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East End Film Festival screens ‘bold, brave and political’ movies

PUBLISHED: 10:12 03 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:39 03 July 2015

Amber, centre, in 'Dressed as a Woman', who is undergoing a sex change

Amber, centre, in 'Dressed as a Woman', who is undergoing a sex change

Archant

One man’s mission to transform the life of his troubled younger brother and the demolition of an entire housing estate are just two topics tackled in a festival screening “bold, brave and political” films.

Umut Gundz records his journey getting back in touch with his brother in Stevie G, (left) Ozzie, Stevie and UmutUmut Gundz records his journey getting back in touch with his brother in Stevie G, (left) Ozzie, Stevie and Umut

The 12-day East End Film Festival (EEFF) runs until Sunday July 12, presenting a rich and diverse programme of more than 70 feature films including international premieres, industry master classes, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. Set up in 2000, it aims to find and develop “new and important voices” in film.

Head of programming, Andrew Simpson, said: “We take a lot of pride in creating an enormous platform for directors, who are making films that are bold, brave, political and relevant, and we combine a full international programme alongside a commitment to filmmakers in East London.

“Hackney is a vital part of East London’s cultural life and we couldn’t see the festival existing without Hackney.”

The demolition of the 70-year old Haggerston Estate is documented by director Andrea Luka Zimmerman, a former resident herself.

Haggerston Estate residents hold a funeral to mark the estate's 'death', in Estate A Reverie. Photo Briony CampbellHaggerston Estate residents hold a funeral to mark the estate's 'death', in Estate A Reverie. Photo Briony Campbell

Estate A Reverie features a mock funeral led by a donkey-drawn cart which some 70 residents participated in, to represent the death of the estate, which was considered a utopian dream when it was first built.

Julia Vandermark was in the procession, whose grandparents were among the first residents to move to the estate from slum clearance programmes in the early 1930’s.

Ms Zimmerman said: “Her grandfather was not allowed to keep his animals, not even his dog, so he committed suicide in his new flat.

“It is an important story in the film we are making about the estate, as we are trying to think through a more complex notion of “progress”, which always sees redevelopment as being better, whereas it is so much more complex.”

The film will be screened at the Hackney Picturehouse in Mare Street on Saturday July 4 at 1pm.

Meanwhile Stevie G documents Homerton-based filmmaker Umut Gundz’s attempt at reconnecting with his estranged brother, who has been in and out of prison since the age of 15.

Gundz, 37, was motivated by “guilt” to try and understand “what went wrong” with his brother and to give him a voice, and by working together on the project his brother Stevie has managed to turn his life around and has even started up his own landscaping business.

Stevie G will be screened at the Rio Cinema in Kingsland High Street, Dalston, at 3.45pm on Saturday July 4.

Panic, a story about a music journalist sucked into a world of people trafficking following a brutal attack is the debut feature from Hackney-based writer-director Sean Spencer, which screensat the Genesis Cinema in Mile End on Wednesday July 8 at 7pm.

Dressed as a Girl, a documentary about the East End’s drag scene, screens at the Dalston Roofpark in Ashwin Street on Tuesday at 8pm, followed by a live performance from Jonny Woo who features in the film.

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