This year’s SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival, which celebrates all things science fiction and fantasy, kicks off at 12 o’clock this Sunday, 29 April, with a costume pageant starting in Victoria Embankment Gardens and ending outside the National Theatre. No doubt there’ll be lots of ‘Doctors’, starship captains and aliens for you to feast your eyes on – apparently the pageant will be led by two zombie Olympians to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games later in the summer… I’ll be heading along with a camera, so expect some interesting images later this weekend.
This is the 11th annual SCI-FI-London Film Festival, and this year’s activities centre around the Apollo Theatre on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue and the British Film Institute. Movies, documentaries and talks will be hosted at both venues from Tuesday 1 May to Monday 7 May, with an opening night screening of ‘Death’ by first-time British director Martin Gooch at the Apollo (now unfortunately sold out!). Other highlights of this year’s festival include the first UK screening of ‘The Captains’ on Thursday 3 May (a slightly odd documentary about Star Trek involving all of the actors who played the 4-pipped officers in the various series), two simultaneous all-nighters on Saturday 5 May (one featuring the films of Boris Karloff and the other celebrating the work of director Paul Verhoeven) and the closing night movie, and another premiere, ‘Ghosts With Shit Jobs’. This new film featuring Jim Munroe as director, writer and actor is a Chinese satire on a future world where the tables have turned on Westerners, who now do the menial and tedious manual work under the watchful eye of their Asian masters. Munroe will be holding a Q&A following the screening.
The Festival’s long-time director Louis Savy says that he started this celebration of the science fiction and fantasy genres “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“.
The SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival is independent and receives no funding from any of the supporting bodies in the UK – it only returns every year because sufficient people buy tickets for the events. I’ll be putting my hand in my pocket and attending a few screenings – you can have a look at the entire programme here and see whether anything takes your fancy. I also recommend popping along to watch the pageant on Sunday – you’ve probably never seen anything like it!