East End Film Festival says farewell to summer slot with biggest run ever

The East End Film Festival has said goodbye to its summer slot with its biggest ever run. Radically rebuffing the traditional festival format of consecutive days, EEFF’s epic 16th edition spanned every weekend throughout the whole of June 2017 – a huge and unconventional farewell to the excess of summer. Looking forward to 2018, EEFF will return once again to its spring slot (EEFF moved from spring to summer in 2012 to be a part of the wider London 2012 Olympics celebrations) – just one of many new and exciting transformations to look forward to in 2018. 2017 festival highlights include:




The festival opened with a weekend of free outdoor screenings of iconic musicals at Old Spitalfields Market supporting Films For Food, with free admission in exchange for a donation of non-perishable goods to First Love Foundation who operate Tower Hamlets Foodbank. 372.7kg of food items was donated, which provides 745 meals. “Films For Food would like to thank the wonderful team at East End Film Festival and Old Spitalfields Market for giving us the opening night of the festival to do one of our events. This shows how unique EEFF is and how much it cares for its community. This event has allowed Films For Food to break all previous records with a massive 372.7kg of food for the Tower Hamlets community.” Hannan of Rainbow Collective (& co-founder of Films For Food.)




Numerous sold out screenings and events at EEFF2017 included BUTTERFLY KISSES, ALL EYEZ ON ME, THE PENALTY, TOM OF FINLAND, GHOLAM, POST-TRUTH: A CONVERSATION WITH JAMES BALL, FOLLOW THE MONEY, FORGOTTEN MAN, MY NAME IS SWAN, DISPOSSESSION: THE GREAT SOCIAL HOUSING SWINDLE. The biggest sold out event of all was EEFF’s World Premiere of MY NAME IS LENNY, screening to a 1,200 strong audience at York Hall in Bethnal Green with lead actors Josh Helman, UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping, Chanel Cresswell, Nick Moran and Charley Palmer Rothwell plus other VIP guests in attendance.




Other notable guests attending EEFF2017 included Jerry Hall & Rupert Murdoch (at the European Premiere of FORGOTTEN MAN), Demetrius Shipp Jr. & Kat Graham (at the European Premiere of ALL EYEZ ON ME), Thomas Turgoose (at the UK Premiere of BUTTERFLY KISSES), Ella Purnell, Georgie Henley & Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens (at the London Premiere of ACCESS ALL AREAS).



A new addition to EEFF in 2017 was the “East End Discovery” weekend – a shop window dedicated to showcasing and supporting the work of first and second time filmmakers, and giving a platform to the boldest new voices in film. During this weekend, EEFF hosted premieres of 28 British and international films currently without UK distribution. EEFF supplemented this by hosting an industry networking event within Andaz Liverpool Street hotel’s hidden Masonic Temple. Representatives from ten companies (Altitude Film Distribution, Arrow Films, Cornerstone Films, Curzon Artificial Eye, Lionsgate, Mubi, Studiocanal, Thunderbird Releasing, The Works, Verve Pictures) came along to sample a specially concocted East End cocktail, and for the opportunity to meet filmmakers and producers representing the slate of 28 films.



The festival also launched a brand new film fund during EEFF 2017. Open to filmmakers fighting to make their second feature here in the UK, the prize for EEFF’s inaugural Mind The Gap “Transit Film Award” is £10,000. This will be awarded to a project that resonates with EEFF’s ethos and dedication to supporting fresh and challenging voices in cinema, enabling the recipient to have time to work on the development of their second feature. This major new film award was created in partnership with director John Jencks, whose own second feature The Hippopotamus was released this summer. As well as his £10,000 start-up contribution, John Jencks will be donating all future profits he earns as director of The Hippopotamus to the ongoing fund, with other film directors similarly set to join him over the coming months. The first recipient will be announced during EEFF 2018.n




As part of its radical rebuffing of the usual film festival format, in 2017 EEFF dispensed with opening and closing night galas, and with jury awards. Festival audiences were however asked to vote for their favourite short film, and the winner of EEFF’s Short Film Audience Award 2017 is KILLING RUBY by Sam O’Mahony. A down-on-his-luck blue-collar man receives some heartbreaking news and decides to take matters in his own hands – which means having to get a gun. Director Sam O’ Mahony says: “We were delighted to premiere ‘Killing Ruby’ at EEFF. We always believed the film would take on a new life with an audience, so this particular award feels like the exciting next step. Thanks so much to everyone who voted. “.



