14 WORLD PREMIERES, 35 UK PREMIERES, 17 LONDON PREMIERES + A FESTIVAL FRINGE WITH 1,000 FILMS AND EVENTS
Amidst a summer jam-packed with massive events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games and WorldPride, the EAST END FILM FESTIVAL (EEFF) joins the cultural carousal with a programme of film premieres and events that fly the flag for British cinema, celebrate the Olympics, and champion the work of international LGBT activists. This being the East End, the festival goes on to reflect what is London’s most eclectic and creative quarter by adding music and artists documentaries, new Indian and Bangladeshi cinema, and films exploring themes of identity and revolution to the arena of the cinema screen.
“With new voices and uncompromising visions at our heart, the East End Film Festival explores the limits of the moving image whilst extending beyond artistic and cultural boundaries to reach out and present good old-fashioned entertainment,” says EEFF’s Creative Director Alison Poltock. “With films from over 40 countries and activities for all ages and backgrounds, we expect this to be our best EVER festival.”
OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT GALAS
The 11th East End Film Festival officially opens on Tuesday 3rd July with the UK Premiere of a documentary probing the legacy of a music icon. Combining never-before-seen concert and archive footage, ARENA: AMY WINEHOUSE, THE DAY SHE CAME TO DINGLE (dir: Maurice Linnane, a BBC Arena/Other Voices co-production, UK) exposes her unique talent and explores her deep affection for jazz, soul and gospel legends including Mahalia Jackson, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles and the Shangri-Las. Screening in the beautiful St Anne’s Church in Limehouse, this will be the only opportunity to experience one of her most incredible live performances ever on a big screen before it debuts as an Arena special on BBC Four. This red carpet gala screening will be accompanied by a Q&A plus live music from a choir and orchestra plus very special guests.
The festival’s fringe, CINE-EAST kicks off at Vibe Bar at midday on Sunday 1st July with Dexter Fletcher and cast introducing an outdoor screening of WILD BILL. This is the start of a day of FREE events incorporating over 1,000 short and feature film screenings, live music, talks, workshops, film trails and competitions in over 100 different venues, including cinemas, cultural spaces, shops, bars and galleries.
BRITISH FILM PREMIERES
This being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, the festival will fly the flag for Britain with a special focus on local filmmakers. Of the fourteen World Premieres, twelve are World Premieres of British films. These include the World Premiere of MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN ART (dir: John Rogers, UK), documenting Turner nominated British artist Bob & Roberta Smith over a period of three years, a man who is both a revered figure and an outsider who works out of a garden shed in Leytonstone; THE HOT POTATO (dir: Tim Lewiston, UK), an East End-set caper movie starring Ray Winstone, Lois Winstone, Louise Redknapp, Colm Meaney and David Harewood; and TWENTY8K (dir: David Kew & Neil Thompson, UK), a tale of gun crime, corruption and media manipulation starring Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham, ER), Nichola Burley (Donkey Punch) and newcomer Sebastian Nanena.
Plus there’s the London Premiere of SWANDOWN (dir: Andrew Kötting, UK), a personal travelogue from Hastings to Hackney onboard a swan-shaped pedalo with writer Iain Sinclair; JAYWICK ESCAPES (dir: Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope, UK), documenting what used to be a favourite holiday destination for London’s Eastenders but is now England’s most deprived place; PING PONG (dir: Hugh Hartford, UK), which delightfully documents the World Over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia; and British feature STRAWBERRY FIELDS (dir: Frances Lea, UK) a complex story of lust, sibling rivalry and liberation in the Kent countryside.
INTERNATIONAL FILM PREMIERES
With films from over 40 countries, international highlights include the UK Premieres of features THE LEGEND OF KASPER HAUSER (dir: Davide Manuli, Italy), a tale of faith, suspicion and flying saucers set to thudding techno beats and starring Vincent Gallo; and ELECTRICK CHILDREN (dir: Rebecca Thomas, USA), which mixes faith with youthful misadventures and an underground music scene, and stars newcomer Julia Garner and Rory Culkin. There’ll also be an unmissable and newly restored double bill of cyberpunk classics TETSUO: THE IRON MAN and TETSUO: THE BODY HAMMER (dir: Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Japan), plus the London Premiere of his new film KOTOKO starring Japanese singer Cocco, followed by a director Q&A.
Reaffirming EEFFs commitment to Sonic Cinema they’ll be a series of events mixing cinema with live music. This includes the festival’s signature paring of live soundtrack and silent film in a unique setting with a screening of classic 1922 expressionist horror NOSFERATU (dir: F.W. Murnau, Germany), accompanied by a soundscape performed live by Minima and the 60-piece Queldryk Choral Ensemble directed by Paul Ayres. This multi-sensory feast will transform Spitalfields Market into a fully immersive experience, with absurdist poetry and architectural art projections casting monochrome shadows in a full-blown gothic re-imagining – and all for FREE!
