The 15th East End Film Festival : 23 June – 03 July

EEFF2012_LOGOwhite3 copyThe 15th EAST END FILM FESTIVAL (EEFF) includes 20 World Premieres, 22 UK Premieres and 18 London Premieres. The festival opens on 23 June – the day of the EU referendum and a pivotal moment in history. Whatever the outcome, the festival programme provides many opportunities to chew the cud as we wake up to the jubilation or regret of Britain’s decision on Europe. EEFF will champion great British filmmaking with a slew of premieres showing the breadth and scope of Britain’s film industry. Crossing borders to the EU and beyond, there’ll be a Turkish focus, a monumental day of film and debate about displaced people from across the globe, and a weekend of celluloid classics portraying the collapse of civilisation. The future is our choice – what could possibly go wrong?

Affirming its status as a champion of breakthrough British filmmaking, EEFF opens with the gala World Premiere of ALLEYCATS ahead of a theatrical release via Universal. The first feature from acclaimed London-based filmmaker Ian Bonhôte, it’s set in the subversive and cut-throat world of illegal bike racing, and the equally cut-throat world of corruption, politics and shady MPs. This London-set thriller has a brilliant cast of British talent, led by Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Jack The Giant Slayer) and John Hannah (Four Weddings And A Funeral), plus new faces such as Jordan Stephens of hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks.


A feature documentary about an English music icon, the London Premiere of GARY NUMAN: ANDROID IN LA LA LAND (dir: Steve Read, Rob Alexander, UK) follows this pioneering electronic pop musician as he moves from the UK to LA, heading back to the studio and out on the road having dealt with Asperger’s syndrome, depression, anxiety and near bankruptcy – an intimate insight into one of the world’s most extraordinary artists.

Featuring live dance, manipulated re-projections and a semi-improvised drone score, Norman McLaren’s Oscar-nominated 1968 film PAS DE DEUX will be accompanied by the World Premiere of a brand new live soundtrack featuring maverick electronic musician Luke Abbott (Modern Driveway), live visuals from Dan Tombs, and dance and movement by award-winning dance artist Lucy Suggate. Supported by Arts Council England, this new commission from EEFF will be presented alongside a series of new artist film commissions.

Love-is-thicker-than-waterBRITISH FILM HIGHLIGHTS
Significant new British films include the World Premiere of LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER (dir: Emily Harris, Ate De Jong, UK), a sensitive London love story with a cast including Juliet Stevenson. The European Premiere of NATIVE (dir: Daniel Fitzsimmons, UK/USA) is stylish, East End-shot science fiction starring Rupert Graves and Ellie Kendrick. The World Premiere of THE GATES OF VANITY (dir: Suj Ahmed, UK) is a Hackney-set feature about a man fighting to reclaim his life when things take a disturbing turn. Dexter Fletcher has the odds stacked against him the European Premiere of A PUNTER’S PRAYER (dir: Savvas D. Michael, UK). In the UK Premiere of CHASING ROBERT BARKER (dir: Daniel Florenico, UK/Iceland/Brazil) a grizzled photographer is caught in the downward spiral of a fabricated tabloid story. Jodie Whittaker impresses in the London Premiere of ADULT LIFE SKILLS (dir: Rachel Tunnard, UK), a witty first feature that won the Nora Ephron Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. A follow-up to BAFTA-nominated Black Pond, THE DARKEST UNIVERSE (dir: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe, UK) tells of troubled sibling relationships on the canalways of London, featuring Joe Thomas, Simon Bird and other hot young British comics.

British documentaries reinforcing EEFF’s political identity include THE HARD STOP (dir: George Amponsah, UK), which follows friends of Mark Duggan as they seek justice following his death at the hands of the London Met in 2011 – Marcus Knox Hooke and Kurtis Henville will join a special post-screening debate. Part of EEFF’s ‘Day of Refuge’, the World Premiere of KETERMAYA (dir: Lucas Jedrzejak, UK/Lebanon) is a moving fable of hope and resilience set in a Lebanese refugee camp. A fascinating insight into East End history, the World Premiere of TALES FROM THE TWO PUDDINGS (dir: Rob West, UK) focuses on this iconic Stratford Broadway venue and its links to Harry Redknapp, David Essex and the Long Good Friday. The World Premiere of THE SEVEN SISTERS INDOOR MARKET (dir: Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou, UK/Greece) depicts urban regeneration and community exclusion in East London. The World Premiere of LONDON OVERGROUND (dir: John Rogers, UK) follows East End author Iain Sinclair and frequent collaborator Andrew Kötting as they traverse this train line on foot.

The festival’s UEL Centrepiece Gala is the London Premiere of SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS (dir: Oliver Schmitz, South Africa/USA/Germany). Set in the dying days of Apartheid, Steve Coogan plays a maverick lawyer defending a traumatised death row guard accused of murder – based on true events, it co-stars Andrea Riseborough. The London Premiere of THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER (dir: Brady Corbet, UK/Hungary/France) is an evocation of emerging evil, will a chilling turn from its star Robert Pattison. Patrick Wilson and Ian McShane star in the London Premiere of THE HOLLOW POINT (dir: Gonzalo López-Gallego, USA), a retro thriller set against the ferocity of the US-Mexico drug war. The UK Premiere of OPERATION AVALANCHE (dir: Matt Johnson, USA) is tensely crafted documentary/fiction set against the 1968 Apollo mission and Cold War paranoia.