EEFF says goodbye to head programmer Andrew Simpson, who takes up a new position as Director of Film Programming for Tyneside Cinema later this month. Festival Director Alison Poltock says: “Andrew has played a fundamental role in the development of the East End Film Festival over the past 8 years. His encyclopedic film knowledge and passion for creating new, dynamic cinematic experiences has helped shape the festival’s reputation as a home for bold storytelling and a launchpad for innovative, multi-media programming. The role of Director of Film Programming at Tyneside Cinema is an incredibly exciting opportunity and the perfect next step for him – we wish him all the very best in his new role. He’ll be sorely missed. Just watch out Tyneside!”




EEFF is now entering a period of seismic change. Ahead of its return to spring in 2018, the festival will undergo a radical reboot with a new vision, new partners, new awards and new ambitions. So watch this space.

As the East End Film Festival approaches its 16th year we are getting ready for our next big change. What began as a council-led weekend of screenings showcasing local filmmakers has evolved into one of the UK’s largest International Film Festivals. Looking forward to 2018, we will undergo a radical reboot as a festival with new dates, a new vision, new partners, awards, ambitions and much more.

Before this seismic shift next year you may think we’d be taking it easy to prepare, but we won’t be going quiet in 2017. Instead, we’re launching 5 epic and exhilarating weekends of cinematic joy as East End Film Festival takes over the whole of June!

East End Film Festival 2017 announcement: we’re back & bigger than ever

Stephen @ Upstart Photography - S&B-31

As the East End Film Festival approaches its 16th year we are getting ready for our next big change. What began as a council-led weekend of screenings showcasing local filmmakers has evolved into one of the UK’s largest International Film Festivals. Looking forward to 2018, we will undergo a radical reboot as a festival with new dates, a new vision, new partners, awards, ambitions and much more.

Before this seismic shift next year you may think we’d be taking it easy to prepare, but we won’t be going quiet in 2017. Instead, we’re launching 5 epic and exhilarating weekends of cinematic joy as East End Film Festival takes over the whole of June!


Each weekend will focus on one of the festival’s five core values:

  • using non-cinema venues
  • engaging with diverse audiences
  • supporting emerging filmmakers
  • breaking boundaries with cross-arts & music events
  • premiering vital new films

Free outdoor screenings at Spitalfields Market in conjunction with Films For Food.

Free & subsidised screenings and events focusing on community, heritage and local engagement.

Shop window showcasing features and documentaries currently without UK distribution.

Experiments with cross arts and culture – including a Twin Peaks themed ball at the Masonic Temple deep within Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel.

Premieres a hand-picked selection of vital new films ahead of their general release.

Please note: Final submission deadline for East End Film Festival 2017 is 7 April (14 April for Withoutabox members, 17 April for FilmFreeway members).

Watch this space for the full 2017 programme announcement in May.

EEFF is also thrilled to announce an official education partner and a new film award.


With an emphasis on first- and second-time filmmakers, EEFF is an established platform for new voices in cinema. Through its industry sessions Mind The Gap, established in 2013, the festival provides filmmakers with the tools and knowledge to have a sustainable career in the industry. Addressing the fact that too many first-time directors never make a second film, these expert-led Mind The Gap workshops support the transition between first and second feature. As the festival moves forward, so do EEFF’s plans to enhance its education manifesto. The University of East London (UEL) have supported EEFF since 2015, and the festival is now thrilled to name UEL as official education partner, further strengthening the ties between EEFF and UEL, and enabling EEFF to begin developing year-round educational programmes.


EEFF is further investing in the future of film by implementing a brand new film fund. Open to filmmakers who are fighting to make their second feature here in the UK, the prize for EEFF’s inaugural Mind The Gap “Transit Film Award” is £10,000. The prize will be awarded to a project that resonates with EEFF’s ethos and dedication to support fresh and challenging voices in cinema. Submissions will open during EEFF 2017 in June, with the inaugural winner announced during the awards presentation at EEFF 2018.

A different director will support this new award each year, with each director donating a minimum of 1% of profits from their latest film to the award fund. The first award is made possible by director John Jencks, who co-created the award with East End Film Festival. As well as the £10,000 start-up contribution, he will be donating any future profits he earns as director of The Hippopotamus, his second feature, to the ongoing fund.

