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East End Film Festival 2010: Preview

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Now in its ninth year, the East End Film Festival has begun to settle down to an established pattern of programming. Under-heralded cinematic areas we can expect the festival to explore include East European, experimental and music-centred filmmaking.

The festival's opening gala premiere, Bronco Bulldog

The festival's opening gala premiere, Bronco Bulldog

The festival is also known for its intriguing retrospective programming, but it strikes an even braver note this year by choosing a neglected 1960s film for its opening gala. Bronco Bulldog is an unearthed slice of social realism about wayward youths knocking around the East End of London. With its monochrome photography restored to HD by the British Film Institute, it sounds like the perfect choice to kick off proceedings.

Of the feature premieres, only one is a British film - Ben O'Connor's Ana Begins, which sounds like an intelligent drama about a relationship between two lost souls in rural Devon. Another UK entry that sounds fascinating is Erasing David, in which David Bond tests the limits of our surveillance society by attempting to disappear for 30 days while an investigative company tries tracking him down.

CCTV captures the elusive Mr Bond, in Erasing David

CCTV captures the elusive Mr Bond, in Erasing David

The remaining premieres are from a variety of countries, including India, Slovakia and Iran, befitting the East End of London's cultural diversity. As mentioned above, there's a slight tilt towards Eastern Europe and this year several Russian films are included in the schedule, along with a Romanian drama about the plight of immigrants in Italy, Francesca, and an Estonian documentary called Disco and the Atomic War, which recounts the reminiscences of lucky viewers behind the Iron Curtain who managed to tune in to forbidden Finish TV broadcasts.

Cold war TV in Disco and the Atomic War

Cold war TV in Disco and the Atomic War

Last year's music-themed films included Fire Burn Babylon and Sounds Like Teen Spirit, which went on to win acclaim, so look out for this year's offerings, such as Fearless Freaks, a profile of The Flaming Lips; Who Shot the Sheriff?, which looks back at the Rock Against Racism gigs; We Don't Care About Music Anyway, about the Japanese avant-garde music scene; and All The Years of Trying, an attempt to reclaim the forgotten punk poet Patrick Fitzgerald. Rock fans might also be interested in Carl Barat's narration on documentary The Rime of the Modern Mariner, about the evocative landscape and history of the London Docklands.

The experimental short Mutant Season

The experimental short Mutant Season

The shorts selections contain much of the experimental work that the festival is famed for, spread across two programmes. And documentary is also well represented within the shorts, with six dedicated strands and several more works dotted around. For a flavour of the quality of films on offer, check out Tashtastic and Thorns and Silk on Film Network, which both get a screening.

The four UK Talent screenings contain some excellent shorts; including the Bafta-nominated Mixtape, Kirk Hendry's Junk, Anne Wilkins and Emily Howell's A Film About Poo, David Lea's Storage and Nicky Lanois' Monsters and Rabbits. There are also a couple of collections all about East End life, which should be illuminating during this current period of change for the area.

James Bachman in Nicky Lanois' Monsters and Rabbits

James Bachman in Nicky Lanois' Monsters and Rabbits

If you're a short filmmaker you should also consider entering Kino London's 3 Day Film Challenge, which is self-explanatory, really, but results in the chance to see your guerrilla filmmaking efforts screened at the festival.

And further events include a wide selection of masterclasses and networking events featuring the likes of Tom Harper, Nitin Sawhney and Paul Andrew Williams, plus interactive exhibits, art installations and much more.

Visit the East End Film Festival website for more information about the festival that is fast becoming a byword for eclecticism and offers an exceptionally diverse array of cinematic culture.

The East End Film Festival takes place between 22nd and 30th April at various venues around East London.

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