One of the UK's largest film festivals, the East End Film Festival is an annual multi-platform festival presenting a rich and diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. The EEFF’s mission is to discover, support, and exhibit pioneering work by global and local independent filmmakers, and to introduce viewers to innovative and challenging cinematic experiences. The festival has a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on first and second time directors, and challenging, mould-breaking cinema.

Previous guests of the EEFF include Hugh Grant, Jodie Whittaker, Andrea Riseborough, Jerry Hall, Ken Russell, Danny Boyle, Andy Serkis, Ella Purnell, Ron Perlman, Thomas Turgoose, Kat Graham, Demetrius Shipp Jr., Richard E. Grant, Julian Temple, Viv Albertine, Clive Owen, Shekar Kapor, Ben Wheatley and Mike Figgis.

The festival's awards system includes:

Best Film - Discovering the most distinctive new directors in world cinema, the festival champions the filmmakers making great work now, and who will be creating important cinema for decades to come. The EEFF Best Film Award is reserved for first and second features and documentaries.

Previous award winners of the EEFF Best Film Award include As I Open My Eyes by Leyla Bouzid, Ivy by Tolga Karacelik, White Shadow by Noaz Deshe, Halley by Sebastian Hoffman and El Ultimo Elvis by Armando Bo.

Previous festival jurors have included Joe Wright (BAFTA winning director, Atonement, Pride & Prejudice), Sarah Gavron (Director, Suffragette), Amma Assante (Director, A United Kingdom), Ron Perlman (Actor, Hellboy), RZA (filmmaker & musician - Wu Tang Clan), Gillian Wearing (Artist and filmmaker), Barry Ackroyd (Captain Phillips, Hurt Locker), Peter Bradshaw (Film Critic, The Guardian), Irvine Welsh (novelist, Trainspotting), Armando Bo (Screenwriter, Birdman), Peter Straughn (Screenwriter, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Iain and Jane Forsythe (artists and filmmakers 20,000 days on Earth).

Best UK Short - The breeding ground for the most important new filmmakers, short film is an incredibly vibrant and vivid area of filmmaking, seemingly becoming more exciting and respected on its own terms year on year; it boasts a far higher glass ceiling in terms of gender and ethnic diversity than the world of feature films. Here we recognise a powerful British voice working in short form, challenging the well-trodden cliché that a short film is somehow flimsier than a feature.

Accession Award - Created in 2014, the Accession Award exists to champion a particularly vital craft within filmmaking, as well as the recipient’s establishment of a career within their chosen field. Focusing on a different discipline each year, the EEFF2014 Accession Award celebrated the art of cinematography, with 2015 championing the sonic power of the soundtrack, and 2016 turning its attention to the subtle, all encompassing craft of screenwriting.

Rising Star Award - Supported by the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund, the Rising Star Award was introduced in 2015 to support the best in new young filmmaking talent, aged 16 - 21.

Audience Award for Best Short Film - Festivals may have programmers, juries and directors, but it’s the audience who really matter.

East End Film Festival (EEFF) submission guidelines and procedures 2018

The East End Film Festival 2018 will take place in venues and cinemas across East London and aims to showcase cutting edge independent films from all over the globe.

Please be sure to read the terms and conditions before submitting your film.

N.B. Submission is free of charge for residents, employees and students of Tower Hamlets. Please see details below.

Submission fees

For Short films (under 20 mins)
Before Earlybird deadline: £10
Before Regular deadline: £20
Before Late deadline: £30
Before Extended deadline: £60

For long shorts (films between 21 and 49 mins)

Before Earlybird deadline: £20
Before Regular deadline: £35 ​
Before Late deadline: £50
Before Extended deadline: £100

For Documentary features

Before Earlybird deadline: £20
Before Regular deadline: £35 ​
Before Late deadline: £50
Before Extended deadline: £100

For Feature films

Before Earlybird deadline: £25
Before Regular deadline: £40 ​
Before Late deadline: £60
Before Extended deadline: £120

Submission format:

Films entered for selection must be submitted via FilmFreeway or DVD format only. PLEASE NOTE THAT ONLINE LINKS (OTHER THAN THE FilmFreeway ONLINE SCREENING PLATFORM) WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Title, Unique Reference Number/FilmFreeway tracking number, screening format and running time must be clearly labelled on the DVD. Submitted DVD's will not be returned but may be collected from the EEFF Office during office hours by arrangement. You may also include a SAE with correct postage for the return of your film.

Screening format can be 35mm, BluRay and DCP for feature films, with short films to be submitted on DCP, with some exceptions.

The EEFF is an international film festival with an international programme, and welcomes submissions from all parts of the international filmmaking community.