EEFF Submissions Open!


Reasons to look forward to 2017: 1. A new year brings new possibilities. 2. It’s not 2016 (because, let’s face it…) 3. The countdown to EEFF 2017 BEGINS!

Here at East End Film Festival we are getting ready to announce some exciting plans to the world, and couldn’t be more giddy with anticipation about what the new year will bring. Having spent the last six months planning some major changes to the festival, it’s almost time for us to reveal all…

In the meantime we’re delighted to reveal that we will be opening submissions for the next edition of the East End Film Festival in less than two weeks! Submissions for next summer’s celluloid celebration will open on the first day of the New Year – 1 January 2017. Submit your films, of all lengths and genres, to the 2017 June edition of the East End Film Festival, via Withoutabox and Film Freeway from the first day of the New Year.

Submit. Turn over a new leaf. Join us. More soon.

For more details on EEFF 2017 Submissions, visit our submissions page here.

EEFF Preview Moonlight at Curzon Aldgate


EEFF is thrilled that independent cinema champions Curzon will be unveiling a brand new cinema in the East End in early 2017. Opening its doors on 20 January, Curzon Aldgate will feature four screens, a beautiful cafe-bar, and another boost to the thriving cinematic landscape of East London. Find out more about the cinema here.

To celebrate, EEFF will be presenting a special advance preview of Barry Jenkins’ phenomenal second feature Moonlight on 26 January, ahead of its nationwide release by Altitude Films on 17 February.

A revolutionary portrait of a young man’s journey through life growing up in a poor district of Miami, it has won prizes and plaudits the world over for its portrayal of black youth, and its explorations of masculinity and sexuality. Truly unmissable, we are delighted to present this screening as our first of 2017, continuing the EEFF’s commitment to the work of first and second time directors.

Join us at 8.45pm on 26 January as we celebrate the opening of East London’s newest cinema, the start of a new year, and see one of the best films of 2017 before anyone else. Click here to book tickets.

There Goes The Neigbourhood


Join us in the eerie confines of a Masonic Temple as we screen a series of films that will make you think twice about knocking on your neighbours door…The Masonic Temple at the Andaz Liverpool Street is a place of secrets, macabre mysteries, and the hidden lives of upstanding members of society. In a year in which we have seemingly turned against ourselves, what better time for a film season about trouble in suburbia, whether we can trust our neighbours, and the dark secrets behind the white picket fence; all in London’s spookiest, most atmospheric venue.

From David Lynch’s classic suburban nightmare Blue Velvet, to haunted house classic Poltergeist, and from terrifying monster that is The Babadook, to the ultimate cautionary tale about the boy next door, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; this is a series that sees iconic films asking what happens when you can’t trust your neighbours, your home, or even your own family. A series of classic chillers presented in one of London’s most haunting venues, save the following dates for your diaries:

21 February – Blue Velvet

28 March – Psycho 

18 April – Poltergeist

 30 May – The Babadook

Tickets for each screening are £15, including a complimentary drink and popcorn, with £30 dinner packages also available. Click here to buy tickets.

Stonewall Season at Temple Cinema!


Stonewall, the Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel and the East End Film Festival are delighted to announce an LGBT-themed film weekend as part of Stonewall Season!

Following a sold out series of screenings in the Andaz London’s eerie, hidden Masonic Temple over the past year, and to celebrate Stonewall Season in November, Andaz London, the East End Film Festival and VICE Media will be hosting two very different LGBT screenings in the Masonic Temple on Friday 4th November and Sunday 6th November, with all proceeds going to Stonewall. EEFF is delighted to present two chilling horror classics in the temple, both of which contain gay themes…

Tickets for the below screenings are just £10, and can be purchased here.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – Friday 4th November
When A Nightmare on Elm Street became an unexpected smash hit, the birth of a horror classic also spawned a huge number of sequels to Wes Craven’s terrifying original. What was less predictable was that A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge would also be one of the gayest mainstream horror films ever made…

Following a young man named Jesse who is forced to battle Freddy Kruger after his family moves to Elm Street, this is classic 1980s slasher fare, but with a twist: all the victims are male; Jesse seems to prefer his best friend to his girlfriend; there’s terror in the locker room… and that’s not even mentioning a visit to a very particular nightclub. A one-off example of Hollywood (unintentionally) green-lighting a script (intentionally) laden with gay subtext, don’t miss the chance to see this classic gay horror landmark on the big screen, in the most spectacular of settings.