Set in the near future in a world on the verge of collapse, FRENZY (ABLUKA) (dir: Emin Alper, Turkey/France/Qatar) is a timely state-of-the-nation thriller. A grisly, visually extraordinary first feature, the UK Premiere of WE ARE THE FLESH (TENEMOS LA CARNE) (dir: Emiliano Rocha Minter, Mexico) is a fairytale of power, rebirth and fresh meat. THE LURE (CORKI DANCINGU) (dir: Agnieszka Smoczynska, Poland) is an alluring fairytale about two mermaids who become cabaret stars in a Warsaw nightclub. Danish master Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns with the London Premiere of THE COMMUNE (KOLLEKTIVET) about a shared, democratic living experiment in 1970s Copenhagen. A gloriously mad debut feature, the UK Premiere of ALOYS (dir: Tobias Nölle, Switzerland) is a distinctive love story with amazing imagery. The UK Premiere of AS I OPEN MY EYES (A PEINE J’OUVRE LES YEUX) (dir: Leyla Bouzid, France) is a tale of rebellious youth set against the Arab Spring and the Tunis underground music scene.


The London Premiere of NATIONAL BIRD (dir: Sonia Kennebeck, USA) follows three drone operatives turned whistleblowers. Part of EEFF’s Cutting East youth festival, SONITA (dir: Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, Germany) follows a young Afghan refugee living in Iran who rejects an arranged marriage to pursue her rap music dreams. A UK Premiere screening in partnership with Open City, the epic HOMELAND (IRAQ YEAR ZERO) (dir: Abbas Fahdel, Iraq/France) is the ultimate cinematic account of the US invasion of Iraq. Another Open City partnership title, freight ship-set DEAD SLOW AHEAD (dir: Mauro Herce, France/Spain) is a mesmerising documentary reimagined as horror science-fiction.

25 years after appearing in Madonna’s Vogue music video, STRIKE A POSE (dir: Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan, Netherlands/Belgium) revisits the seven male dancers who formed a surrogate family with the Queen Of Pop – following this London Premiere is an after party at VFN. The UK Premiere of DESIRE WILL SET YOU FREE (dir: Yony Leyser, Germany) is a meander through Berlin’s queer scene, meeting Nina Hagen, Blood Orange and Peaches – screening on the eve of Pride In London, there’ll be an after party at Dalston Superstore. A UK Premiere, TRANSIT HAVANA (dir: Daniel Abma, Germany/Netherlands/Cuba) follows three Cubans awaiting gender realignment, while facing bigotry, poverty and prostitution.


Winner of Best Feature at EEFF2015 for his second feature Ivy, Turkish filmmaker Tolga Karaçelik returns in 2016 as Director In Residence. He’ll chair this years feature jury, alongside film writer and producer Kaleem Aftab, Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, American actor Ron Perlman, and Sarah Gavron, the British film director of Suffragette and Brick Lane. There’ll also be a special country focus on Turkey with titles including the UK Premiere of FRENZY (dir: Emin Alper, Turkey/France/Qatar).

From small beginnings nurturing local filmmakers and entertaining local audiences, EEFF has grown into one of Britain’s biggest and most relevant film festivals. This year EEFF strengthens its ties to the local East End community with its new ROOTS strand, including the Docklands Sinfonia orchestra performing a new 100th anniversary score to the 1916 film THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME in St Anne’s Church, a UK Premiere screening of Dubai Film Festival winner MARIAM (dir: Faiza Ambah, France/Saudi Arabia/USA), a free screening of SHONGRAM (dir: Munsur Ali, Bangladesh/UK) in partnership with London Bengali Film Festival, a SUNRISE PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR of the East End, a FILMS-FOR-FOOD initiative with Rainbow Collective, TOWER HAMLETS AT ITS BEST showcasing new local talent, a PARENT & BABY screening, a HARD OF HEARING screening and much more. All of EEFF’s Roots activity includes free tickets.

Other significant festival events include DAY OF REFUGE. Presented in partnership with the Refugee Council, UEL and Refugee Week, this thought-provoking day of screenings and debate confronts one of the greatest moral tests of our time.

The hidden Masonic Temple located within Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel hosts two days of classic films portraying the collapse of civilisation, including Ken Loach’s Land And Freedom and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. For a second year, EEFF and A Curious Invitation present THE MACABRE MASONIC MASQUERADE, transforming the Masonic Temple into a ballroom of macabre cabaret, circus and cinema. Bespoke festival bolt-on NEW QUEER VISIONS brings a feast of LGBTQ films to its residence at this year’s EEFF. EEFF join Genesis Cinema to resuscitate Adrian Wootton’s CRIME SCENE with a series of films exploring this crucial genre, and to celebrate 40 YEARS OF PUNK with screenings including Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer and Taqwacore: The Birth Of Punk Islam.

EEFF’s shorts programme comprises 64 films from Britain and farther afield. A further 8 shorts showcase the best young filmmakers to emerge from the University of East London’s BA Film, BA Animation and Illustration, and MA Filmmaking programmes.

EEFF’s targeted industry sessions MIND THE GAP focuses on filmmakers in transition between first to second feature. These expert-led workshops run 20-22 June.


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