NO PRODUCT placement, no familiar faces, and no teen vampire love stories, the East End Film Festival (EEFF) is about new voices, new ideas and new discoveries.
Now in its 12th year the EEFF continues to deliver on its commitment to promote the work of first and second time directors.
In an industry dominated by big budget blockbusters, raising the profile of local and international filmmaking talent is key to the future of independent cinema.
And as an audience, it is unbelievably refreshing to watch a film crafted for arts sake, not to collect at the box office.
Kicking off on 25 June and running for two weeks at cinemas around East London, this year’s festival includes over 80 feature film screenings, several short film programmes, industry master classes and events.
Having its UK premier at the festival is Satellite Boy, the debut feature film from Australian director Catriona McKenzie.
Set in rural Western Australia, the story follows Pete, a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy who lives with his Grandfather in an abandoned drive-in cinema.
When the cinema is purchased by mining developers Pete accompanied by his not-so-trustworthy sidekick Kalmain decide a simple face-to-face with the execs may solve the problem.
Upholding the Australian tradition of ‘a man’s home is his castle’ Pete and Kalmain hop on their bikes and head to the big city.
Bracing the harsh climate of the outback Pete uses the teachings of the Aboriginal elders in order to survive, highlighting many of the indigenous beliefs about the land and offering insights into how these people have survived for so long.
The cinematography in this film is stunning. The changing landscapes against the clear blue skies look beautiful. And you wish some of the extreme temperatures would transcend the screen — even just for a second — to warm the heat-deprived London audience.
Without pushing a political agenda too much, Satellite Boy also effectively raises key concerns about the mining industry and Aboriginal land rights.
Other festival highlights include the opening night film The UK Gold, which follows the dramatic journey a vicar from Hackney takes to understand the full impact of UK financial chicanery.
Including commentary from high profile politicians, hedge fund masters and investigative journalists, this film exposes the fundamental roles the City of London plays in the secretive network of tax havens and tax avoidance.
It also features an original sound-score from Radiohead’s Thom York and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja.
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, is a compelling documentary about the troubled comedic genius. Featuring footage of his expletive-ridden routines, combined with insights from those closest to him, including a number of his ex-wives (he got married seven times) this film paints a very real picture of this highly self-destructive figure.
And for those who enjoy a bit of cinema shock treatment, brace yourselves for Halley. This Mexican film is hard to recommend, because of its horrific and disturbing portrayal of a man whose body is deteriorating. But for those who are game enough, it is an incredibly crafted piece of cinema.
Satellite Boy is on at Hackney Picturehouse on 29 June. For the full festival programme and to purchase tickets visit eastendfilmfestival.com.