VICE documentary night triple bill + Director Introductions – Sunday 7th November
Young and Gay: In Putin’s Russia: When Russian President Vladimir Putin passed anti-gay ‘propaganda’ legislation in the summer of 2014, the country effectively institutionalised homophobia throughout the nation and turned Russia’s LGBT population into full-blown enemies of the state. The all-pervasive law systematically dismantled basic human rights, blocking LGBT people from accessing support or legal help in every aspect of Russian society and led to a sharp rise in homophobic attacks and hate crime. Ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, VICE News travelled to Russia to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia on Moscow’s LGBT youth, meeting leading gay rights activists, Putin’s spin doctor, the lawmaker behind the repressive legislation and the individuals protesting against their own government for the right to live freely and without fear.

Young and Gay, Jamaica’s Gully Queens: VICE News travels to the sewers of New Kingston to meet the ‘Gully Queens’ – a group of young LGBTI Jamaicans forced out of family homes and into the underground dwellings of the capital by the constant threat of attack, rape and murder by anti-gay mobs.In a country where the ‘Buggery Law’ still exists and carries a ten-year prison sentence, VICE News explores how young trans girls and gay men are leading the fight against Jamaica’s institutionalised homophobia through visibility and a fierce community spirit.

Gaycation, Japan: GAYCATION follows best friends Ellen Page and Ian Daniel as they set off to explore LGBT cultures around the world, starting with Japan, where same-sex marriage is still not legal and LGBT couples often bear a social stigma. Despite the huge challenges, parts of the gay community continue to thrive in Japan’s vibrant culture and nightlife and in some cities, same-sex marriage is even starting to become recognised. In a journey which includes getting ‘friendship-married’ at a Buddhist temple, working at a rent-a-friend agency and joining the party in the world’s smallest gay bar, Ellen and Ian find out what it’s really like to identify as LGBT in Japan and meet some of the people struggling to find their voice in a country that refuses to give them equal rights under the law.

All three films will feature directors’ introductions. 

Tickets for the above screenings are just £10, and can be purchased here.

EEFF at the Royal Academy


Returning by Royal Appointment! Following screenings with artist filmmakers Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Andrew Kotting and Matt Hulse, the East End Film Festival returns to the Royal Academy of Arts this Autumn for a special series of screenings on the subject of artists in adversity.

Featuring Lucy Walker’s beautiful Waste Land, which follows Vik Muniz’s representations of workers at a landfill site in Rio de Janiro; Dominic Allan’s extraordinary portrait of drug addict gangster turned world famous painter Calvet; Zachery Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer, about famed ‘boxing painter’ Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko; and the story of artist Pir Kirkeby’s return to painting after a horrific accident in Man Falling; this is an incredible selection of films laying bare the sacrifices artists make for their work.

Presenting a series of monthly events, this special programme represents a series of eye opening films, designed to introduce exciting cinematic work on cutting edge artists, complete with special introductions. Normally reserved for Friends of the RA, special booking links will be be available for EEFF mailing list subscribers.

For more information and to book tickets (which include a welcome drink and popcorn) for Calvet, click here.

To book tickets for Man Falling, click here.

Women Win Big At EEFF


In an industry often criticised for the prevalence of men in front of and behind the camera, the 15th East End Film Festival is privileged to herald a tide of change – because, for the first time in the festival’s history, all four recipients of EEFF’s jury awards are female filmmakers. Each of these films also focus on a female protagonist at the very heart of the story – be it fictional or documentary. “It’s fantastic to see so many women represented – a huge congratulations to all our winners this year,” says East End Film Festival director Alison Poltock. “With women making up less than 14% of filmmakers in the UK, it shows that whilst the quantity may be low, clearly the quality is extremely high.”

A vital part of East End Film Festival’s mission to discover, debate and develop new voices in cinema is the festival’s award system. The top award is reserved for the most outstanding film from a first- or second-time director, and the recipient of this year’s Best Feature award is AS I OPEN MY EYES | A PEINE J’OUVRE LES YEUX (France, Tunisia, 2015), Leyla Bouzid’s brilliant fictional film about the Arab Spring. It’s the story of 18-year old Farah who is being pressured to become a doctor by her family – but what she really wants is to sing in her band and experience the Tunis underground music scene. Set in the months leading up to the Jasmine Revolution, Leyla Bouzid’s first feature is a humane portrait of counterculture in a conservative society, with incredible songs and a serious heart.

