East End Film Festival 2017 |

June 8th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

The 16th EAST END FILM FESTIVAL takes place in London’s East End EVERY WEEKEND in June 2017, and there are 5 epics to look forward to celebrating a different focus and making the most of non-cinema venues premiering an exciting array of bold and challenging feature films and documentaries from new and emerging new talent. Next year the festival plans a move to Spring slot.


Tom-of-Finland There will be a chance to see two recent biopics: Benny Boom’s on the multi-talented cult figure Tupac Shakur, ALL EYEZ ON ME and Dome Karukoski’s biodrama on legendary gay icon TOM OF FINLAND. Other documentaries cover topics as contraversial as Brexit BREXITANNIA and America’s Death Penalty THE PENALTY (Dir: Will Francome).


Chitty-Chitty-Bang-BangThe 16th edition of East End Film Festival commences with EAST END OUTDOORS (Fri 2 & Sat 3 June). This weekend of FREE outdoor screenings at Old Spitalfields Market is themed around iconic musicals including a family-friendly matinee of the 1968 British musical classic CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, and an East End screening of WEST SIDE STORY.


Bred-and-BornReflecting the energy and cultural mix of London’s East End, the second weekend (Thu 8 – Sun 11 June) focuses on films and events with local resonance. The World Premiere of MY NAME IS LENNY (dir: Ron Scalpello, UK) covering the life of the Britain’s famous bare-knuckle fighter Lenny McLean aka ‘the Guv’nor – interesting to compare this with Walter Hill’s Charles Bronson starrer HARD TIMES (1975) – it also has John Hurt in one of his final acting roles. A duet of female films OFTEN DURING THE DAY (directed by Joanna Davis, 16 mins, 1979) is a closely mapped investigation of a kitchen, and women’s relationship to the domestic sphere. And BRED AND BORN (directed by Joanna Davis and Mary Pat Leece, 75 mins, 1983) is an experimental documentary, produced over four years, which interweaves two parallel strands: a women’s discussion group on mother-daughter relationships, and interviews with four generations of women from an East End family. There is also the UK Premiere of A CARIBBEAN DREAM (dir: Shakirah Bourne, UK/Barbados), a Barbados-set re-imagining of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, starring Susannah Harker as Titania.


GholamThe EAST END DISCOVERY (Thu 15 – Sun 18 June) weekend showcases features and documentaries currently looking for UK distribution: and offers the chance to see quality films looking for general release and the best new and unsigned films from emerging directors. Following his role in Oscar-winning The Salesman, Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini takes the title role in the European Premiere of GHOLAM (dir: Mitra Tabrizian, UK) as a man haunted by his past and depressed by his uncertain future. Canadian director Arran Shearing presents FORGOTTEN MAN, a black and white romantic comedy that follows a young actor with an East End theatre company for the homeless, who falls for a wealthy out-of-towner. S_T_R_A_Y_S-300x300The World Premiere of S|T|R|A|Y|S (dir: Barnaby Miller, UK) is an unflinching depiction of modern London that blurs the lines between real life and animation. Also worth a watch is the debut thriller from Bela Tarr protegee Emma Rozanski’s edgy horror sci-fi thriller PAPAGAJKA- a cautionary tale about strange characters in inner city Sarejevo and PROVENANCE that sees a mysterious stranger threaten the new start in life for a classical musician and his girlfriend when they move to Provence (17 June 18.30)

ProvenanceOscar-nominated filmmaker David France (How To Survive A Plague from EEFF2012) documents a legendary fixture of New York’s gay ghetto in the London Premiere of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON (dir: David France, USA) – structured as a whodunit, it celebrates Marsha’s lasting political legacy while seeking to solve the mystery of her unexplained death.

The London Premiere of fiction/documentary hybrid DRIB (dir: Kristoffer Borgli, Norway) re-enacts the story of a failed violent marketing campaign for a well-known energy drink. Three Hackney-based filmmakers follow a $10 bill as it criss-crosses the United States in the European Premiere of FOLLOW THE MONEY (dir: John Hardwick, Ben Unwin, Steve Boggan, UK), building a unique and surprising portrait of the American people.


The EAST END SUBMERGE (Thu 22 – Sun 25 June) weekend includes includes a massive costumed TWIN PEAKS BALL taking over Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel, and a programme of screenings in the hotel’s hidden Masonic Temple including an Alex Cox acid-western double bill of WALKER and STRAIGHT TO HELL

Another highlight of this weekend will be a live performance with Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair of experimental documentary EDITH WALKS, a programme of artists films from Bethnal Green artist collective no.w.here, a live soundtrack from East India Youth, and a female punk night raising funds for a documentary about X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene. On 23 June, the first anniversary of the Brexit vote, EEFF present the London Premiere of BREXITANNIA (dir: Timothy George Kelly, UK/Russia), a funny, sometimes terrifying and non-judgemental look at new populist politics, followed by a panel discussion with opinions from all sides of the debate. At Castle Cinema, Hackney’s new crowdfunded community cinema, is the venue for the World Premiere of MY NAME IS SWAN (dir: Adam Carr, UK), an odyssey of loss in a shifting cityscape with music by Samuel Kilcoyne and Takatsuna Mukai.


MenascheThe EEFF culminates with EAST END HEADLINE (Thu 29 June – Sun 2 July) a handpicked selection of titles on their way to Britain’s cinemas. Berlinale Generation Plus winner BUTTERFLY KISSES (dir: Rafael Kapelinski, UK) follows three friends battling with their own demons in a teenage world that revolves around sex and porn. Not to be missed is another standout Berlinale drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the London Premiere of MENASHE (dir: Joshua Z Weinstein, USA) explores the lonely life of a put-upon widower in Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community as he battle for custody of his son. And James Ball, formerly of WikiLeaks and now Buzzfeed, will be joining the festival for a special discussion around the subject of post-truth politics. MT




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