Exciting news! The team at East End Film Festival have announced their festival line-up for 2016, and it looks really strong – themes around London people, protest and play. And much more.
It’s always one of my favourite festivals, I’ve been to see at least a couple of films every year since I moved to London in 2007. Anyway, what are the highlights for this year?
The opening Gala – Alleycats
A must for any cycling film fans. London-based filmmaker Ian Bonhote makes a rip-roaring debut feature in Alleycats, a thriller that takes the audience on a thrilling journeyÂ through the streets of London from the seat of a bicycle. AlleycatsÂ promises to be a riotously entertaining, tense gauntlet ride through the streets of London, featuring a flock of rising British talent. Tickets are here.
The Crime Scene strand
Launched in 2000 by Adrian Wootton, Crime Scene heralds all things crime-related on film. Telling us about the current state of society, this series intends to go beyond detectives and noir, whilst still celebrating the genre. Exploring narratives of resistance and identity in a world where big business and government define laws through money and controlâ€¦more than ever the Crime Scene represents the journey of the little man or woman up against the stacked odds of deprivation, corporate power and the State.
Films that have caught my eye include Marcus Fleming’s Six Rounds and Jake Gabbay Kingsland, both focused on London, crime and boxing. Â Adrian Tanner’s Redistributors – a thriller for the age of the Panama Papers, about modern-day Robin Hood style hackers – looksÂ brilliant too. Another provocative film in this strand is Kettling Of The Voices, by Chester Yang. This documentary looks atÂ the student movement in the UK, and the erosion of the right to protest.
Days Of Refuge strand
This year, the East End Film Festival shines a light on an issue of monumental global relevance – the plight of refugees. Exacerbated by ongoingÂ humanitarian crises in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere – today, Europe faces one of its greatest moral tests in its response to the needs and circumstances of persecuted and displaced people from all over the globe.Â Presented in partnership with the Refugee Council, UEL and Refugee Week, A Day of Refuge is a chance to examine and debate the refugee crisis, the response of developed nations to genuine human need, and the responsibility of filmmakers examining the refugee experience on film.
Eye-catching films include Ketermaya by Lucas Jedrzejak. The programme tells us “In the camp of Ketermaya children playÂ and dream, just like any other children.Â Beneath the surface, things are not soÂ easy for these Syrian kids, who have fledÂ fighting, chemical weapons and chaos.”
Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea is also a vital picture, a documentary following a 12-year-old boy who lives on the island of Lampedusa, a symbolic border crossed by thousands of migrants in search of freedom.
The Darkest Universe
The super talented Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley follow the BAFTA-nominated Black Pond with thisÂ picture aboutÂ troubled sibling relationships, alienation and aliens. Here’s what the programme says: “When his sister Alice and her boyfriend disappear on the canalways of London, Zac desperately sets out to find her. Featuring Joe Thomas and Simon Bird, The Darkest Universe is a brilliantly distinctive, emotive piece of comedic filmmaking, featuring some of Britainâ€™s most exciting young comic actors.” The Darkest Universe is part of East End Film Festival’s competition line-up.
There’s so much going on, i’ve really not done this year’s festival justice. An annual multi-platform festival held in London, the EEFF presents a rich and diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. The EEFFâ€™s mission is to discover, support, and exhibit pioneering work by global and local independent filmmakers, and to introduce viewers to innovative and challenging cinematic experiences. It attracts an audience ofÂ 30,000+ each year,Â join them and find out more online here.