This month sees several key events and screenings of the tenth annual London Short Film Festival (LSFF) held in the borough.
At the heart of the festival are the ‘New Shorts’ screenings, which festival director Philip Ilson says “showcase both first-time filmmakers and more seasoned directors. We’re showing 300 films and a lot of them are very polished and with reasonably big budgets, but we’re also showing some very low budget work.”
The Hackney Attic will be a showing of a series of longer shorts, or ‘mid-length films’ on 12 January, whilst at The Aubin Cinema in Shoreditch on 13 January there will be a screening of films about family drama.
Sammy Patterson, cinema manager at the Aubin, says the LSFF “screens in London’s best independent cinemas and venues, so attending the screenings is really interesting”.
Submissions are open to anyone making films in the UK, with the winner awarded £1000 from the British Council. Prizes will also be given for the best documentary, as well as the best low budget film, female character, experimental film and best comedy.
The LSFF has previously shown shorts by successful filmmakers such as Andrea Arnold, Peter Strickland and Carol Morley. Ilson stresses that “every filmmaker has made short films – I think that’s how you start”. Hackney-based filmmaker Robert Dumas, whose music documentary The Nonsense Express will be screened on 9 January, says: “As a filmmaker being part of LSFF is a great way to receive exposure.”
In addition to New Shorts, the festival will host various industry and networking events, special multi-media screenings and parties. Ilson says: “The festival is a celebration not only of the films that come in, but also of the other events that are going on in London – it’s quite vibrant all year round. So it is just making these connections with people who are already doing stuff.”
Hackney is seen as an increasingly important area for cinephiles and other culture enthusiasts. “The creative buzz in Hackney and the people make the place so unique,” says Dumas. “There’s lots of exciting grassroots venues that host fresh interesting gigs, film nights and happenings.”
For the festival’s tenth anniversary, Newington Green tapas restaurant Trangallan and short film initiative Whirlygig Cinema are collaborating with an event called ‘Spotlights’. From 8 to 10 January, the venue will screen the past nine LSFF winning shorts, and there will also be Q&A sessions with the films’ directors, cinematographers and producers.
Katie Steed, director of Whirlygig, says: “Last year we had an amazing response to the weird and wonderful films we put on the screen. This is a great opportunity for Trangallan to make itself known to a wider audience and promote its eclectic arts programme.”
The Rio Cinema will host a ‘Midnight Mass’ alternative avant-garde event called ‘At Home with the Ludskis’ on 12 January, in which moving image makers, artists, musicians and performers take over the cinema as a tribute to the venue’s founder Clara Ludski.
On the same night, the Hackney Attic will host an evening of short films accompanied by especially composed live music, which according to Ilson “should be really good”. Meanwhile for the more style-conscious, the Hackney Picturehouse is putting on Fashion Popcorn on 8 January, a networking event that combines film, fashion and technology.
Despite its increasing size and prestige, the festival is organised only by Ilson and Producer Cassandra Neal, with the help of a host of volunteers. Dumas adds: “The team behind the festival are true patrons of new cinema. On a very low budget they manage to host a truly world class event.”
The London Short Film Festival
runs from 4–13 January 2013.
See Short Films for details.