Film Festival Feature
Now in its 14th year, LSFF is recognised as the premiere showcase for cutting-edge UK independent films. Critically lauded for its provocative cross-arts programming, the festival has become synonymous with unique, zeitgeist capturing experiences and events, making it a mecca for creative talent and an important moment in the UK film calendar.
This year’s festival mantra comes from Huggy Bear’s 1992 single Her Jazz, one of the rare UK representatives of riot grrrl in the early nineties. Based on the song’s ethos ‘this is happening without your permission’, LSFF 2017 has embraced this ideology, showing a huge wealth of diverse and challenging content, especially in the light of the events and news of 2016.
The festival will show a huge selection of UK short films across music, comedy, LGBTQ, fashion and culture. Highlights of this year’s festival include a programme that tells the story of the birth of riot grrrl, which resonates with today’s disillusioned youth. Using confrontational imagery, a generation of female filmmakers also paved the way alongside their punk counterparts, looking to the scene for inspiration.
David Bowie Sound & Vision, a series of screenings at 19 Picturehouse cinemas across the UK, captures the story of his career, taking in three decades, from his experimental beginnings of the sixties to the golden era of the seventies to his world of domination in the eighties with a series of critically acclaimed films that have rarely been seen cinematically.
LSFF will also look at the rise of social media culture, as this year’s comedy strand will see 600 of Glaswegian comedian Limmy’s vines screened today for the first time.
This 14th edition of the London Short Film Festival is as always a showcase of the best of British talent with around 350 short UK shorts selected from 2000 open submissions. The festival continues to highlight international talent for a 3rd year, as well as an ongoing dedication to documentary short film.
LSFF aims to inspire its audience, bringing back voices and images from the past. Whether it be through the exploration of the work of late US short story writer Raymond Carver or the ground-breaking nineties LGBT work of London filmmaker Annette Kennerley, LSFF gives new generations the opportunity to reflect on social and cultural issues questioning whether progress has been made over the years.
The festival takes in all forms and styles of moving images, a highlight being the 16mm film and analogue synthesizers used as part of the LSFF 2017’s launch event, in collaboration with Moog Sound Lab, Savages and Analogue Recurring.
2017 also sees the launch of With Teeth; a long-term short film commissioning fund, with an aim to become a solid support base for the most exciting emerging cinematic voices and auteurs, supported by Arts Council England National Lottery Funding. Grace LaDoja, Alex Taylor and Alnoor Dewshi are the first recipients who will premiere new work, commissioned via the fund, at the festival.
The ICA and Hackney Picturehouse continue to be the festival’s lead venues, hosting the Industry, New Shorts and Special events programmes. This year also sees the introduction of Picturehouse Central, as well as Hackney’s Moth Club, who will host live music performances and events.
This year’s music strand will look at riot grrrl to see how women took hold of the music scene, creating film, zines and other artforms in its wake. The White Trash Girls, Gun Girls and Riot Girls programme brings together riot grrrl influenced film and its directors; attendees will receive a specially commissioned zine, drawing on the content and ethos of the films, putting them in the context of the contemporary DIY scene.
To complement the programme, LSFF 2017 is screening Tamra Davis’ noughties cult classic, Crossroads, starring Britney Spears, Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Taryn Manning (Orange Is The New Black).
LSFF 2017 also looks at other youth and subcultures past and present, from Bowie to grime to black rock. David Bowie: Sound & Vision, is a celebratory screening on the first anniversary of his death, showing short films from across three decades at 18 Picturehouse cinemas across the UK. Picturehouse Central will host a Q and A with directors Alan Yentob, Michael Armstrong and Julien Temple, with 50p from every ticket sold donated to Save The Children.
Other highlights include A Black Rock Symposium, culminating in a live set from Big Joanie and a screening of Begotten, accompanied with a live score by The Begotten, and Bands That DIY Together, Stay Together, is a history of music videos through DIY bands from Skepta to the Pixies, with a live set from The Rhythm Method.
Long Live the New Flesh, which opens the festival, features the Moog Sound Lab, will see Fay Milton and Ayse Hassan from Savages experiment with analogue sound-scaping, synthesis and effects, alongside live drums, with 16mm visuals by David Leister & Bea Haut (Analogue Recurring).
LGBTQ content is led by New Queer Visions: Roots Manoeuvre, a diverse set of tales, that raises but doesn’t necessarily answer a panoply of questions about crossing borders and identities taking shape. This is followed by New Queer Visions: A Special Relationship a richly diverse series of shorts and documentaries telling stories from across the US of A, taking in everything from anime, sharks and country music. A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group and the Queer Kampala International Film Festival.
