TWO lost films from comedy legend Peter Sellers’ early career which were found in a skip will be shown for the very first time at this year’s Southend Film Festival.

The short movies, Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good For You, were found by chance, and will be showcased at the festival’s Gala Opening on May 1.

Director Paul Cotgrove said: “Due to Peter Sellers’ iconic status with film fans around the world and the fact that he is sadly no longer with us, any ‘new’ material is bound to produce an enormous amount of interest.”

He added: “As these films are from the time when he was looking to make the crossover from radio to screen, they represent an important and hitherto little known part of his career.

“Consequently, I’ve had a lot of interest from members of the Sellers family, his friends and former colleagues and hope that some will be able to attend the Gala.”

Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good For You will not only open the festival, but should tickets sell out quick there is also another chance to see them again at 6pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

To close the Festival, there is also a rare opportunity to see one of Sellers’ more outlandish offerings, The Magic Christian.

The plot revolves around Sir Guy Grand (Sellers), the wealthiest man on the planet, adopting a down-at-heel Ringo Starr (playing the character Youngman) and together, the pair set off on a journey to prove that anything – and anyone – can be bought with money.

The cast features the likes of Raquel Welch, Richard Attenborough, Laurence Harvey and Spike Milligan.

During the weeklong festival at venues across Southend, the traditional focus on British independent film will be supported by screenings of short films - many of which will be introduced by their filmmakers and actors, adding to the overall ‘buzz’.

There will also be the usual mix of classics, World Cinema, audience favourites and new documentaries, plus talks and lectures.

Tickets for the Southend Film Festival are on sale now – you can purchase them from the E-Shop on the Visit Southend website ( or in person from the Visitor Information Centre at Southend Pier.