PLENTY of homegrown talent - including directors, actors, presenters and more - will have the spotlight shone on their skills at the Southend Film Festival.

One of these is film maker James Wilsher, who returns to the festival this year with the UK premiere of his feature length offering, Sisters.

James, born and raised in Rayleigh and now living in Westcliff, appeared in the festival in 2016 with his film (also feature length) Ex From Hell, which received great reviews, and his short, My Life As A Witch, which was said to be a favourite of the organisers.

Sisters - a film set around strong female themes - looks set to receive the same kind of attention.

James explains: "I felt a tide was turning in the film world and there should be more female issues being discussed such as working in a male dominated world, the pressures to marry or settle down and the pressure of maintaining friendships over years of change. It sounds a bit heavy, but it's also full of fun and laughter.

"It stars three local actresses (Lily Streames, Amy Crudgington and Alice Ryan), along with a full Essex based supporting cast and crew. And it was shot in Essex (Basildon, Gallywood and various local train stations).

"The film is generating a bit of buzz on the circuit (apparently) due to its female heavy point of view, and has so far been in film festivals in Los Angeles and Miami."

James has been making films since 2015 and so far has released Logical Thinking (short) 2015; Ex From Hell (feature) 2016; My Life As A Witch (short) 2017; Broken Seal (short) 2017.

He works with a small group of local filmmakers, namely producer Stewart Cope and cinematographer Steve Porter along with a small team of volunteers who are passionate about filmmaking.

He also gives talks to students about film history and theory as well as tips on low budget film making in his spare time.

James adds: "I have a normal job too, but that just pays the bills, as a manager at the Estuary Restaurant on Leigh Broadway."

Sisters will be shown at 3:30pm on Sunday May 27 at the Park Inn by Radisson Palace Hotel ballroom, in Church Road.

Tickets are £6 via