The 2014 East End Film Festival kicks off this Friday, 13th June, and runs until Wednesday 25th, with screenings, talks, classes and other events scattered about venues in London’s glittering East End.
The festival, started in 2000, has established itself as one of the biggest in the UK, and as one of the most exciting for new filmmakers. Having started as a way to showcase the work of filmmakers living in East London, who tended to be new and up and comers, rather than established industry bods, the festival has earned a reputation for innovation and adventure in its programming and wider activities, and it retains its commitment to providing a platform for the work of first and second-time directors.
Running for a beefy 12 days, the schedule is understandably packed. Here are a few films and events that have caught our eyes:
Casablanca Calling – “The story of a quiet social revolution, Casablanca Calling takes us to the heart of a fierce sociological debate currently sweeping through Morocco. In a country where 60% of women have never been to school, a new generation of women have started work as Morchidat (official Muslim leaders)” – 18th June
Cutting It Short – “Curated by the Cutting East team, this collection of short film demonstrate the wealth of young filmmaking talent from the borough and abroad.” – 22nd June
Dermaphoria – “A fragmented, involving plunge into a fractured psyche, Eric Ashworth wake ups in jail, accused of arson and incapable of piecing together the reasons for his being there… he discovers a strange new hallucinogen that allows him to recover his memories. Demystifying his clouded past…but as his tolerance for the drug increases, the world around him becomes more and more interchangeable with his imagination.” – 13th June
Hackney’s Finest – “A riotous, knowing comedy-thriller that pits a group of hopeless Hackney drug dealers against a group of corrupt policemen, Russian thugs & Welsh-Jamaican arms dealers.” – 14th June
Screen Test Shorts – “A collection of short films programmed in collaboration with Screen Test, the national student film festival, celebrating the best work from students based in London colleges.” – 21st June
Malaventura + Mexican Cinema Panel – “Following Sebastian Hofmann’s Best Feature Award win at the festival last year for the extraordinary Halley, the EEFF features a special focus on cutting edge Mexican cinema in 2014.” – 22nd June
Going to the source of new and experimental filmmaking, the EEFF also have a number of dedicated short film showcases, divided into different themes, including: Alienation, Britain On Film, Confrontation, Deviation, Devotion, Obsession, Perception, and Reaction.
This year they’re also paying special attention to Mexican cinema, with a number of films programed and also discussions on the state of cinema in the country.
A festival that focusses on new filmmakers wouldn’t be worth its salt without some classes to help those kind of filmmakers, and EEFF have more than a few such classes in their Mind The Gap sessions. Spread over three days there are classes and talks covering areas such as; adopting a business approach to creative work, advice on legal, regulatory and commercial issues, how to develop a long-term career in filmmaking, getting paid to make films, and how to get an agent (kidnap, obviously). If you have any interest or involvement in filmmaking then we highly recommend you check out the full list of classes.
(There’s no mention of the momentous Gorilla Film Magazine event ‘Hello My Name Is’ that was part of the EEFF CineEast event in 2012. I can only assume they think it was too good to bring up.)
EEFF has been gradually, but constantly growing since its inception and its focus on new filmmakers makes it one of the most exciting festivals on the calendar, not just for casual film watchers who might catch a glimpse of the next big Brit filmmaker, but also for filmmakers themselves as they get to size up the competition and maybe get some inspiration or encouragement. If you’re in London over the next fortnight, then a trip to the EEFF should be in your diary.
Full programme on the website.