East End Film Festival 2011

East End Film Festival 2011 – Celebrating Ten Years

Since its first edition in 2001, East End Film Festival has grown to become one of the UK’s largest film festivals. Last year’s festival comprised over 200 screenings and events across 29 venues, reaching an audience of over 30,000 people – and this year East End Film Festival will celebrate its TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY with a programme that promises to be even bigger and better!

From our opening night World Premiere gala screening of an all-access documentary about The Libertines, to an array of brilliant British films, hot international premieres including a focus on Polish and Romanian new wave cinema, street parties and heritage screenings to celebrate the Royal Wedding, two afternoons of film and music curated by Guillemots and Saint Etienne in collaboration with Camden Crawl, the UK Premiere of a digitally re-mastered classic presented by Adrian Utley, a controversial and rarely seen British feature plus director Q&A with Ken Russell, a free outdoor screening in Spitalfields Market of silent 1925 classic Manasse with live accompaniment by Minima, and a Bank Holiday bonanza of movie madness where hundreds of free screenings, projections, live music and events will be found in every nook and cranny of the East End… there’s a massive sense of celebration in the air!

The festival opens on 27 April with the World Premiere gala screening of Roger Sargent’s THE LIBERTINES – THERE ARE NO INNOCENT BYSTANDERS. Frequently described as the UK’s most important music photographer, Roger Sargent was responsible for shooting many iconic photos of acclaimed British band The Libertines, and his debut feature produced by integrated content production company Pulse is an all-access documentary that followed Carl Barat, Pete Doherty, John Hassall and Gary Powell when they got together in 2010 for the band’s reunion. Screening at the 2,200 seat art deco Troxy in Limehouse, this World Premiere will be followed by an exclusive party with band members and other special guests attending. An exhibition of Roger Sargent’s photographs will run in Spitalfields Market during the festival.

Also celebrating a 10th birthday in 2011 is renowned music festival Camden Crawl, and so we’re thrilled to collaborate with them on SONIC FILM, two afternoons of cinema and music curated for East End Film Festival by Brit and Mercury Music Prize nominated indie rock band Guillemots and by acclaimed British alternative dance act Saint Etienne.

With an emphasis on home-grown talent, British films include DONKEYS, the debut feature of BAFTA Award winning short filmmaker Morag Mckinnon. Starring Martin Compston, James Cosmo, Brian Pettifer, and Kate Dickie, this witty family drama focuses on a comically inept old man who is desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter, and is the second film in the Advance Party concept, a joint venture between Sigma Films and Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa. We also revisit the first film, RED ROAD.

Kanchi Wichmann’s BREAK MY FALL is a provocative ode to the 24 hour party culture of London’s East End, and is one of a number of debut features with gay themes at this year’s festival. Documenting a talent contest for Nepal’s transgender community, BEAUTY AND BRAINS is a sensitive debut by British filmmaker Catherine Donaldson. Afgan-born filmmaker Burhan Qurbani’s debut feature FAITH (SHAHADA) was his film school exam project – and a surprise inclusion in 2010’s Berlinale competition. It follows three Muslims in Berlin, where alluring liberated lifestyles conflict with deeply-rooted traditions. Jan Gassmann’s debut feature OFF BEAT follows a gay rapper whose life begins to spiral out of control due to drugs and a fear that he’s past his prime. Inspired by established gay filmmaker Joselito Altarejos’s own childhood, PINK HALO-HALO takes the viewpoint of a young Filipino boy whose perspective is shaped by a blossoming affinity for all things feminine.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster in possibly their most iconic roles, the UK Premiere of the digitally re-mastered TAXI DRIVER will be presented at Aubin Cinema by Adrian Utley of Portishead fame.

East End Film Festival will offer a rare opportunity to see British director Ken Russell’s highly controversial 1971 film THE DEVILS. Starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave, it tells of a priest in 17th-century France accused of sexually tempting a convent of nuns by devilish means. Due to its disturbingly violent, sexual, political and religious content, the film was banned in many countries and heavily edited for release in others. Restored thanks to film critic Mark Kermode, the Directors Cut has only ever officially been screened once, and Warner Bros. still refuse to release the film forty years on. A Q&A with Ken Russell will follow this 40th anniversary screening. Based on the same historical events is Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s MOTHER JOAN OF THE ANGELS (MATKA JOANNA OD ANIOLOW), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival. Fifty years later, this landmark Polish film will screen in the hallowed church setting of St John on Bethnal Green. Other provocative films include the Spanish horror-thriller JULIA’S EYES (LOS OJOS DE JULIA). Directed by Guillem Morales and co-produced by Guillermo del Toro, it’s the story of a young woman who is slowly going blind whilst at the same time trying to uncover the mysterious death of her twin sister. Another eerie Spanish film is Eugenio Mira’s retro-futuristic thriller AGNOSIA, about a young woman suffering from a rare neuropsychological disorder that confuses her senses and makes her unable to understand the world around her, who is being manipulated to reveal the industrial secret left to her by her late father.

