Preview: East End Film Festival 2014

A memory-loss drama set in New Orleans opens the 13th East End Film Festival, a 12-day celebration of international cinema that takes place across east London.

Samuel Wigley

Dermaphoria (2014) trailer

The East End Film Festival (EEFF) returns to the capital for its 13th year tonight, playing in seven cinemas across east London, including Hackney and Stratford Picturehouses, Rich Mix in Bethnal Green and the Barbican Centre.

Opening night is the world premiere of Dermaphoria, a New Orleans-set crime drama about an experimental chemist who wakes up in jail unable to remember how he got there or why. Based in east London himself, director Ross Clarke – also known as a DJ and as the co-founder of the music festival Lovebox – will be in attendance, along with members of the cast.

Running from 13-25 June, this year’s EEFF takes in a total of 15 world premieres and eight European premieres, as well as 25 UK premieres. Now established as one of Britain’s biggest film festivals, it all began in 2000 as an independent effort to support local filmmakers, before expanding into a fully international festival.

There’s still no shortage of homegrown filmmaking, with Hot Wings (directed by Mitch Panayis), Hackney’s Finest (directed by Chris Bouchard) and Greyhawk (directed by Guy Pitt) all offering stories of modern London life. But the UK is only one of 56 countries represented in the 2014 programme. Mexican cinema in particular gets a special focus, with titles including Who Is Dayani Cristal?, starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

You and the Night (2013)

You and the Night (2013)

One of the starriest names in town for this year’s festival is Eric Cantona, who will be a special guest at the UK premiere of You and the Night. Co-starring Cantona with Béatrice Dalle, and featuring music by French synth band M83, it’s a surreal comedy set during a night of orgy.

A couple of other highlights to mention: as part of a big screen weekend at East Village, EEFF is hosting an outdoor screening of culinary comedy Chef, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Favreau himself alongside Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman and John Leguizamo.

There’s also Grits N Gravy, a day of films set in America’s Deep South, which includes a super-rare screening of the cult 1974 film Cockfighter, directed by Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop).

The programme winds up on 25 June with a closing night double: Blood Ties is an epic gangster drama set in 1970s Brooklyn starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard and James Caan, while The Blueblack Hussar is documentary maker Jack Bond’s portrait of pop icon Adam Ant made during his 2011 comeback.

For full details of the programme see the East End Film Festival website.

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