The East End Film Festival is a large multi-platform film festival which showcases a diverse programme of premières, hosts industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. The schedule is packed full of an eclectic array of the best new independent films from around the world, showcasing over 50 features and a wealth of shorts. The festival takes place 23rd June – 3rd July in several venues around east central London.

Some of the highlights on show include:

Adult Life Skills

Anna is stuck: she’s approaching 30, living like a hermit in her mum’s garden shed and wondering why the suffragettes ever bothered. 

She spends her days making videos using her thumbs as actors – thumbs that bicker about things like whether Yogi Bear is a moral or existential nihilist. But Anna doesn’t show these videos to anyone and no one knows what they are for.

However, when her school friend comes to visit, Anna’s self-imposed isolation becomes impossible to maintain. Soon she is entangled with a troubled eight year old boy obsessed with Westerns, and the local estate agent whose awkward interpersonal skills continually undermine his attempts to seduce her.

Aloys

Aloys Adorn is a middle aged private detective who lives and works with his father. He experiences life from a safe distance, through a video camera he keeps recording 24 hours a day, and the massive collection of surveillance tapes he organizes and obsessively watches at home. But when his father dies, Aloys is left on his own and his sheltered existence begins to fall apart.

After a night of heavy drinking, Aloys wakes up on a public bus to find that his camera and precious observation tapes have been stolen. Soon after, a mysterious woman calls to blackmail him. She offers to return the tapes if Aloys will try an obscure Japanese invention called ‘telephone walking’ with her, using his imagination as their only connection. As he is drawn deeper and deeper, falling in love with the voice on the other end of the phone, the woman opens up a new universe that may allow Aloys to break out of his isolation and into the real world.

Dead Slow Ahead

A freighter crosses the ocean. The hypnotic rhythm of its pace reveals the continuous movement of the machinery devouring its workers: the old sailor’s gestures disappearing under the mechanical and impersonal pulse of the 21st century. Perhaps it is a boat adrift, or maybe just the last example of an endangered species with engines still running, unstoppable.

The Hard Stop

The racially charged police killing of Mark Duggan in August 2011 ignited the worst civil unrest in recent British history. Duggan’s closest friends, Marcus and Kurtis, take us on a tour of their insulated world, which we pass everyday but never really see.

The Darkest Universe

The Darkest Universe is a strange comedy drama about grief, obsession and the unknown. Zac is a hapless young trader who leaves the city to search the canals of Britain for his sister Alice, her boyfriend Toby and their disappearing narrowboat.
When the police find no trace of Alice, Toby or the boat, Zac begins a solo campaign to raise public awareness. His increasingly unhinged video blogs at FindAlice.com show a lonely and frustrated man who’s losing hope and his grip on reality. Zac’s search for his sister becomes a search for himself.

National Bird

National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: The secret U.S. drone war.
At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Tortured by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

Operation Avalanche

1967: the height of the Cold War. The CIA suspects there is a Russian mole inside of NASA, sabotaging the Apollo program. They send two young agents on a mission to go undercover, posing as documentary filmmakers to capture NASA’s race to the moon. The real mission – use their access and technology to hunt down the leak. But what they discover is far more shocking than soviet spies… Their government may be hiding a secret about Apollo that could define the decade, and the White House will stop at nothing to silence anyone who learns it.

Sonita

18-year-old Sonita is an undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the suburbs of Tehran. She fights to live the way she wants: As a rapper in spite of all her obstacles she confronts in Iran and her conservative family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family for the price of $9,000.

Los Punks: We Are All We Have

Punk rock is thriving in the backyards of South Central and East Los Angeles. A cobbled-together family of Hispanic teens and young adults comprise the scene: bands, fans, production, marketing, and security interwoven into a sub-culture of thrash and noise and pits. The sense of belonging is palpable; emotional bonds fostered among good families and those broken, poverty and wealth, adolescence and maturity, with the music emanating a magnetic chorus for all to sing together. ‘Los Punks: We Are All We Have” is a documentary feature film honestly and sincerely portraying this vibrant ‘DIY’ community.

To buy tickets and find out more about the films in the programme, visit the festival website.