Thursday 20 March, for immediate release:


THE EAST END FILM FESTIVAL

announces its 2008 programme

Thursday 17 April – Thursday 24 April 2008

Adolescent alienation, East European oestrogen, an audience with acclaimed composer Michael Nyman, and a showcase of films starring hot young actress Ellen Page… just some of this years highlights.

The East End Film Festival aims to provide East London audiences with a visual feast of features, documentaries, and shorts, with an emphasis on independent filmmaking. Since its inception in 2001, the East End Film Festival has evolved to become a unique working partnership comprising of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, and Lee Valley Park Authority. The festival particularly endeavours to give a voice to local filmmakers and local issues, reflecting the areas creativity and diversity. Local highlights include a short that celebrates the life of the beloved landlady of Spitalfield's iconic Golden Hart pub; and two documentary shorts programmes that look at the Olympic site in Stratford, guerrilla street gardening in Hackney, East End graffiti, and portraits of Ilford, Walthamstow, and the Greenwich Foot Tunnel! There will also be numerous Q&A sessions, networking opportunities, and workshops to help nurture the talents of future East London filmmakers.

The festival opens with the London premiere of THE WAITING ROOM (Thu 17 April, 7pm, Rich Mix), the feature debut of Academy Award-nominated writer/director Roger Goldby. Starring Anne-Marie Duff, Ralf Little, and Rupert Graves, with support from a plethora of British acting talent, this London-set ensemble piece is a deeply romantic comedy that will renew your faith in love at first sight.

Reflecting the ever-evolving ethnic diversity of East London, as well as the emergence of a strong and spirited East European film industry, this years festival has a strong contingent of East European films. Whenever this region is mentioned in the media, it's often in the controversial context of migration. Of the migrants entering the UK today, over half a million are from Poland. The East End Film Festival celebrates East London's Polish community by hosting the UK premiere of the comedy LADIES (LEJDIS) (Sat 19 April, 8pm, Genesis). This gender-refocused follow-up to the Polish box-office hit Testosteron is shown in partnership with Kinoteka Polish Film Festival, and supported by Premium Polish beer brand Lech. Lejdis follows the antics of four independent young women as they deal with everyday problems like love and relationships and the constant battle with the weaker sex. Having broken opening-night records in Poland in February this year, Lejdis looks set to thrill East Londoners. A Q&A with director Tomasz Konecki and producer Iwona Konecka follows.

The harsh reality of economic migration is the subject of IMPORT / EXPORT (Fri 18 April, 7pm, Rich Mix). Nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival 2007, Ulrich Seidl's uncompromising portrait of new Europe follows two protagonists looking for a better life, but who instead encounter frustration, violence, and sexual exploitation. Preceding the film will be a panel discussion on modern East European cinema.

Immigration is not a new phenomenon, as CHILDREN OF THE GHETTO (Tue 22 April, 6:30pm, Genesis) illustrates. Traversing the East End circa 1880 to 1940, when Whitechapel, Stepney, and Bethnal Green formed a transplanted Eastern European ghetto, Elliott Tucker's documentary tells the story of the effects that immigrants have on local society. Featuring interviews with Vidal Sassoon, Steven Berkoff, the Chief Rabbi, Sir Arnold Wesker, Michael Grade, and former Yiddish diva Anna Tzelniker, the film also uses unique East End archive imagery, poetry and soundscape. Elliott Tucker will take part in a Q&A afterwards.

Another East European highlight is Estonian director Veiko Ounpuu's AUTUMN BALL (SUGISBALL) (Sat 19 April, 7pm, Rich Mix), winner of the Venice Horizons Award at the Venice Film Festival 2007. This UK premiere looks at different forms of solitude via a group of characters living in a brutalist tower block. A Q&A follows.

The festival is delighted to host AN AUDIENCE WITH MICHAEL NYMAN. (Mon 21 April, 7pm, Genesis). This BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated composer gives us an exclusive insight into his very own personal short films. Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawska's I AM (JESTEM), for which Nyman composed the score, will also be shown.