It was chosen by a jury comprising EEFF2016 Director In Residence Tolga Karaçelik (Best Feature award recipient in 2015 for Ivy), film writer and producer Kaleem Aftab, Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, American actor Ron Perlman, and Sarah Gavron, the British film director of Suffragette and Brick Lane. “This told an important story in a way that engaged me emotionally,” Sarah Gavron said. “It has a very naturalistic improvised feel, was culturally revealing, and captured the complex political moment in Tunisia through a personal story. Fascinating in terms of the themes it explores around political censorship and the role of women.”

Leyla Bouzid will be invited back to the festival in 2017 as Director In Residence, following Tolga Karaçelik (Ivy, 2015), Noaz Deshe (White Shadow, 2014), Sebastian Hofmann (Halley, 2013), Armando Bo (El Ultimo Elvis, 2012), Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan, 2011), Bobby Parnescu (Francesca, 2010).

Female filmmakers also won EEFF’s other jury awards. SONITA (Germany, 2015) was named Best Documentary by a jury comprising multimedia artist Bob & Roberta Smith, critically acclaimed filmmaker Katharine Round, writer-director Mark Donne (Rime of the Modern Mariner EEFF2010 and The UK Gold EEFF2013), and punk legend Bruno Wizard. This extraordinary documentary by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami follows a young Afghan refugee living in Iran, who rejects an arranged marriage in order to pursue her dream of making rap music.

EEFF’s Accession Award focuses on a different discipline each year. In 2016 it champions the subtle, all encompassing craft of screenwriting, and was judged by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Bola Agbaje. The winner is Rachel Tunnard, writer and director of ADULT LIFE SKILLS (UK, 2016) – this witty, moving British feature starring Jodie Whittaker has already won the Nora Ephron Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, and this latest accolade from EEFF marks Rachel as an important new voice in British film.

The recipient of Best UK short is the documentary THE THIRD DAD by Theresa Moerman Ib, a personal journey that interweaves memory, self-discovery and a desperate attempt at reconciliation.

The recipients of EEFF Short Film Audience Award are GOALIE by Toa Stappard, and ELEVEN LESSONS FROM AN AWESOME OLD DYKE by Allison Khoury.

Andrea Riseborough at EEFF

Andrea Riseborough, rdv à Paris

We are delighted that acclaimed actor Andrea Riseborough will be attending the East End Film Festival for the festival’s UEL Centrepiece Gala screening of Shepherds & Butchers this evening. The star of Birdman, W.E., Bloodline, Shadow Dancer, Brighton Rock and Made in Dagenham will be in attendance on the red carpet tonight to talk about her work on this powerful legal thriller set in the last days of Apartheid South Africa, in which she appears alongside Steve Coogan, and to answer audience questions following the screening.

The last few tickets for tonight’s UEL Centrepiece Gala are available here.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: The Hard Stop

The Hard Stop

We are delighted to announce that acclaimed journalist Krishnan Guru Murthy will be chairing our panel discussion following EEFF’s screening of The Hard Stop on 30 June. Krishnan will be joined by director George Amponsah, subjects Marcus Knox Hooke and Kurtis Henville, ex-London Met Policeman Mick Lees, Stafford Scott (Race Advocacy Officer at The Monitoring Group) and Deborah Coles from InQuest for a special extended discussion of the Mark Duggan case, its aftermath, and the relationship between London’s Met Police and London’s black community.

When Mark Duggan died at the hands of the London Met in 2011, the reaction was unlike anything seen in Britain since the early ‘80s. But whilst the Tottenham Riots made headlines around the world, the true circumstances of Duggan’s death remained mysterious. An incredibly vital pursuit of the truth, The Hard Stop follows Marcus and Kurtis as they seek justice for their friend, in the process exploding the historical tensions between law enforcement and London’s black community.

Followed by an extended filmed panel discussion with Krishnan Guru-Murthy, director George Amponsah, Marcus Knox Hooke, Kurtis Henville, ex-London Met Policeman Mick Lees, Stafford Scott (Race Advocacy Officer at The Monitoring Group) and Deborah Coles (InQuest).

Tickets available on the Genesis website here.