THE line-up for this year’s Southend Film Festival has been revealed.

The annual festival returns on May 23, and runs until May 27 with a jam-packed programme celebrating filmmaking across the globe.

This year the festival is set to host several world premieres, cinema classics and emphasis on putting independent film makers in the spotlight.

The curtain raising gala night on Thursday May 23, will see Simon Frith’s Under the Radar: The Mike Edmonds Story given its world premiere. The film looks back on Essex-born actor Mike Edmonds’ incredible life and career.

After appearing in his first movie role in Ken Loach’s Black Jack (1979), Mike went on to feature in a series of box office hits including Time Bandits, Star Wars, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records celebrates the love affair between Jamaican and British youth culture, through the prism of one of the most Iconic record labels in history. The screening on May 24 is complimented with a new music video, starring British rapper Kojey Radical.

The festival’s director, Paul Cotgrove, has scheduled some heart-warming classics, including Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (1937), Peter Sellers’ The Battle of the Sexes (1960) and the comedy Castle in the Air.

For families, there will be capers in The Laurel & Hardy Laughter Show: Stan and Ollie – Unplugged and the award-winning Japanese movie, Mary and the Witch’s Flower.

Rochford’s Marc Blake is an accomplished stand-up comedian but has literally directed his creative skills into creating his first feature film, Axman. Marc’s film will be given its world premiere on May 25, as part of the festival.

The closing gala on May 27 will act as a major showcase for new independent films from a variety of genres, with seven being screened that used Southend and surrounding areas as a backdrop, including Tony Burke’s Bottle Boy, The Bicycle Thief by Stewart Alexander and Kerry Skinner, and Molly Brown’s Meanwhile, In Southend.

Paul Cotgrove said: “It may be a bit of a cliché but I do believe there’s something for everyone in this year’s programme. From documentaries to gritty beat-em-up movies, heroes of cinema to award-winning films from around the world, the Festival represents almost every aspect of movie making.

“Of course, at the Festival’s heart is the opportunity to see new work by leading independent film makers covering a broad range of themes, subjects and genres.

“These elements are what makes the Festival very special and essential viewing for all kinds of movie fans.”