JUDGES

Who are the judges for this years festival?

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SEAN CRONIN

Actor / Director / Cinematographer

Sean Cronin was born in West London to an English mother and Irish/Welsh father and has both Spanish and Sicilian in his bloodline.

Destiny struck in the early nineties when Sean was badly bitten by the film bug! Due to his intense and menacing presence Sean began his acting career playing roles in movies such as ‘The Mummy’, ‘The World Is Not Enough’, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’, ‘The Antwerp Dolls’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ based on the J. K. Rowling's novel. More recently Sean played the eponymous villain in ‘Kill Kane’, opposite Vinnie Jones.

Cronin has not only developed his craft as an actor but as an eclectic and talented Director / Cinematographer having worked on many high end music videos, short films, and several award winning features including ‘Throw of a Dice’ and ‘An Unfortunate Woman’. Cronin is set to direct the period drama ‘Irongate’, the heart-rending semi-biopic life story of the disabled writer Paul Hodgson ‘Give Them Wings’ and ‘Michael’ a biopic of the boxer Michael Watson. Watson’s career was cut short from a near-fatal injury sustained during a loss to Chris Eubank for the WBO Super-Middleweight title in 1991.

Sean Cronin is one of the most convincing and sinister 'adversary's’ in cinema as well as making his mark as an intelligent and diverse Director / Cinematographer.

Sean is honoured to be ‘Head of Jury’ at the very first Romford Film Festival 2017.

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WINSTON ELLIS

Actor / Director / Producer / Martial Arts

Dr Winston George Ellis is an actor, director, producer and martial artist.

Born to Jamaican parents in Reading Berkshire, Winston is an accomplished British Actor and three-times world martial arts champion.

Following Winston’s martial arts career, an opportune meeting with Phillip Ko led to relocating to Hong Kong where he made a number of martial arts films working alongside actors such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Jean Claude Van Damme, Roger Moore, Robert Samuels and Mark Houghton.

In returning to the UK, Winston was quick in securing roles alongside Johnny Depp and Kiera Knightley in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ 2 & 3. Other film credits include ‘Cass’, ‘Batman the Dark Knight’ with the late Heath Ledger and ‘Shiner’ alongside Michael Caine to name but a few.

More recently Winston transitioned to the small screen starring in Sky Atlantics ‘Penny Dreadful’ starring Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green, ‘Dr Who’ with Peter Capaldi, ‘The Bill’, ‘Hustle’, ‘Judge John Deed’, ‘Dream Team’, ‘Doctors’ and ‘Holby City’.

In addition, Winston was a guest speaker at the House of Commons during black history month where he spoke about his life experiences growing up in Britain in the 70's and 80's and his personal journey battling and overcoming dyslexia and racism in the educational system to become an actor, director and producer.

Winston is currently working alongside DG Productions based at Pinewood Studios producing the movies ‘KarMMA’, ‘Let No Man Know’ and Jingle Hellz, as well as organising ConAsia 2018, which will be one of the biggest events of its kind.

Winston is also involved in a charity called Positive Strides set up by Winston’s business partner, the late Mark Straker in 2012. Project Postcode uses film and media to educate 11 to 19 year olds about modern day social issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, gun and knife crime and anti-social behaviour. Winston's passion for working with under-privileged children led to his involvement with a number of other charities carrying out educational workshops and inspirational talks to thousands of young people across the UK.

Winston has worked with and supported Rainbow Nation, Mencap, Hoop Aid, Art-Football, Winston’s Wish and NCS, a national youth development initiative backed by Theresa May and the UK government.

This year Winston hosted a number of awards ceremonies: ‘Include me Too’, ‘The BEFTA's’, and ‘The C Hub’ magazine awards. He is a patron of ‘Back to Black’ the brainchild of filmmaker Fredi Nwaka. Winston was also a guest judge for Miss Great Britain 2014 and 2015.

As well as being involved with numerous charities, Winston is currently coordinating and facilitating the Shinfield Drama Project, shared with Wokingham Community Development Team. This is a cross school and university project. Graduates write a short child friendly play on the theme of ‘friendship’. The school pupils then get the opportunity to bring their project to life with Winston overseeing and judging the final piece.