BEST FILM AWARD / DIRECTOR IN RESIDENCE
EEFF is committed to giving exposure to new and distinctive filmmakers. First- and second-time directors are shortlisted for the Best Film Award, the winner of which is invited back the following year as Director in Residence. Choosing this year’s winner will be jury-members Joe Wright, Dexter Fletcher, Sandra Hebron and Adrian Wootton. This year’s Director in Residence is Vikramaditye Motwane, winner of EEFF’s Best Film Award in 2011 for the beautiful coming-of-age tale Udaan. EEFF will therefore present a selection of Indian and Bangladeshi features including the UK Premiere of controversial SCARECROW (BIJUKA) (dir: Ashtar Sayed, India) and the London Premiere of JAI BHIM, COMRADE (dir: Anand Patwardhan, India). The festival will also have its best ever programme of industry events at The Brickhouse, supported by SAE Institute and involving the likes of BAFTA, the BFI and BBC Films.
Referencing the five interlocking Olympic rings, EEFF will present five strands of films that altogether reflect its position as a festival of discovery, questioning the status quo with a mixture of art, music and political discourse all relevant to the energy of London’s East End. The five themes at the heart of this year’s festival are Resistance & Revolution, Art & Anarchy, Identity & Displacement, Out & Proud, Fun & Games.
RESISTANCE & REVOLUTION:
The festival acknowledges East London’s powerful history of grassroots activism through cinematic tales of challenges to the system: from the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring to the battle for rights and freedom in every corner of the globe. Highlights include London Premieres of acclaimed Sundance hit WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS (dir: Brian Knappenberger, USA), which probes activism in the virtual realm by offering a history of early ‘hactivist’ groups as well as documenting the radical collective known as ‘Anonymous’; THE LAW IN THESE PARTS (dir: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Israel) exploring the history behind Israel’s long term jurisdiction over Palestine; ½ REVOLUTION (dir: Omar Shargawi & Karim El Hakim, Egypt), a compelling first-person account of Egypt’s Arab Spring uprising; and the World Premiere of RIOT FROM WRONG (dir: Ted Nygh, UK), which examines the social unrest that swept through the UK last August.
ART & ANARCHY:
London’s East End is a home and an inspiration to countless artists, with Hackney Wick having the largest concentration of artist studios in the world, and with Shoreditch boasting many world-renowned galleries. Alongside the World Premiere of the Bob & Roberta Smith documentary MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN ART (dir: John Rogers, UK), EEFF echoes this with more artist inspired documentaries including the London Premiere of Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize winner AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY (dir: Alison Klayman, USA), the story of China’s most famous international artist – and its most outspoken domestic critic; the World Premiere of DAVE PEARSON: TO BYZANTIUM (dir: Derek Smith, UK), documenting how friends rescued the work of this highly prolific Hackney-born painter following his death in 2008; the World Premiere of ART WILL SAVE THE WORLD (dir: Niall McCann, Ireland), exploring the work of Luke Haines, one of the greatest English contemporary songwriters and the father of Britpop; and the London Premiere of IT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE (Dir: Anka Sasnal & Wilhelm Sasnal, Poland), the feature debut of world-renowned Polish painter Wilhelm Sasnal. Budding artists will enjoy A GRAND DAY OUT in Old Spitalfields Market, with a FREE lesson from famed modelmaker Jim Parkyn from Aardman Animations on how to build your own Gromit!
IDENTITY & DISPLACEMENT:
The festival offers a cinematic snapshot of where and who we are, and whether those two notions of self are connected in the digital, globalised age with a series of UK Premieres. Based on a bestseller, INGIDNADOS (dir: Tony Gatlif, France) shows us a world in flux through the eyes of a female illegal immigrant. In the comedy of manners FISH N’ CHIPS (dir: Elias Demetrious, Cyprus/UK) a Cypriot immigrant who worked in a London chip shop decides to return home to open his own chip shop. And in the European Premiere of FRAY (dir: Geoff Ryan, USA) a young Marine veteran faces a battle to find purpose when he re-enters civilian life.
OUT & PROUD:
EEFF aims for gold with films that celebrate the fact that the Olympics are coming to our neighbourhood, including the World Premiere of THE OLYMPIC SIDE OF LONDON (dir: Daniel Rugo, UK), a provoking portrait of the area narrated by Iain Sinclair, exploring the transformation from working class community to a vibrant and diverse cultural hotspot. Probing Britain’s biggest building site is the World Premiere of documentary BUILDERS AND THE GAMES (dir: Margaret Dickinson, UK), while PERSONAL BEST (dir: Sam Blair, UK) was made in partnership with Adidas and documents the art of sprinting. A quick cinematic sprint, WALK TALL (dir Kate Sullivan, UK) is a beautiful short about veteran British gymnast George Weedon and posture – just one of a realm of brilliant short films. The festival will also welcome the 1948 Olympic veterans, who represented Team GB the last time the Olympics came to London, with an evening celebrating their incredible stories.