Screen stars and movie buffs are arriving from all over the world for the Romford Film Festival that gets going this weekend with 150 movies — just as the Cannes festival winds down.

It runs from Friday, May 24 to Tuesday, May 28 when fans can mingle with their screen heroes, many of whom are making personal appearances.

Hotels in Romford, Ilford and Brentwood have been booked solid, say organisers, as the seventh annual event gets under way with top movies, talks and networking for enthusiasts.

Films are on two screens at Premiere Cinemas in the Mercury shopping centre daily from 11am to 11.30pm, with an extra two screens starting at 9.30pm.

The festival has 30 world premieres and 40 UK premieres, plus shorts and documentaries, many followed by Q&A sessions with cast and crew.

Other activities include photo shoots on the last day between 3pm and 11pm, with photography legend Hannah Davis.

Live podcasts are on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with Richard Colton from the BTS Creative Academy, putting film-makers in the spotlight.

Workshops on how to make a movie and how to succeed on the festival circuit are being run by producer Charlotte Atkinson on Tuesday.

Screenings include Walking Fernando with Javier Bardem as a goldfish lusting for freedom and Mellodrive, a romantic drama with EastEnders star Michelle Collins.

The world premiere of Unspeakable: Beyond The Wall of Sleep starring Terminator 2’s Edward Furlong is followed by horror movie Kill Your Lover.

Simon Callow appears in Murder Ballads, while Mona Lisa star Cathy Tyson steps behind the camera to produce the short film The Consequence.

Former Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Coleman takes on a leading role in A Positive Contribution, while the movie Art uses Cornish dialogue.

The world premiere of Death Pit is screened on Monday along with action movies like War Blade, Fyre Rises and Layers of Lies. 

The festival has the longest-ever screening of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America on Saturday from 6pm, entry £5.

The festival is also a stage for the local film scene with a whole day dedicated to horror movies made low-budget in east London and Essex.

The 184 films in total, screened over five days, includes a clutch of movies fresh from this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Tickets cost from £3.99 a session. Day passes are also on sale from the website.