Highlights of East End Film Festival 2018

East End Film Festival 2018 is underway and with over 95 screenings and events at cinemas across East London it can seem a bit daunting to know what to see, so we have picked the must-see films for you to see.

Although East End Film Festival has screenings at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green, the Rio Cinema in Dalston, and others in the area, we of course are particularly looking forward to the showings at our lovely Genesis. For complete listing of the screenings showing at our most local cinema, Genesis, click here. But these are our top seven picks.

Fred, Genesis, 13 April

LOCAL GANGSTER

The East End is well-known for its gangster history and this biopic of 86-year-old of Freddie Foreman, one of the last surviving gangster, will shed light on our local area in a very different age. Tried on two separate occasions for murder with convictions for armed robbery and disposal of a body – this is a film about the man behind the notorious gangster nickname, ‘Brown Bread Fred’. Once regarded as the godfather of the Sixties criminal scene, Freddie is clearly a shrewd operator, yet in this film, as much is learned from a sideways glance, his hesitations and broken retractions. As the film unfolds, you begin to wonder how he really feels now as he looks back on his life; with the years spent in prison, the wrecked relationships, the untold destruction to his victims – does he feel it was all worth it?

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Balekempa, Curzon Aldgate, 22 April (up for Best Film 2018)

BEST FILM CONTENDER

This film from India touches on a lot of issues in our community and has been shortlisted for Best Film in this year’s festival. Authentic performances from non-actors, understated direction and a subtle script characterise The Bangle Seller, Ere Gowda’s absolutely delightful first feature. When he isn’t travelling around his South Indian village selling women bangles and other beauty products, Kempana spends his time with his best friend, Hanuma. At home, Kempana’s wife is frustrated over their inability to conceive. The villagers, naturally, gossip, while the neighbours’ teenage son helps Kempana’s wife with domestic—and other—duties. Will the couple’s secret ever come out?

Nominees for this year’s Best Film Award are Balekempa, India, Different Kinds of Rain, Germany, High Fantasy, South Africa, I am another you, USA, Daha, Turkey, Team Hurricane, Denmark, Tigre, Argentina, Time Share, Mexico. For more information on these films please click here.

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Barfly & Gabriel Moreno Live (Free), Genesis, 20 April

CULT CLASSIC

Don’t miss this live performance from Gabriel Moreno followed by a screening of Barfly – not only is this film a cult classic, but this one is free. Barfly is a 1987 American comedy drama film directed by Barbet Schroeder and starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. The film is a semi-autobiography of poet/author Charles Bukowski during the time he spent drinking heavily in Los Angeles, and it presents Bukowski’s alter ego Henry Chinaski.Gabriel Moreno is a published poet and singer songwriter from Gibraltar. His songs fuse Mediterranean rhythms with Indie/folk arpeggios performed with a classical guitar. Based on his literary publications, Gabriel versifies lyrics of Love, loss and desire, which are transmitted in sheer emotional nakedness.

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Bare Knuckle, Stratford East, 26 April

BOXING BRILLIANT

An important part of the East End community to this day, this boxing documentary will give you an insight into boxing subculture. Long shunned to car parks, barns and pubs across the country Bare Knuckle Boxing has been coming out of the shadows, selling out arenas and going mainstream. ‘Bare Knuckle’ follows this meteoric rise revealing a group of fighters far from the glitz and glamour of their gloved counterparts, but bound by a subculture of honour, pride and violence. Featuring an impressive range of professional fighters, including Cody McKenzie, Melvin Guillard and world middleweight champion, Jimmy ‘The Celtic Warrior’ Sweeney. Filmmaker Duncan Napier-Bell and fighters from BKB are expected to attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

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Call Me By Your Name, Old Spitalfields Market, 27 April

CAN’T BE MISSED

Outdoor screening of one of the best films of 2017 – do not miss this! Equally melancholic and endearing, erotic and intellectual, the story of Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) and their unexpected romance that blossoms over the summer of 1983 in idyllic Northern Italy, has stolen the hearts of thousands of viewers. Already iconic for its sensual portrayal of first love, its provocative yet honest approach of one’s sexual awakening and its liberating depiction of parenthood, Call Me By Your Name is indeed a modern masterpiece. Featuring one of the most heartfelt, career-defining performances of (dare we say) all time, by 22 year-old Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name is one of those films that haunts you and stays with you long after you first watch it. A film that is as difficult to get over as your first true love.

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London Unplugged, Rich Mix, 28 April

GIRL POWER

Another selection of films focusing on female empowerment – we’re in! Eleven short female-led films by emerging London filmmakers, many of whom are women, make up this beautiful portmanteau by Four Corners, our much-loved film training charity in Bethnal Green. Hailing from the diverse four quarters of London and made in conjunction with community groups such as the Migrant Resource Centre, London Unplugged is a triumph. Look out for star turns from Juliet Stevenson, Imogen Stubbs, Poppy Miller and Ivano Jeremiah amongst others.

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Waiting for You, Rich Mix, 21 April

EAST LONDON DIRECTOR

Charles Garrad’s directorial debut, Waiting for You, will have its first UK screening during the East End Film Festival on 21st April at the Rich Mix community hub in Bethnal Green.

Director, Charles Garrad

Garrad has lived and worked in East London since moving here in 1980, and says that the East End has inspired every part of his work since. ‘The buildings, and the stories contained in the buildings all over the East End interest me every day. My background in art and design means that my surroundings always end up infiltrating my work.’

He continues, ‘Even though the whole area has changed so much since I first moved here, and not always in a good way, there is still this constant injection of energy that helps inspire artists.’

Having his first feature screening for the first time in the UK at the East End Film Festival means a lot to Garrad, as not only has the East End inspired his work, but the Director of Photography, David Raedeker and the Composer, Adrian Corker are also East End residents. Garrad explains, ‘I cycle past Rich Mix, where the film is screening, almost every day, and we would all meet round there all the time.’

Waiting for You has been over ten years in the making, and much of it was filmed on location in Ilford and in Garrad’s studio near Columbia Road. It is truly a local product.

The plot? Paul Ashton, played by Colin Morgan, (Merlin, Testament of Youth), is an architecture uni dropout working in a bookstore and living with his parents. His father, in the last days of terminal illness, opens up to him about something terrible that happened during his time in the military. After his father’s death, the grief-stricken Paul sets out on a journey to find out more and encounters a mysterious older woman (played by Fanny Ardant, The Woman Next Door).

Although it doesn’t feature in the film, Garrad loves Roman Road almost as much as we do. ‘It is one of the very few places left in London that is still traditional, and people haven’t yet been totally priced out. While I love Columbia Road and the area around it, there’s something pretty special about Roman Road.’ We couldn’t agree more.

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The East End Film Festival runs from 11th-29th April 2018.

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