Go East!

What to watch out for at this year's East End Film Festival.

by Owen Van Spall


Originally founded in 2000 as a platform for filmmakers living and working in East London, London's East End Film Festival has since grown to represent and showcase the very best of contemporary British, European and World cinema. It attracts guests like Danny Boyle and Richard E. Grant, and sees its programmed films go on to win international awards, but keeps hold of its atmosphere of curiosity as opposed to grandiosity. This has allowed it to stand out in a cosmopolitan and cine-literate city already full to the brim with film festivals, to the point where even if you found yourself at leisure 24/7 it would not be possible to schedule them all in. And if films aren't your bag, the EEFF also runs exhibitions, installations, spoken word and live music events alongside the festival’s main programme, often in atmospheric London locations (including a Masonic Temple this year) that you might not have even known were on the map.

This year seems set to be a bumper one at EEFF; there is literally something for everybody jammed into the main strands of the programmes, with more than a few even more eclectic choices out in the sidebars. There are the expected main competition films bookended by opening and closing gala pictures, with cult actor and long term Guillermo del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman expected to appear on June 13 for the opening night gala screening of Dermaphoria from director Ross Clarke. Closing the festival on 25 June is Jack Bond's film Blue Black Hussar, which celebrates the return to prominence of one Stuart Goddard, aka Adam Ant. Mexican cinema also has a spotlight strand this year curated by 2013 EEFF competition winner director Sebastian Hoffman, and this year's Mexican highlights include The Golden Dream by Diego Quemada-Diez screening alongside eight other films from that country.

The Golden Dream
The Golden Dream

Many screenings will also feature Q&As and live performances, including those within the music strand. The Levellers are set to perform acoustic after the screening of their film A Curious Life, and Matt Berninger from The National will be taking part in a post-show Q&A for his brother's documentary Mistaken For Strangers.

EEFF also features Cutting East, billed as a 'youth led programme of films, music, exhibitions and performance...aiming to give young east Londoners an opportunity to curate a festival, promote new talent and give global youth a voice.' The EEFF Mind The Gap strand hosted at 3 Mills Studios aims to aid budding filmmakers by offering up three days of curated talks, panels, interviews, workshops and networking events that are aimed particularly at those trying to negotiate the hurdles between first and second film.

EEFF 2014 highlights

Dermaphoria - Friday 13 June, Genesis Cinema, 7pm. Followed by a Q&A with director Ross Clarke and star Ron Perlman

East end director Ross Clarke's film, which opens the 2014 festival, sees Eric Ashworth (Joseph Morgan, The Vampire Diaries) wake up in jail accused of arson, and only able to remember the name Desiree. A strange new hallucinogen allows him to recover his memories, but makes the world around him more and more terrifying, as past and present begin to blur together.

Mistaken For Strangers - 23 June 2014 at Genesis Cinema

Tom Berninger's debut film came about when his older brother and The National's lead singer, Matt, invited along his younger brother for the band's critical American tour. A funny, moving and insightful portrait that is as concerned with love and rivalry as it it is about critically acclaimed music.

A Curious Life & The Levellers (acoustic performance) - 15 June 6.30 PM at Red Gallery

Dunstan Bruce’s recounting of the history of the 90s indie success story through Jeremy Cunningham, the band’s bassist. The Levellers will perform after the screening.

Blue Caprice - 15 June 2014 at Hackney Picturehouse

Alexandre Moors’ psychological drama inspired by the ‘Beltway Sniper’ shootings that took place in 2002 in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.

White Shadow - 18 June 2014 at Hackney Picturehouse

Noaz Deshe’s debut feature (Executive Produced by Ryan Gosling) is a dark exploration of folk religion playing on vulnerability in modern Tanzania, as an albino boy struggles to survive in a country where between $500 and $5,000 is paid for an albino limb and where the annual average income is $400.

One Rogue Reporter - 21 June 2014 at The Rio

Recovering tabloid hack Rich Peppiatt goes after the industry that made him.

The Dance Of Reality - 16 June 2014 at Barbican

He's been away for 23 years, but surrealist enfant terrible Alejandro Jodorowsky is back with this poetic reflection on the filmmaker’s own childhood in a town on the edge of the Chilean desert.

The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears - 24 June 2014 at Red Gallery

Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s film, which doffs it cap to the offbeat Italian horror films of the 1970s, centres on a man searching for his missing wife in the labyrinthine halls of his apartment building, before being overwhelmed by the strange fantasies of sensuality and bloodshed emanating from the psyches of the building’s other inhabitants. This screening will feature a new pre-recorded soundtrack curated by Benjamin John Power (Fuck Buttons, Blanck Mass), and composed by UK electronic figures including Blanck Mass, Helm, Konx-Om-Pax, Roll The Dice, MoonGangs, C Spencer Yeh and Phil Julian.

The Golden Dream - 21 June 2014 at Hackney Picturehouse

Having already played Cannes, The Golden Dream by director Diego Quemada-Diez follows three teenagers trying to get from the slums of Guatemala to the US, via cargo trains and railroad tracks.

Palo Alto - 22 June 2014 at Hackney Picturehouse

Based on James Franco’s book, Gia Coppola’s directorial debut charts the lives of a group of confused, bored and horny teenagers growing up in Franco’s home suburb in California.

Masonic Temple Screenings - 14 and 16 June at Andaz Liverpool Street’s Masonic Temple

Showcasing EEFF's ability to open up London's hidden spaces, the weekend of 14 and 15 June sees a selection of screenings exploring the darker side of the world in the truly unique setting of Andaz Liverpool Street’s Masonic Temple. Includes a screening of illustrator and designer Dave McKean's collaborative (with Sandman creator Neil Gaiman) feature Mirrormask, a screening of the rarely seen Anthony Hopkins horror vehicle Audrey Rose curated by Cigarette Burns's Cinema Club, and BFI Flipside screenings of 1960s horror Brit Flick Night of the Eagle and the mondo-esque doc Secret Rites.

Cutting East EEFF Programme Strand: 20th – 22nd June at Genesis Cinema

EEFF's strand of films, music, exhibitions and performance aiming to give creative opportunities to young East Londoners.

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