Winston’s charm, charisma, tireless energy and desire to do good is his driving force.

In 2016 Winston was given a humanitarian honorary doctorate at Birmingham University for his work. Is the world ready for "Dr" Winston George Ellis? We will find out in 2017.

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CASSANDRA FRENCH

Actress and Voice-Over Artist

Cassandra French has been an actress and voice-over artist for over 15 years.

Cassandra is currently in production and playing the lead roles on several movies including ‘Losing Faith’ starring Patrick Bergan, ‘Relentless’ directed by Steven Murphy and ‘The Walk’ directed by Frank Harper as well as in pre-production as screenplay writer / producer on ‘Deano and Louise’ starring the infamous Steven Berkoff, Marc Warren, Frances Barber, Lorraine Stanley, Katie Jarvis and George Russo.

Cassandra considers herself to be very fortunate to be working with some of the most seasoned people in the industry and is so honoured and humbled to be part of The Romford Film Awards.

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ANDREA POSSEE

Composer

Andrea Possee was classically trained at the University of Glasgow in composition and has two Master’s Degrees: one in composing and the other in orchestrating for TV, games and film.

Andrea’s film portfolio includes ‘The Devil’s Rock’, ‘Distorted Frequency’ and ‘Goon’ to name but a few. Television credits include ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, ‘Come Dine with Me’ and ‘Tales of Northumberland’ with Robson Green. Andrea has also scored music for mobile games and apps, including ‘Timedance’ and ‘Zombies Ate My City’, both featured by BBC ‘Click’.

Andrea’s composing skills in film, TV and transmedia games put her in demand with 2017 being exceptionally busy and is very much looking forward to The Romford Film Awards.

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JEREMY REEVE

Business Entrepreneur

Jeremy Reeve is a serial entrepreneur having successfully been involved with many diverse businesses.

Jeremy hosts ‘The Business Hub’ which airs on commercial radio in the East of England reaching over 200,000 people a week, interviewing fellow entrepreneurs on all things business.

Jeremy’s passion is film and fully supports The Romford Film Festival.

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IAN TAYLOR

Director of Red Door Vision

Ian Taylor is the director of Red Door Vision an agency representing actors, writers and independent filmmakers, offering an individual service and creative opportunities across all mediums including TV, Film, Radio and Theatre.

Ian is also involved in sourcing and developing diverse film, television and documentary projects. He believes that independent filmmakers are the true life blood of the film industry.

Ian Taylor is delighted to have been invited as a guest judge at The Romford Film Festival – Rommy Awards 2017.

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SAMUEL ANDERSON

Actor

Samuel Anderson is an English actor who broke onto the scene as Crowther in the National Theatre’s original production of Alan Bennett’s play 'The History Boys'. It enjoyed huge success on Broadway and worldwide touring productions prior to the film’s international cinema release. After a year in ITV's ‘Emmerdale’, Anderson appeared in the BBC Three comedy series 'Gavin and Stacey’ as recurring character Fingers. He has also made guest appearances in 'Casualty’ (BBC) and ‘Midsomer Murders’ (ITV).

Anderson became a season regular on the BBC's 'Doctor Who' as Danny Pink, starring alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. In the same year he joined the cast of Sky One's long running comedy 'Trollied' as deputy manager Daniel Wilson, being awarded "best actor in television" by the Screen Nation Awards.

2016 saw Anderson star alongside Kerry Howard and Zoe Boyle in BBC's 'Witless'. In the same year, Samuel joined ITV's award-winning detective drama series 'DCI Banks' as Vince Grady.

Samuel is currently starring in the AMC and Channel 4 co-production of 'Loaded' and plays Shorey in the feature film 'Genesis' due for release later this year. ‘Let No Man Know’, the true rise-and-fall tale of former slave Tom Molineaux is due to go into production in 2018.

Samuel says “I’m very excited to be on the jury panel of the Romford Film Festival showcasing such diverse movies”.

