THURROCK International Film Festival is returning next week to a big screen near you.

After the success of the inaugural festival last summer, this year’s extravaganza promises to be bigger and better than before.

The festival will take place between Monday, September 23, and Saturday, September 28, with films, documentaries, musicals and more.

Kicking off festivities on Monday is an under-18 screening from Palmer’s College where the best short films entered into the festival in the under-18 category will be shown.

At the Thameside Theatre a concert of film music performed by multi-award winning Aveley and Newham Brass Band will include pieces from Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Les Miserables and many more.

On Tuesday, September 24, a screening at the Thameside will feature the best films from the documentary category of the short film competition and a look-behind-the-scenes of the Royal Opera House.

On Wednesday, September 25, a screening from Palmer’s will feature the best films in the student category of the short film competition.

The classic Rocky Horror Picture Show will also be shown at the Thameside with fancy dress strongly encouraged but not compulsory.

On Thursday, September 26, a member of the British Board of FIlm Classification will present clips to explain how and why films are classified for cinematic release at the Thameside – the talk is free for schoolchildren and A-level students if booked by their school before.

Also, the history of film and filmmaking in Thurrock will be shown at Palmer’s with local historian Jon Catton presenting a talk on the history of film in Thurrock.

On Friday, September 27, the best films entered into the festival in the international category of the short film competition will be shown at the Thameside followed by screenings of classic films Dirty Dancing and Independence Day.

On Saturday, September 28, Muppet Treasure Island is on in the morning at the Thameside before a noon showing of the Sound of Music.

In the afternoon the best films in the fiction category of the short film competition will be shown followed by the awards ceremony. There will also be a VIP judging panel including Brian Blessed, from Flash Gordon, Alfred Molina, from Spiderman 2, Blake Harrison, from The Inbetweeners, and Kevin McNally, from Pirates of the Caribbean.

The event started when Thurrock residents Natalie Williams and Benjamin Scarsbrook, after returning from university with film studies degrees, decided to create a festival.

They said they wanted to build on last year’s success, with 69 films shown instead of 42 from 2012.

Benjamin said: “Last year’s festival was definitely a success – until the audience turned up we had no idea if our gamble would pay off.

“We want the festival to grow year on year, entry wise and audience wise.

“We want it to be a talked about as an annual event.”