FILM fans in the New Forest are preparing for nine days of movie magic.

The New Forest Film Festival, which begins today, features a raft of events which will be held at 20 venues across the district.

Run by Film:New Forest, the festival starts with Comic Con at the award-winning Brockenhurst College.

It will feature appearances by Chris Rankin and James Payton, who appeared in the Harry Potter films. They will be joined by animatronic designer Tim Berry, who worked on the latest Star Wars movies, and R2D2 designer Lee Towersey.

Daily Echo:

Three films - Mary Poppins Returns, Vice, and Stan & Ollie will be screened at the Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge, which re-opened last year.

Tomorrow sees an evening of horror movies at Sway Cinema featuring two award-winning short films, Treaters and Top Dog, plus a sci-fi double bill including Ken Russell’s 1980 classic Altered States.

Ken, who died in 2011, lived at East Boldre before moving to Lymington following a fire at his cottage.

The Sway event will include a Q&A with his widow, Lisi Tribble Russell. She will be joined by actor Nicholas Ball, whose credits include Lifeforce, EastEnders, Footballer’s Wives and Hazell.

The festival will also include movie-related quizzes and workshops.

On Tuesday the award-winning The More You Ignore Me, written by Jo Brand and released last year, will be shown at Burley Cinema in the presence of the director, Lymington-based Keith English.

Daily Echo:

Thursday sees a screening of the BBC4 documentary A Year in the Wild Wood, plus the Forest premiere of Dead Fred, featuring Sandra Dickinson.

On Friday award-winning playwright Barney Norris will be at Forest Arts Centre, running workshops on how to write and make short films. Lisi Russell will introduce her late husband’s film The Boy Friend at Milford on Sea Community Centre.

The Regal Cinema, Fordingbridge, will screen Calendar Girls on Saturday. The film’s cinematographer, Ashley Rowe, will take part in a Q&A.

Judges at the festival will include one of Britain’s top film critics, Mark Kermode, who lives in the Forest. He will visit Brockenhurst College today to sign copies of his latest book, How Does it Feel?