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UK premiere of Arena: Amy Winehouse to open East End Film Festival

Documentary is one of 35 UK premieres at the 11th edition of the festival, which will also host 14 world premieres.

Maurice Linnane’s documentary Arena: Amy Winehouse, The Day She Came To Dingle will officially kick off the 11th edition of the East End Film Festival (EEFF) on July 3. The festival takes place at venues across London from July 1-8.

Arena will be followed by a Q&A as well as live music from a choir and orchestra and is one of 35 UK premieres at this year’s festival, alongside the likes of Rebecca Thomas’ Electrick Children and Armando Bo’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee The Last Elvis, which closes the festival on July 8.

This year’s edition will also host 14 world premieres, 12 of which will be British films as part of a special focus on local filmmakers for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. These include Make Your Own Damn Art, John Rogers’ documentary of Turner nominated British artist Bob & Roberta Smith, East End-set caper movie The Hot Potato, directed by Tim Lewiston and starring Ray Winstone, and David Kew & Neil Thompson’s crime thriller Twenty8k.

Other homegrown films screening include Frances Lea’s romantic drama Strawberry Fields, Hugh Hartford’s documentary Ping Pong and the London premiere of Andrew Kötting’s Swandown.

First- and second-time directors at the festival will be shortlisted for the Best Film Award with this year’s winner being chosen by a jury consisting of Joe Wright, Dexter Fletcher, Sandra Hebron and Adrian Wootton, with the winner will be invited back for next year’s edition as Director In Residence. This year’s Director is Vikramaditye Motwane, who won last year for coming-of-age tale Udaan, with this year’s festival presenting a selection of Indian and Bangladeshi features, such as the UK premiere of Ashtar Sayed’s controversial Scarecrow, as a result.

Cine-East, the festival’s fringe, takes place on July 1 at Vibe Bar and is launched by a free screening of Dexter Fletcher’s directorial debut Wild Bill, with Fletcher and the cast in attendance. Cine-East is a day of free events including over 1,000 short and feature film screenings, live music and talks in over 100 different venues.

The UK premiere of Davide Manuli’s The Legend Of Kasper Hauser, the London premiere of Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s Kotoko, followed by a Q&A with the director, as well as a double bill of Tsukamoto’s newly restored Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo: The Body Hammer, are among the international highlights of this year’s programme.

Sonic Cinema is one of this year’s strands, featuring a screening of 1922 expressionist horror Nosferatu with live accompaniment by Minima and the 60-piece Queldryk Choral Ensemble at Spitalfields Market.

Resistance & Revolution, Art & Anarchy, Identity & Displacement, Out & Proud and Fun & Games are the five themes of this year’s EEFF, the latter of which celebrates the upcoming Olympics with the festival welcoming the 1948 Olympics veterans who represented Team GB when the Olympics last came to London.

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