Having won East End Film Festival’s Best International First Feature award in 2010 for Francesca, Romanian filmmaker Bobby Paunescu is this year’s Director-in-Residence. The festival has a strong contingent of films from the Romanian new wave including the UK Premiere of Bogdan George Apetri’s award-winning OUTBOUND (PERIFERIC), in which a woman is granted temporary release from her prison sentence and, not willing to return, vows to confront her troubled past before fleeing the country. Another UK Premiere, Constantin Popescu’s PRINCIPLES OF LIFE (PRINCIPII DE VIATA) examines 24-hours in the life of a short-fused everyman whose surly teenage son threatens to push him over the edge. In the London Premiere of Marian Crisan’s MORGEN, a security guard encounters a Turkish man trying to cross the border into Hungary, and takes his offer of money in exchange for a promise to help him. Another London Premiere, Radu Muntean’s TUESDAY, AFTER CHRISTMAS (MARTI, DUPA CRACIUN) is a voyeuristic probe into marital intimacy, in which a married man having an affair with a young dentist reaches a point where he is forced to make a difficult decision. Village Underground will also host a cross-culture British/Romanian TRANSYLMANIA blowout party with Romanian band Urma, VJ mash-ups by Addictive TV and Si Begg, and a screening of Robin Mahoney and Si Begg’s audiovisual album WE MADE OUR OWN DISASTER.

From Poland comes Marek Lechki’s impressive debut ERRATUM, in which a prosperous young man is stranded in his hometown and forced to face people from the past including his estranged father. Inspired by true events, Jan Kidawa-Blonski’s Polish box office hit LITTLE ROSE (RózyczkA), is a dangerous love triangle between a husband, his young wife, and a mysterious interloper, all set against the backdrop of turmoil and anti-Semitism in 1968.

In Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s controversial debut feature THIRD PERSON SINGULAR NUMBER, a Bangladeshi woman breaks with traditional Muslim culture by living with her boyfriend before getting married – then must face harsh consequences when the relationship ends. A director Q&A will follow this UK Premiere.

Another reason to celebrate is the fact that this years festival coincides with the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April. East End Film Festival is therefore dedicating the day to pomp, circumstance and cinema by entering into a marriage of convenience with historic local boozer The Water Poet to reinstate THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE. This historic area dates to the Doomsday Book and for centuries recognised no law but its own, and whose unruly residents robbed travellers, hid traitors, and had a healthy disrespect for authority. This debauchery has inspired what’s set to be the ultimate Royal Wedding street party with Regency wenches and Libertine’s, music hall entertainment by singer Nichola Jolley, a Sipsmith gin palace, a hog roast, stalls selling pies and puddings, a horse and dray with Fullers cask ale, haircuts and shaves by a ‘Sweeny Todd’ attired barber from Jack The Clipper, all accompanied by screenings of silent heritage films plus a live broadcast of the Royal Wedding itself. So come celebrate a national event outside of national governance!

The May Bank Holiday weekend cornucopia of film and culture comes to a frenzied climax with MOVIE MAY DAY, when hundreds of free screenings, projections, live music, quizzes, filmmaking competitions, and site-specific installations will be found in every nook and cranny of the East End. Friends of East End Film Festival past and present will set up all over the area, with highlights including a flash-mob of cyclists colliding in Old Spitalfields Market to add nuances to CYCLE SYMPHONY composed by Amelia Robinson, free ‘Secret Societies’ screenings of FROM HELL, DARK DAYS, and BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF at Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel’s Masonic Temple, a triple-bill of rare Japanese films at Shoreditch House’s Aubin Cinema, free live gigs by the freshest talent at Rough Trade East in conjunction with Clash Magazine, the launch celebration of Faber and Faber’s new Danny Boyle biography, and route upon route of free FILM TRAILS including two rarely seen films commissioned by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Mute Records, local heritage films by Phil Maxwell and Hazuan Hashim (whose photography will be exhibited in Spitalfields Market throughout the festival), Vision+Verse shorts curated by Jan Noble addressing poetry on film, shorts programmes from London Short Film Festival and Rushes Soho Shorts, a glance farther east at Baltic, Romanian and Asian cinema, and a best-of-the-fest shorts retrospective, all wrapped up with closing night partying at Vibe and The Brickhouse – a brilliant and celebratory way to end this 10th anniversary edition!

For full details visit East End Film Festival