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Elefest Festival in Elephant and Castle

Elefest is returning to Elephant and Castle next weekend, with an exceptional line up of talent, films and workshops – proving the area is one of London’s leading creative hubs.
Most people do not know the origin of Elephant and Castle: in older times when 17th century brits heard for the first time "l'Infante de Castille" they thought they had understood it all as "Elephant and Castle"

Highlights for 2009 include screenings in the world’s first solar powered cinema, a unique mobile phone film festival and a visit from Grammy Award winning director Don Letts with his new film Carnival!

Films screenings at this year’s festival include brand new documentary A Ritual for Elephant and Castle. This new documentary explores the transitions currently taking place in South London, following artist Marcus Coates as he sets out on a ‘Vision Quest’ to search out the animal spirits that help guide the local community through a period of change. Involving local residents from the iconic Heygate Estate, Southwark councillors and a psychedelic doom rock orchestra called Chrome Hoof, the community and artists embarked on a journey into the depths of the neighbourhood in search of alternative ways to find solutions to a shared problem. The findings from the ‘Vision Quest’ were presented to the community via a rock-disco-shamanic-ritual at the legendary Coronet Theatre in June this year. At this one-off event for Elefest there is a preview screening of the film and performance at the Coronet, alongside Marcus Coates, the writer Will Hodgkinson and more.

An outstanding venue for this year’s festival is the Groovy Movie Picture house - the world’s first solar powered cinema. It will play host to a variety of events at this year’s Elefest including live performances with 1980’s music sensation Zero Le Crèche who will be performing their first live gig in 25 years.

The Groovy Movie Picture house will also play host to Don Letts presents: Carnival! Grammy Award winning director Don Letts returns to Elefest with his new film as well as post screening Q&A. Carnival! documents the colourful history of Europe’s biggest street party cutting together interviews with rare and unseen archive footage.

On Sunday 18th audiences get the opportunity to see the entries to the Mobile Phone Film Festival from the local area. This summer, young Interns at Southwark Playhouse and B3 Media ran a Mobile Phone Film Festival for 16-25 year olds. This is a one off opportunity to catch the award winning short films created on the project at this special Elefest screening.

Elefest was established in 2003 to celebrate the creative diversity of the area that has become well known as a hub of cultural expression. Elefest began with a series of events, showcasing locally made films. This year Elefest will include a wide variety of the arts, including live music events, digital media, dance and performance.

Elephant and Castle is one of London's oldest and most fascinating locations. Referred to in the prose of both Shakespeare and Dickens, it has always been a hub for people and culture. Rob Wray, Elefest’s Director: “Elefest is special because it celebrates one of the most maligned and misunderstood areas of London," says Rob, who grew up in Walworth. “We created Elefest to celebrate the cultural and creative diversity of the area and the people who live in it."



Other Elefest 2009 Highlights Include:

Amader Bhobishot - Our Futures presents Bengali One
An event for people of different generations, the audience sharing experiences with young people so they can learn about Bengali history.

Somali Poetry and Music Cultural evening
An evening of Somali Poetry and Music hosted by Professor Martin Arling and Dr M Hassan, of the School of Oriental and African Studies presenting both traditional and contemporary Somali poetry dealing with the culture of Somalia and family life, read in Somali and English.

The General (Buster Keaton) Live re-score
To accompany Keaton's best, and arguably the greatest screen comedy ever made, Sebastiano Genovese has composed an original new score. This will be performed live on classical guitar to complement the slapstick of Keaton's masterpiece set against meticulously evoked civil war background.

Charlie’s Return
The Kitchen Collective presents the premier of a multi-media film and live score event featuring Charlie Chaplin’s ghost, he returns to East Street at dawn to observe the ever changing environs and landscape of Walworth, Elephant & Castle and other parts of Southwark.

Top Cats
Originally formed in south east London march ‘98 playing SKA *Rocksteady & Reggae with original material the Top Cats have brought a Dynamic Ska show into the 21st Century. Over the years Top Cats have played numerous Festivals & events including Glastonbury, Womad, Southbank, Coin Street, Respect & Notting hill as well as taking their original sound all around the globe.


The Elefest Festival takes place 14th -18th October at locations in Elephant and Castle. All events are free of charge and do not require a ticket.





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