Top image: Still, ‘And Then I was French’ (2015) dir. Claire Leona Apps

East End Film Festival, founded in 2000, is a major international film festival and one of the UK’s largest. Kicking off on 23rd June and running until 3rd July, there’s plenty of scope to check out the diverse bunch of films from global and independent talents.

We’ve circled five top picks to watch, so head East for these special screenings.

Adult Life Skills (2015) dir. Rachel Tunnard:

A debut film written and directed by Rachel Tunnard, starring St. Trinians actress Jodie Whittaker, and based on Tunnard’s BAFTA and BIFA nominated short film, Emotional FuseboxAdult Life Skills is a promising shout.

A lonely twenty-something woman hibernates in her mum’s shed making home movies, featuring nothing other than her thumbs. Shock horror – her mum asks her to move out and get a life. From here, she sets out to find herself. Winning the Nora Ephron prize at Tribeca Film Festival and widely compared to Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, this left-field Brit flick has a big future.

And Then I was French (2015) dir. Claire Leona Apps:

By Claire Leona Apps, two time award-winner for short film Gweipo, this raw psychological thriller depicts a journey of self-discovery gone wrong. A once-innocent masseuse gets strung out on Fifty Shades desire for a new man in town, Jay. She verges on deranged psychopath with mean girl jealousy when her love interest has another. Darkly sensual and unexpectedly bloody, the trailer warns viewers: ‘don’t expect a happy ending.’

Love is Thicker than Water (2015) dir. Emily Harris, Ate de Jong:

Director of Drop Dead Fred, Ate de Jong, and Emily Harris come together to give us this quirky, modern Romeo and Juliet set-up, rich vs poor and disapproving families. Can a Welsh bike messenger win the heart of a well-bred London girl? Animations interspersed throughout break up the storyline, setting it further apart from Shakespeare’s classic.

Still, 'Love is Thicker than Water' (2015) dir. Emily Harris

The Curve (2015) dir. Rifqi Assaf:

Boy, interrupted. A solitary guy lives alone in his VW camper van, but after saving a helpless woman from a dodgy taxi, he has company, sans-invitation. What starts as an interruption becomes a road trip with no destination and a touching journey for the passengers. Rifqi Assaf is an award-winning Jordan-born filmmaker and screenwriter and after very successful short films, this feature should be checked out.

Still, 'The Curve' (2015) dir. Rifqi Assaf

Half Way (2015) dir. Daisy-May Hudson:

“I’m a homeless person now, and guess what? I’m fucking furious.”

A taste of reality, this honest documentary follows a family, post-eviction, struggling against the housing bureaucracy of Britain. Filmed by the eldest daughter of the family, Daisy – May Hudson, her emotional outlet through film reveals a raw talent for storytelling. This crafty film gives a personal insight into homelessness and makes for a moving watch.

East End Film Festival runs 23rd June–3rd July, see the full programme here.

Follow Fiona Hope McDowall on Twitter @fionahope_