith in music...

Announcing the quality-packed five-day programme, Festival Director Paul Cotgrove said: “An essential aspect of the festival is that it showcases new British films.

"We’re showcasing two exciting new films at the start of the festival and closing it with another, an affectionate and heart-warming documentary called Under the Radar: The Mike Edmonds Story. One of Southend’s favourite sons, Mike Edmonds has appeared in some of cinema’s biggest films, including Return of the Jedi, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Harry Potter series.”

He added: “Other new, British features are sprinkled throughout the festival, together with the usual mix of World Cinema, classics, documentaries, children’s films and fan favourites. You’ll also find many of the features are supported by short films, all of which, I am very proud to say, are from the UK, emphasising just how much talent there is in our own industry.”

The Gala screening takes place on Thursday May 26, at Southend's Odeon cinema.

The Southend Film Festival is brought to you by The White Bust Ltd, based at TAP in North Road, Southend. It was formed in October 2007 in Southend to "provide film and video production, education and exhibition services".

Its most high-profile events are the annual Southend Film Festival, now in its eighth year and Horror-on-Sea, in its fifth year in 2017.

For full listings of the programme and details about venues and where to buy tickets, go to