The 2015 Cutting East Film Festival


… If you were not there, then YOU my friend… missed out, big time! Although it was a smaller affair than previous years, the overall atmosphere and impact of the festival reached new heights. As a novice to the whole film festival programming world, I must admit that I was not fully sure of what to expect at the festival. An image of running around completing last minute errands and panicking when things go wrong had crossed my mind but lo and behold, that image was wrong. And thank goodness for that! Could you imagine what a nightmare that would have been? Opening night (Friday 20th March) was definitely a huge success with the screening of short films made by our very own Cutting East programmers. The turn out to the screening as well as to the food and drinks reception afterwards really was impressive and served as a perfect opportunity to mingle with aspiring film makers, an impromptu networking event if you will.

The screening of ‘Sepideh’ on Day 2 of the festival (Saturday 21st March) could be described as the main attraction of the day. Cutting East had made ‘Sepideh’ their poster girl for this year, quite literally, seeing as the main image of the film featured in the Cutting East 2015 leaflets, posters and advertisements. ‘Sepideh’ along with the screening and panel discussion of ‘Mass E Bhat’ enabled the festival to showcase the depth in the style of film making present in the current industry as well as giving people the chance to pick the brains of film makers on all matters film and production. A personal favourite event from Day 2 of the festival would have to be the ‘Cutting Beats Open Mic Night’ which was hosted by performance poet and Genesis’ resident Slam Poetry guru, Sara Hirsch. The atmosphere at the festival during performances was truly magnetic! C’mon, seriously, who doesn’t love an opportunity to just sit back and listen to the lyrical genius behind a spoken word artist?

Our long running ‘Cutting it Short ‘competition brought in an array of figures within the film industry such as Alison Poltock, Director of EEFF; Cairo Cannon, Producer of The Falling and Dreams of a Life and Executive Producer for Film London and the Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham Film Fund to name a few. The presence of such individuals provided a perfect networking occasion where the aspiring film makers who submitted work into our competition were given time to expand their circle of film making contacts (yes, you’re very welcome kids!).

Now I would be a fool not to mention the amazing artistic (and by artistic I mean the people who can actually draw and produce the traditional form of art) talents that featured in this year’s festival. Firstly, one must extend appreciation of the exhibition put on by AK Rahman (his one of ours) and Hannah Habibi on opening night. The messages behind the hoodies did more than just create an interesting display, it encouraged the need to fight against the stereotypes cruelly slapped upon the youth of today (and as a youth myself, I find those stereotypes deeply offending and ignorant. I’d elaborate on this more, but I fear what other stereotypes society will try and force on me as a result of my words but thank you for your exhibition guys! There was also a t-shirt printing stall (opening night) and a Zine making stall (Day 3) which produced completely original works of art at the request and direction of the festivals attendees so everyone could take a piece of Cutting East 2015 home with them! Wear the t-shirt and hang your personal Zine at home… you will always remember your experience at Cutting East 2015.

But don’t worry if you’ve missed out on CE15 the 4th additional of Cutting East 2016 will be kicking off on the 19thMarch. And we are NOW RECRUITING for the new CE team and of course SUBMISSIONS FOR SHORT FILMS ARE NOW OPEN. Find out more here.

Thank you all, and good night (or good morning, depending on when you’re reading this)!

Ayesha Begum
Cutting East Film Festival Programmer 2015