SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival
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SCI-FI-LONDON is the UK’s leading genre event and an internationally recognised launch pad for genre movies. At each festival we have at least a dozen UK premieres and in the last few years we had the first public screening (ahead of the USA!) of 28 WEEKS LATER and the world premiere of Bruce (Iron Maiden) Dickinson’s CHEMICAL WEDDING.
The festival is now in its 9th year and will take place Wed 28th April – Mon 3rd May 2010 at The Apollo Piccadilly Circus Cinema, London’s most luxurious cinema.
Alongside our regular film programming (which includes shorts, features, documentaries and world premieres) we shall be featuring a series of talks and debates on genre literature, film and TV. We also expand our ‘Science Fact’ stream with demonstrations, lectures and debate - under the banner SCI-FI-LONDON: LAB
The festival will screen films over 6 days and also have a full daytime programme over the bank holiday weekend, aimed at the whole family. The festival expects around 4500 visitors in April and 1000 in October.
SCI-FI-LONDON once again throws down the gauntlet to filmmakers to produce some challenging short films with our second 48 hour film challenge. In April 2009 we had around 1000 people take part and 49 films completed. Several of these films have been featured at other festivals and screened on the Sci Fi Channel in the UK, USA, Netherlands and Japan.
We were also delighted to have some great guests including, film director Marc Caro (Delicatessen, City of the Lost Children), Cory McAbee (Stingray Sam, American Astronaut) and Gerrald McMorrow (Franklyn). We also had writers such as Charles Stross and Alastair Reynolds, along with screenwriter Stuart Hazeldine (Knowing, Exam) - even William Hurt popped his head in.
The SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival was started by the Festival's director Louis Savy "because there wasn't one".
"The festival started primarily because there wasn't anywhere for low-budget, interesting or foreign science fiction films. Its purpose was to show films that you're not likely to see in the UK at all, or that are going to be difficult to get hold of," says Louis.
Film London, the capital’s film and media agency said of the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival:
“Film London is pleased to support SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival as a significant contributor to London’s film cultural live. The strong audiences achieved by its screenings are a testament both to the city’s appetite for science fiction film and to the work the festival does in bringing new audiences to the genre. An acknowledged leader in its field, the festival has effectively pioneered a variety of online marketing strategies and consistently demonstrates professional best practise in its operations. SCI-FI-LONDON have always been generous in sharing their expertise and knowledge and Film London are grateful for their support in developing London’s film festival sector.”;
Want to submit your movie to our festival? click here for more info or go straight to withoutabox.com
From the outset the Festival's intention was to attract people who thought they didn't like sci-fi, rather than just the hard-core sci-fi fans. Unlike other genre festivals, SCI-FI-LONDON does not offer festival passes, but only sells tickets to individual films. This is partly due to the diversity of the Festival's programming. According to Festival director Louis Savy, "There are 30 to 50 people that you see around the festival all of the time, but, generally, what we tend to find is people will dip into the festival, see one or two titles, and we'll never see them again. They don't come to see everything. For example, at SFL5 we screened Confederate States of America, two screenings of that film were sold out to very different people who came to see Die You Zombie Bastards, or who came to the anime all-nighter. The geeks and the costume wearers are reflected in our audience, but they come in their civvies and you can't tell them apart from the 'normal' people."
It is during the all-nighters that this diversity becomes clearly apparent. A regular fixture at the Festival, the all-nighters offer three very different programmes of movies that run from around midnight until sunrise. There is always the massively popular anime programme that gives fans the rare opportunity of seeing the latest releases on a big screen that would otherwise be restricted to DVD releases. The Mystery Science Theatre 3000 programme has proved so popular that it is becoming a permanent fixture while there is an availability of material. The third option is usually made up of a themed programme of either sci-fi or horror classics. All attendees are given goody bags, ice-cream, a good supply of caffeine (Red Bull, coffee and tea) throughout the night and breakfast.
While the Festival is a lot of fun, it also has its serious side. It acts as the host for the annual Arthur C Clarke Award for Science Fiction literature. Although this is not a public event, it brings together the different sci-fi disciplines under one roof. Another great British literary figure is remembered in the Douglas Adams Memorial Debate, conducted by the Institute of Ideas.
Another hugely popular event is the pub quiz, which is free, thanks to the generosity of the Festival sponsor, Cobra Beer. It ends the Festival on a light note and is a chance for sci-fi fans who have survived the all-nighters to team up, 'geek out' and win prizes with their knowledge of obscure science fiction shows and books.
As supporters of low budget filmmaking, the festival runs workshops for budding filmmakers, with events such as special-effects masterclasses on the Saturday morning, where a guest director will show scenes from his new feature film and explain how the effects were created.
As with most other festivals, short films are an integral part of SCI-FI-LONDON, as Louis Savy explains: "The short film format is brilliant for science fiction, and the Festival has always been strong on shorts. We get, on average, 400 submitted every year and we pick between 10 and 30 to appear in the festival. We do a shorts programme, where we show them all together, and every short also gets at least one screening before a feature film in front of a paying audience."
SCI-FI-LONDON is an independent film festival that gets no funding from any of the arts or film councils and relies on the generosity and support of its sponsors, and the filmmakers and distributors themselves. Ultimately it is the ticket-buying public that make it a success and one of the friendliest festivals around, a view that is expressed by not only by the punters but also by the visiting filmmakers and guests.
As the Festival's reputation for programming a variety of exciting and independent films grows year by year, its core intention remains to challenge stereotypes whilst being fun and inclusive.