The East End Film Festival submissions criteria are as follows:

-Short Films to a maximum length of 20 minutes.
-Films between 21 and 49 minutes in length are accepted, categorised as ‘mid length’ films. All films of 21 minutes or more must be submitted in this category, or they will not be considered.
-Feature Films minimum length of 50 minutes including fictional narrative, documentary, animation, and experimental, music video or any crossover of the above.
-Exploitation or pornographic films will not be accepted.

EEFF also welcomes film that are relevant to East London (whether in setting, production or residence of filmmakers), which the festival always seeks to support within the festival programme. To qualify under the East London category you must fit one of the following criteria:
- The producer, director or writer lives, works or studies in East London.
- A significant part of the film's production or post-production took place in East London.
- The film significantly reflects one of the many communities or cultures in East London (this may include UK wide and world cinema), or seeks to promote the rich cultural diversity of East London.

East London, for the purposes of the Festival, is classified as comprising the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest, and Greenwich.

In addition to the above, all submissions must have been completed since January 2017. Submissions must not have previously been released in the UK on any format. The EEFF reserve the right to use any material provided to us for marketing purposes. All films in a language other than English must be subtitled or submitted with a script translated into English.

Submission Discount Code: Returning Filmmakers

We are delighted to introduce a special discounted rate for festival alumni this year. If you have participated at EEFF in the past, please email with the title of your film and the year that you screened at EEFF and we will provide you with a 50% discount code.

Student Discount Code

We are delighted to introduce a special discounted rate for student filmmakers this year. If you are a student, please email with proof of enrollement or a valid student card and we will provide you with a 20% discount code.

Submission Fee Waiver: Tower Hamlets Residents, Employees and Students

Submission is free of charge for residents, employees and students of the London borough of Tower Hamlets. In order to request a fee waiver, please email with the subject THR FEE WAIVER followed by the title of your film, including proof of your Tower Hamlets address, employment, or place of study. Please send a photocopy of one of the following forms of evidence:

- A utility bill (e.g. gas, electricity, water, telephone)
- A bank/building society statement
- A Council tax bill
- A pay slip
- Proof of enrollment on Tower Hamlets full-time course
- Valid College/University student card

NB: Proof must be dated within 6 months of your submission date.

Shipping and postage: DVD submissions should be sent to the festival's shipping address, which will be provided on request.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL SHIPPING AND POSTAGE COSTS TO AND FROM THE FESTIVAL MUST BE BORNE BY THE SUBMITTING PARTY, including those for the submission package and, if the film is selected, for all prints, tapes and additional materials sent to and returned from EEFF. EEFF will not accept COD shipments and will not absorb any fees incurred in British customs. All charges must be pre-paid. EEFF will not accept submissions if customs and delivery fees have not been paid by the submitting party. To avoid customs fees, please ensure all tapes and/or prints are labelled 'For temporary, cultural purposes only. No commercial value. Non-pornographic.'

Selection of films:

Features and shorts will be selected by festival programmers and guest programmers. Eligible submissions are further reviewed and selected under the following criteria:

- Quality of narrative and production values
- Independent nature of the production
- Relevance to overall EEFF Criteria
- Limitations and availability of screening slots
- Availability of film rights for distribution

Festival awards: Please see above.

Festival screenings and scheduling:

EEFF is able to screen 35mm, DCP or Blu Ray for feature films, and DCP for short films. EEFF aspires to provide the best quality projection possible but will not be held liable for any failure in the technical quality of the projection. EEFF assumes that the submitting party or filmmaker or print source company has insured for damage and loss of the festival print or tape.

Screenings are scheduled at the discretion of EEFF. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, EEFF reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. EEFF will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling.

No film may be withdrawn from the festival programme after its selection, and no film may be screened outside the Festival during the Festival and before its official presentation without the agreement of EEFF.

If you have any questions please email

Overall Rating
  • Anna Siemiaczko

    Fantastic festival, brilliant hospitality and lots of networking opportunities. Great communication, too. We feel honoured to have our World Premiere at East End.

    August 2018
  • Glen Delahaye

    I was very pleased to be part of EEFF 2018, as a filmmaker and an audience member.

    May 2018
  • Where do we start... a fantastic amount of effort, love and strong programming goes into East End Film Festival and it's always a delight when we get our clients selected here. One of the best festivals in the UK, and definitely one of the best in London. Keep on being awesome!

    May 2018
  • Excellent festival with terrific programming in quality venues with solid audiences. I've screened two shorts in competition here and I hope to back again soon : )

    May 2018
  • Rebecca Brand

    EEFF is great! Excellent venues, a supportive team and a brilliant variety of events across the programme. They really champion independent filmmaking and attract big audiences. Have had two films premiere at the festival now and can't recommend it enough.

    May 2018