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JOHN ALTMAN

Musical Director / Composer / Arranger / Conductor

John Altman is a musician’s musician. Music royalty. Accolade after accolade. He’s won BAFTA’s and EMMY’s. He is the proud recipient of a Gold Badge of Excellence for services to British music awarded by his peers in The British Academy of Songwriters & Composers in 2011, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Monaco Film Festival, and in 2012 with an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sussex where he was the first ever Creative Arts Fellow in the Department of Humanities.

John’s scored the 1928 restored silent move Shooting Stars which was premiered at London’s Odeon Leicester Square as part of the 2015 London Film Festival.

He’s jammed with Clapton, Zoot Money, Hendrix, Jimmy Page and the late Amy Winehouse. He was Van Morrison‘s MD for years and Hot Chocolate‘s MD and sax player. He’s responsible for classics by Alison Moyet‘s ‘That Old Devil Called Love’, George Michael‘s ‘Kissing A Fool’ and Bjork‘s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, to name but a few.

He is a highly regarded award winner for his contemporary orchestral scores, big band music and small group ensemble work and respected critic Don Heckman in the Los Angeles Times describes him as “one of the few film composers with authentic jazz skills.” He’s a songwriter too, and writes end title songs and pastiches where source music is difficult to clear.

Feature films include RKO281 (EMMY winner), Hear My Song (BAFTA winner), Miramax’s Shall We Dance, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez; the thriller Shoot On Sight and a contemporary version of Ibsen’s The Master Builder (Crossover Productions). Funny Bones (Hollywood Pictures); wrote and produced all the period music for Titanic (20th Century Fox); Matchmaker (Working Title); King Of Texas (Hallmark); Fidel (Showtime); the classic tank chase in Goldeneye (United Artists) which remains number 2 in the all-time James Bond favourite scenes; The Lost Empire (Hallmark); Beautiful Joe (Capitol Films); the award winning Little Voice (Scala/Miramax); Garden Of Redemption (Paramount); Beautiful Thing (World/Channel Four Films); Vendetta (Limelight/Miramax); and Boss Of Bosses (Turner). Also the films Breaking Through, starring Diane Keaton; Hope Springs (Disney), starring Colin Firth, Minnie Driver and Heather Graham; The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (Showtime), starring Helen Mirren for which he received an EMMY Nomination; the Christmas movie Mr St. Nick starring Kelsey Grammer; and The Reagans (CBS/Showtime).

UK TV credits include The Good Samaritan (ITV); BBC Film’s Mr Harvey Lights A Candle starring Timothy Spall; the Channel 4 drama The Queen’s Sister.

As an arranger John has worked with the best – Diana Ross, George Michael, Goldie, Bjork, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Tina Turner etc etc. He’s a featured sax player in leading jazz clubs and festivals round the world and regularly records jazz albums with a jazz quartet or his big band.

The Romford Film Festival is honoured and privileged to have John Altman on the judging panel.

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DAVID BALL

Producer / Line Producer

David Ball is one of the most seasoned, bondable Producers / Line Producers in the industry. In a career spanning almost half a century, David has worked on thrillers, westerns, comedies, true life dramas, adventure capers and horror movies. To this day, thirty years on, he still signs autographs at horror conventions for the cult “Day of the Dead”.

He also has over 100 hours of television under his belt and has travelled four continents, being shot at in Mexico and bombed in Manilla!

David has been Producer, Line Producer, Finance Rep, Production Manager, 2nd Unit Director,1st Assistant Director, Financial Controller and Production Accountant. To say he knows production is a vast understatement.

As an aside, he has completed over 3000 budgets and schedules, all to industry standards.

David has taught students in South Wales, Birmingham and Manchester and, when available, donates his time and grey matter to student film makers.

Also an avid reader, writer and script editor, David has two #1 bestsellers on Amazon, a novel and a diary. He is currently compiling his biography, tentatively entitled “The Never Ending Apprenticeship” to be published in 2020 and celebrating fifty years in the industry, after which he may consider retirement!

David is currently developing “Let no man Know” and “One” for DG Productions, working with Danny McCall on “Bette Davis is alive and well and living in Liverpool” and writing a screenplay of “The Mango Girl”, based on the newly released biography of Dr Ava Eagle Brown.

David is delighted to be attending the festival and looks forward to meeting many new filmmakers.