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The Earth Liberation Front that inspired The East

From producer Ridley Scott and directed by Zal Batmanglij comes a taut, sexy thriller starring Brit Marling (Arbitrage), Alexander Skarsgard (TV’s “True Blood”) and Oscar® Nominee Ellen Page. Sarah Moss (Marling) is an ambitious new recruit at an elite private intelligence firm. Her first undercover assignment is to infiltrate “The East,” an elusive activist collective that terrorizes corporate leaders who commit crimes against humanity.

The film is said to be inspired by Zal and Brit’s experience of spending some time with an anarchist group briefly during the summer. Lending to that experience were the various eco-terrorist groups and movements in the northwest, such as the Earth Liberation Front. Starting in 1992, ELF as its known began in United Kingdom and quickly spread throughout Europe into the US. Here are important facts you need to know about ELF and its part for inspiring the film, The East.

The East Featurette

ELF Fact #1: How It Came to Be

ELF was founded in the UK, in the city of Brighton by members of a group called Earth First (EF!). Earth First! was described as a movement and quickly notes it is not an organization. EF developed a popular reputation of not overtly breaking any laws in their protests. This led to the creation of ELF, as it was called for those that chose to carry out extreme measures.

ELF Fact #2: Notable Actions

The ELF garnered national attention with a series of events, most notably, the burning of a $12 million ski resort in the wealthy and famous Vail, Colorado. The reason behind the attack is said to be primarily because the resort was set to expand their property, which in turn, would ruin the last lynx habitat in the state. In a release to the press, it’s stated the elves expressed that business ahead of Colorado’s habitat would not be tolerated.

ELF Fact #3: What’s In a Name?

Much like the film, the group called themselves ‘The East’. The ELF is also known as ‘Elves’ or ‘The Elves’. The exact definition is the autonomous individuals or covert cells “economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment”.

ELF Fact #4: If A Tree Falls

Gaining notoriety for its abrasive and destructive tactics, ELF became the subject of the world news and the film world alike. A Sundance winner and Academy Award nominated documentary, If A Tree Falls, investigates the movement through the eyes of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. The documentary includes rare footage and interviews with members of the cell during the height of the movement from 1995 to early 2001.

Learn more about ELF and its history when you watch The East on Blu-ray and DVD, September 17.

For a chance to win a copy of The East, simply fill out the form below:



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The Author

Kristal Bailey

Kristal Bailey

With a soft spot for movies that fall into the “So Bad They’re Good” category, Kristal Bailey regularly watches B-movies, 80s comedies, and sci-fi from the 50s and 60s. She also refuses to grow up if that means she has to hide her love for Disney and Pixar films.

In her free time, she enjoys reading graphic novels or books that are soon to be turned into movies, watching hours and hours of television, and spending way too much time on Twitter.