The East End Film Festival (EEFF) is now one of the biggest international film events in the UK. Their six-day programme of features, documentaries and shorts, including 14 world premieres, is a highlight of the summer arts scene that attracts a truly cosmopolitan audience to London’s “most artistic quarter”. Despite this formidable reputation, the festival remains close to its East End roots – and with a special focus on local filmmakers, this year’s programme is a superb showcase of British filmmaking – particularly in the realm of artist film.
This year, EEFF’s reputation is enhanced by its association with the London Olympics. The festival’s combination of international diversity and local celebration is an ideal embodiment of the Olympic spirit, and as the only film festival operating within the Olympic zone during the Olympic period, the EEFF organisers have taken this unique position to the very heart of the festival.
The East End Festival programme presents five themes, a reference to the five Olympic rings that represents five aspects of the challenging and dynamic energies of the East End: Resistance & Revolution, Art & Anarchy, Identity & Displacement, Out & Proud and Fun & Games. Each interlocking “ring” interacts with its neighbour, reflecting the diversity of the festival: yet each is also a separate entity that allows its content to shine in its own right. “Art & Anarchy” provides a dedicated platform for artist film unprecedented at EEFF – and as this strand of screenings reflects the interlocking pieces of Aesthetica’s own creative heart, here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come!
ART WILL SAVE THE WORLD (Niall McCann, 2012, World Premiere)
Luke Haines is regularly described as one of the greatest English contemporary songwriters. His wry commentaries respect few boundaries and his musical arrangements are uniquely suited to both the worlds of music and film. Art Will Save The World explores the work, legacy, struggles, battles and future of this perennial outsider of the British music scene. A powerful statement on the bewitching power of music.
7pm, Friday 6th July, RichMix Cinema. Followed by a Q&A with Niall McCann and Luke Haines, and a special intimate set from Haines at RichMix. More information and tickets available here.
IT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE (Wilhelm Sasnal, 2011, London Premiere)
Unfolding in a secluded village, the début of world-renowned Polish painter Wilhelm Sasnal centres on the relationship between a scrapper and a young woman. Monotony gives way to creeping unease and finally chaos after a mysterious disappearance, in a deeply unsettling vision depicting the hardship of modern rural Poland.
SWANDOWN (Andrew Kötting, 2012, London Premiere)
A travelogue and odyssey of Olympian ambition, filmmaker and artist Andrew Kötting’s poetic film-diary about encounter, myth and culture is an endurance test for both he and historian Iain Sinclair as they pedal a swan-shaped pedalo from the seaside in Hastings to Hackney via the English inland waterways, joined by the likes of Stewart Lee & Alan Moore.
MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN ART: THE WORLD OF BOB & ROBERTA SMITH (John Rogers, 2012, World Premiere)
Bob & Roberta Smith, in reality one person called Patrick Brill, is an artist renowned for his humorous, polemical work. Occupying a unique position as both revered figure and an outsider who works out of a garden shed in Leytonstone, he is committed to art as a vital part of the democratic process. Following its subject over three years, this is a unique insight into both a man and the power of art in society.
9.30pm, Saturday 7th July, RichMix Cinema. Followed by a Q&A with John Rogers and Bob & Roberta Smith, and preceded by a special gig from Bob & Roberta Smith’s band, The Ken Ardley Playboys. More information and tickets here.
AI WEI WEI: NEVER SORRY (Alison Klayman, 2012)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. Director Alison Klayman received unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China, and her film is a detailed and nuanced exploration both contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.
Promises that this year’s festival will be “our best EVER” from Creative Director Alison Poltock are only to be expected from an event that has consistently grown in size, scope and stature since its founding in 2001. Yet as Poltock observes, “With new voices and uncompromising visions at our heart, the East End Film Festival explores the limits of the moving image whilst extending beyond artistic and cultural boundaries to reach out and present good old-fashioned entertainment”. As the selection above suggests, this year’s programme is of the highest quality – and artistic innovation at its very heart, the 2012 East End Festival is sure to be worth a visit.
East End Film Festival, 03/07/2012 until 08/07/2012, Various Venues, East End, London. www.eastendfilmfestival.com
Film Still from Swandown