The East End Film Festival: discovering, debating and developing new voices in cinema

About us

Founded in 2000, the East End Film Festival is one of the UK’s largest film festivals. 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 EEFF’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.

Attracting an annual audience of more than 30,000, the EEFF has established itself as a major international film festival situated at the heart of London’s most dynamic quarter. Committed to the work of first and second time directors, the annual EEFF showcases more than fifty feature film screenings, several short film programmes, and a variety of cross-arts events and industry activities across the festival. The EEFF’s established awards system includes: Best Feature (reserved for first and second time directors); Best Documentary; Best UK Short Film; and the EEFF Short Film Audience Award.


Previous festival jurors have included Joe Wright, RZA, Peter Bradshaw, Irvine Welsh, Armando Bo (Screenwriter, Birdman), Peter Straughn (Screenwriter, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). Previous festival guests have included Hugh Grant, Clive Owen, Ben Wheatley, Ron Perlman, Asif Kapadia and Ken Russell.

The EEFF boasts large audiences, ever-increasing industry support, high levels of international press coverage, and a large and incredibly diverse range of partnerships with organisations such as AmnestyInternational UK, Sheffield Doc/Fest, the BFI and Film London. The festival received unprecedented levels of attention in 2015, showcasing films to diverse, engaged audiences in record numbers.

EEFF 2016 takes place 23rd June – 3rd July 2016.


Originally founded in 2000 as a platform for filmmakers living and working in East London, the EEFF has since expanded to represent and showcase the very best in both British and international cinema whilst retaining its commitment to one of the world’s most vibrant filmmaking communities. The East End Film Festival is a completely not-for-proft CIC (Coummunity Interest Company), with no headline or corporate sponsors.

Originally established as the East London Film Festival by Stephen Murray and Sarah Wren (Tower Hamlets Council), the festival was renamed Raindance East in 2003, as Raindance took on responsibility for festival development. Ending its association with Raindance in 2005, the festival was renamed the East End Film Festival, and since then has developed exponentially to become a true festival of discovery, showcasing several films that have gone on to win international awards and be picked up for UK distribution.


Previous guests of the EEFF include Hugh Grant, Clive Owen, Ken Russell, Danny Boyle, Ron Perlman, Richard E. Grant, Julian Temple, Shekar Kapor, Ben Wheatley and Mike Figgis; as well as composers Michael Nyman (The Piano, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover) and Nitin Sawhney; producers Stephen Woolley (The Crying Game) and Andrew Macdonald (Trainspotting); and writers Tony Grisoni (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas) and Ayub Khan Din (East is East). The festival has also welcomed musicians such as The Libertines, Annie Lennox, The Levellers, Karl Hyde (Underworld) and The National; and artists ranging from Gilbert & George to Tracey Emin and Gillian Wearing.

Previous festival premieres include the second ever UK screening of the Director’s Cut of The Devils, with director Ken Russell in attendance; Danny Boyle’s Millions, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, and Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England; award-winning British documentaries including Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Julian Temple’s Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten and Jamie Jay Johnson’s Sounds Like Teen Spirit; and hard hitting foreign documentaries including Oscar-favourites Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, How To Survive A Plague, and Born Into Brothels. The EEFF also has a strong history of connecting the East End with Eastern Europe, including a 2012 retrospective of infamous Russian director Alexei Balabanov with the director in attendance.


The EEFF is also committed to excavating the boundaries between cinema and other art forms, regularly hosting exhibitions, installations, spoken word and live music events. Past highlights include Mark Donne’s The Rime of the Modern Mariner, an elegiac ode to Docklands culture performed in the beautiful Hawksmoor church St Anne’s with a live orchestral score; a 50th Anniversary screening of Polish classic Mother Joan of the Angels in the Sir John Soane designed St. John on Bethnal Green; a special screening of the Limehouse-set silent classic Broken Blossoms accompanied by pianist Neil Brand; and special live performances from artists such as The Guillemots, The Levellers, Public Service Broadcasting and Saint Etienne, as well as members of The Klaxons and Underworld.



Festival Director

Alison Poltock


Head of Programming

Andrew Simpson


Head of Industry

Rachael Castell


Head of Press

Stuart Haggas



Sophie Freeman


Roots Programmer & Partnerships Coordinator

Giulia Saccogna


Associate Art Director 

James Pretty


Guest Liaison

Mariana Feijó


Programme Coordinator

Dimitris Boutourelis


Programming Assistants

Jacopo Chiodi

Emma Burles


Head of Shorts

Thomas Grimshaw


Volunteers Coordinator

Owen Bevan


Festival Assistant

Holly Thicknes


Head of Marketing

Elizabeth Benjamin


Marketing Assistants

Laura Jacobs

Hol Roy


Events Assistants

Ian Lowe

Alex Praag


Website Manager

Ruben Santos



Programme Designer


Masonic Temple Guest Curator

Josh Saco


New Queer Visions Programmer & Event Producer

Simon Savory


Pas de Deux Producer

Kate Wilson


Head of Videography

Patricia Hetherington


Shorts Committee

Myriam Raja

Colm McAuliffee

Mary Halton

Holly Thicknes

Kate Williamson

Thanks to our great volunteers:

Benedetta Pollastrini, Albane Linyer, Alicia Barnes, Annie Lothian, Caitlin Heaton, Charlie Sawyers,
Cheryl O’garro, Cosima Barzini, Crina Ena,
Eleanor Gomes, Frances Moulton, Giulia Balsamo, Haidi Leung, Helen Nicholson, Holly Royce,
Irina Aleksejeva, Jacok Taylor-Kipping, Jennifer Dean, Joe Griffin, John Keimalis, Josephine Caldwell,
Julia Brow, Juliet Murray, Kaitlin Davies, Leanne Buntyan, Madeleine Jessell, Mia Michelino, Mio Tashiro, Rayshaun Davis, Rosemary Koper, Sabrina Petcu, Sam Todd,
Stine Sims, Wai In Lam, Yanni Zeng.