THE seventh annual End of the Pier International Film Festival has been declared officially open.
Worthing mayor Noel Atkins launched the festival at Food Restaurant, in New Street.
Mr Atkins and pointed out that Worthing was not only centred in the heart of where early films were made along the south coast at the end of the 19th century, but also that it was, in fact, at the end of Worthing pier that the very first screening of a film to a paying audience took place in the country, back in 1896.
The End of the Pier International Film Festival moved to Worthing from Bognor this year, citing lack of support in Bognor and plenty of enthusiasm in Worthing as the reasons.
Mr Atkins said the true home of the End of the Pier event had to be Worthing and that with the help of local business and the community, the town could make it comparable with the Cannes film festival in France.
Festival Director Bryan Gartside gave thanks to all of the event's 2009 sponsors and went on to outline some of the proposals for the 2010 event (April 23-May 1).
Bryan said: "There will be main feature screenings across the town, centred on both the Ritz and Dome cinemas, with fringe events taking place at other venues such as pubs, clubs, halls and Northbrook College, who it is hoped will host the under 18-year-old, Young Film Maker's event.
"Once again there will be a Made in Worthing screening with films made by local people from the past, as well as some up-to-date films that are currently being made around the district.
"There will also be block buster premires and new release of feature films, as well as the short film competition."
Bryan said his aim was to make Worthing once more the centre of film-making activities around the south and to begin to make feature presentations filmed in and around the town.
Bryan has recently started a monthly Worthing Film and Television network meeting which brings together all the professional film-makers around the area.
The group will be the heart of any feature film or other production.
"Our first short film, from the award-winning script Games We Play, has already been shot and will be featured during the 2010 festival."
The festival team are also looking for more volunteers from the community.
"You don't need to have any qualifications in film-making, just good administration skills and a sense of fun and adventure!"
For more details of the event and how to contact the director, log onto www.eotpfilmfestival.co.uk
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