Another highlight, Club Des Femmes’ Smoulder and Curl…, is a unique and deeply personal body of 16mm films that explore the emotional ebb and flow of lesbian relationships and sexuality. The screening will be followed by a live Q&A with Annette Kennerley, hosted by Club Des Femme’s Selina Robertson.
Fashion and culture
At the heart of LSFF 2017’s fashion and culture programming, Youth Decades is a selection of documentaries spanning the decades, examining the dreams and aspirations of each generation’s ‘youth’ past. Where possible, these classic films are being screened from original formats including 35mm, presenting a rare chance to see these hard-to-catch films on the big screen. This essential double-bill of short docs: Part One: Fifties, Sixties & Seventies, and Part Two: Eighties, Nineties, Noughties and Beyond culminates with the LSFF With Teeth commission by Grace Ladoja, celebrating the youth subculture in London 2016.
The Sound Of Fashion chronicles the birth of the fashion film, a relatively new arrival to the short film festival scene, described by some commentators as the new music video. Following the screening Leonie Cooper (ex-London College of Fashion student and Senior Staff Writer at NME) will lead a panel discussion with Katie Baron (author of Fashion Creatives Shaping Pop Culture) Fashion VJs! Live filmmaking! Grime! and Glamour! Fashion In The Sonic Landscape is a programme of live multi-sensory visual projections curated by the London College of Fashion and Domino Recording Co will re-create the spontaneity and immediacy of the fashion world through fashion film, interactive live editing and intoxicating beats.
Performance artist and filmmaker Harriet Fleuriot and artist Sarah Cockings will showcase their project Plasma Vista in a remixed state, showcasing its episodic art, design products, furnishings and clothing and pushing these back into a self-rendered dysfunctional experimental piece of moving image.
WBW Awards photographer of the year 2016, Olivia Rose, will present her photographic work for This Is Grime, the definitive book on Britain’s most provocative music genre (written by Hattie Collins) as live projections, accompanied by a suitable DJ soundtrack from Domino Records including artists such as Range, Mr Mitch, Kwes and Rags Originale.
2017 is the third year of LSFF’s international film programming. A highlight is Another Kind of Girl a film made in response to the often negative reporting of the Syrian refugee experience. Filmmaker Laura Doggett travelled to Za’atari, organising workshops that engaged Syrian girls in artistic and technical training in video to reflect on and tell their own stories in first person. This is a rare chance to see all seven film in the collection followed by a panel discussion exploring the portrayal of refugees in the media, and projects that endeavour to challenge mainstream rhetoric, chaired by BAFTA nominated producer of A Syrian Love Story, Elhum Shakerifar.
LSFF is screening Raymond Carver: Short Cuts, and Raymond Carver Short Stories, both in association with MUBI. These three short films (Whoever Was Using This Bed?, Tropical Fish and Want To See Something) will highlight the short story form adapted to the cinema, and will be followed by a panel discussion featuring director Chris Rodley.
This year LSFF announces the With Teeth commissioning fund. Intended as a long-term bi-annual award, With Teeth differentiates itself from more traditional avenues of funding as it aims to nurture diverse and unconventional independent short filmmaking, underscoring LSFF’s commitment to supporting innovative moving image.
The awardees of the inaugural With Teeth commissions, supported by Arts Council England, are Alex Z. Taylor (Spaceship), Alnoor Dewshi (77 Beds) and Grace LaDoja (creative director, Skepta). Each have directed a film to premiere at the LSFF 2017.
Alex Z. Taylor’s Lily Goes to Kiss Land draws on themes and obsessions with outsiders and teenage subcultures. It will be screening alongside Taylor’s loose and improvised short films that blur the lines between documentary and fiction.
Grace LaDoja’s Evolve will be premiered alongside a showcase of Grace’s work, which spans the worlds of music, art, fashion, and street culture. From creating music videos for peers including Skepta and FKA Twiggs, to directing campaigns for global brands, her films always return to a single theme: telling the stories of true individuals, and doing so in the most authentic way possible.
Alnoor Dewshi’s Kickbox Hijabi will be screened with a retrospective of Alnoor’s work alongside other proponents of the ‘get-out-there-and do-it’ school of thought. LSFF will screen an early work by Shane Meadows and an abridged gallery piece by artist filmmaker Rachel McLean, followed by Alnoor in conversation with fellow provocative veteran DIY filmmaker Andrew Kotting.
If you are interested in attending the London Short Film Festival 2017, visit the website below: