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Our local film festival at our local cinema

The East End Film Festival, the locally grown film festival with a huge heart, is now one of the UK’s largest film festivals with a international reputation for its pioneering work.


It was originally founded in 2000 for filmmakers living and working in East London with the support of Tower Hamlets Council and Tyrone Walker-Hebborn, Director of Genesis Cinema. Back then it was known as Raindance East, and in 2005 it was renamed the East End Film Festival.

The East End Film Festival has since expanded to showcase the very best in both British and international cinema whilst supporting one of the world’s most dynamic filmmaking communities.

Previous attendees include Hugh Grant, Clive Owen, Danny Boyle, Andy Serkis, Richard E. Grant and Julian Temple. Some big premieres have taken place at the East End Film Festival, including the European premieres of the Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me, Danny Boyle’s Millions and Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha.

The East End Film Festival is also committed to removing the boundaries between cinema and other art forms, regularly hosting exhibitions, installations, spoken word and live music events. Past highlights include Mark Donne’s The Rime of the Modern Mariner, an ode to Docklands culture performed in the beautiful Hawksmoor church with a live orchestral score; and special live performances from artists such as The Klaxons and Underworld.

Demetrius Shipp Jr. Tupac Shakur actor at the East End Film Festival
Demetrius Shipp Jr. Tupac Shakur actor at the East End Film Festival

Social Enterprise

Not many people know that East End Film Festival is a not-for-profit company, with no headline or corporate sponsors.

Their mission is to discover, support, and exhibit pioneering work by global and local independent filmmakers, and to introduce viewers to innovative and challenging cinematic experiences.

Also part of their mission is to introduce viewers to innovative and challenging cinematic experiences. That is one of the reasons why you can buy tickets for individual films rather than having to buy a pass for the whole festival, making it affordable and inclusive for the general public.

From 2016, East End Film Festival has offered a limited amount of free tickets for the unwaged, people of limited income, asylum seekers and refugees to a selection of East End Film Festival titles.

Exercising its social responsibility underpins all that East End Film Festival and every year they help raise money for their partner charity Films for Food. In 2014 Rainbow Collective set up Films For Food, a scheme which gives film lovers a chance to help their local community while addressing important social issues in the area by donating food to food banks.

Films for Food at East End Film Festival
Films for Food at East End Film Festival

Last year the East End Film Festival opened with a free outdoor screening in partnership with Films For Food supporting Tower Hamlets Food Bank (free admission with donation of non-perishable food – a massive 370kg haul was donated).

This year East End Film Festival closes with a weekend of free outdoor events at Old Spitalfields Market supported by Tower Hamlets council, including more Films For Food activity.

Highlights of 2018

For our take on this year’s must-sees, click here.

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The Illusion of Depth at Victoria Baptist Church, Bow


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