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David Williamson helps budding young filmmakers bring their ideas to screen and also helps stage events in his local park

Palmers Green resident David Williamson runs Talkies Community Cinema and also helps run Broomfield Summer Festival
Palmers Green resident David Williamson runs Talkies Community Cinema and also helps run Broomfield Summer Festival

What started as a living room film club in Palmers Green quickly became a popular touring cinema attended by up to 3,000 people a year across a range of local venues.

Building on this success, founder David Williamson decided to use the popularity of Talkies Community Cinema to support the next generation of filmmakers.

Talkies has now commissioned 30 short films over the years, supporting young directors and scriptwriters to bring their bright ideas to life. Many have since won awards and been screened at international film festivals.

“One of the conditions is that they have to make their film in Palmers Green,” says David. “It is a small amount of money but we provide them with support, and some of our volunteers act as extras.

“The filmmakers love it.”

The original idea for Talkies was “sparked” by a film club attended by friends in their own homes. “Lots of people wanted to come but there wasn’t enough space for everyone. So we tried doing ‘Talkies’ a couple of times and it was a success.”

Before the pandemic, Talkies was hosting a regular programme of fortnightly film screenings. These are now set to resume in autumn. David, a retired schools inspector, missed organising Talkies during lockdown, but turned his attention to something else.

“I was bereft over not having Talkies. I had been doing some events for Broomfield Festival and I turned my attention to that.

“There is this old bowling green and a couple of years ago I suggested holding events there. The aim is to develop this space – ‘Broomfield Bowl’ – for events that reflect the community.”

While a limited number of events at Broomfield Park were held last year, festival organisers this year are aiming bigger – David has written more about the programme here.

Adrian Day, who nominated David as an ‘Enfield Community Hero’, said: “As well as planning and organising the festival, he is very much ‘hands on’ – when there were problems with park toilets David was spotted with a plunger!

“The borough is a better place because of the time, dedication and thoughtfulness of people like David.”

Enfield Community Heroes

This article is the latest in our ‘Enfield Community Heroes’ series, sponsored by Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. Dispatch readers are welcome to nominate their own local hero – someone who has gone above and beyond to help support the local community. Simply email your nomination to [email protected].