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!

Leave a Reply