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Elephant gears up for film festival

The Elephant and Castle is set to host its first film festival - Elefest - this weekend at the newly reopened Coronet Cinema.

The free festival, which celebrates the cultural diversity of the area, aims to mix classic cinema with the new, shorts with features and locally produced work with the international.

The festival, organised by New Elephant Open Network (NEON), a local arts pressure group, will showcase new talent from film-makers in the area and also give some of the young people from the nearby Rockingham Estate an opportunity to make their own films. It will feature some of the finest in world cinema as well as home-grown talent in the form of Southwark-born Michael Caine and Charlie Chaplin who made his first-ever stage appearance at the Coronet.

Rob Wray, Director of the Festival said: "NEON wants the Elefest to be a celebration of the Elephant's vibrancy and make people proud to be part of it. Plans are afoot to regenerate the area and we want to make sure that arts and culture are an integral part of those plans. By making this festival free and open to all we hope to encourage people to take part."

The festival is funded by Elephant Links, Awards for All and the South East London Community Foundation. For more information, please call 020 7252 7381 or visit Elefest.asp">www.southwark.tv/NEON/neonElefest.asp.

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