During the 50s and 60s, the emergence of teenage culture became a major force in cinematic storytelling. The festival highlights this ongoing trend by showcasing emerging young stars like actress Ellen Page, hot property since her Oscar nomination for Juno. Page stars as the 15-year-old protagonist in the London premiere of THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS (Wed 23 April, 7:30pm Rich Mix). Employing multi-frame editing to startling effect, Bruce McDonald's film manages to visualise the mix of reality and fantasy that fill the mind of a teenager. This will be followed by a post screening party, TRACEY REMIXED (Wed 23 April, 9pm, Vibe Lounge), with VJ Buzzard Buzzard mixing an exclusive visual set alongside a live soundtrack by Youthmovies. Ellen Page also stars in MOUTH TO MOUTH (Mon 21 April, 6:30pm Cineworld West India Quay), a semi-autobiographical road trip across Europe by director Alison Murray. A Q&A with producer Anne Beresford and actress Beatrice Brown follows.

Overlapping both the teenager and East European categories is the London premiere of Estonia's 2007 Oscar entry, THE CLASS (KLASS) (Sun 20 April, 7pm, Genesis). This powerful portrayal of teenage alienation examines classroom bullying – drawing parallels with American high school shootings like Columbine. Director Ilmar Raag will attend a Q&A afterwards. Another UK premiere with a potent adolescent theme is DOLLS (PUSINKY) (Tue 22 April, 7:30pm, Rich Mix). Czech director Karin Babinska's directorial debut follows three teenage girls embarking upon a road trip, during which they're confronted with the harsh realities of adult life. Lead actress Sandra Novakova will attend a Q&A afterwards. She will also take part in the panel discussion EURO-TEENS: ADVENTURES IN EASTERN EUROPEAN YOUTH CULTURE (Mon 21 April, 6:30pm, Vibe Lounge)

Director Alexander Snelling returns to his East London filmmaking roots by having the World premiere of his first feature film at the East End Film Festival. TANTRIC TOURISTS (Fri 18 April, 8:30pm, Genesis) is a spiritual Spinal Tap, following a self-proclaimed tantric guru on a two week trip across India with ten American students. Tantric guru Laurie Handlers will offer a pre-screening tantric warm-up. A Q&A follows.

Conspiracy theorists will relish Shane O'Sullivan's investigative documentary RFK MUST DIE: THE ASSASINATION OF BOBBY KENNEDY (Wed 23 April, 6:15pm, Stratford Picture House). This expansion of his 2006 report for BBC Newsnight uses rare amateur footage and new testimony from experts and witnesses to show that CIA operatives may have been present the night Senator Robert F Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. A Q&A follows.

Events play a significant role this year. The newly opened Vibe Lounge will be transformed into our VIBE LOUNGE FILMMAKERS CENTRE, a cinematic chill-out space hosting a variety of events including a party and screening of BLACK WHITE + GRAY: A PORTRAIT OF SAM WAGSTAFF AND ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (Tue 22 April, 7pm) to launch the Art House DVD range in conjunction with Revolver Entertainment.

Stepping away from the usual closing night format, the festival ends with our AWARD CEREMONY PRESENTED BY NOBLE AND SILVER (Thu 24 April, 7:30pm, Rio). Fresh from their sell-out run at the Soho Theatre and their successful Channel 4 show, Perrier Award winning comedy duo Noble and Silver will preside over a night of screenings and awards, introducing the finalists of our Feature, Short and Audience Awards. This specially commissioned performance will include the uniquely skewered HOW TO WATCH A FILM CORRECTLY – THE LECTURE, preparing audiences for next years East End Film Festival…

For full details visit www.eastendfilmfestival.com


For further information, preview DVDs, and interview requests please contact

Stuart Haggas: press@eastendfilmfestival.com or 020-7364-7917 / 07714-244039