SAVE THE DATE: Now In It’s Sixteen Year London Short Film Festival (LSFF) Supported by the BFI Announces 2019 Programme
Feat. Nkisi (UIQ), John Lurie, Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire, Wrangler), Natalie Sharp (Lone Taxidermist), Cosey Fanni Tutti, Xana
LSFF 2019 INTERNATIONAL JURY MEMBERS ANNOUNCED AS WENDY IDE (The Guardian, Screen), JACQUI DAVIES (Ray & Liz) AND SAMIR KARAHODA (Dokufest)
11-20 January 2019
The London Short Film Festival (LSFF), running from 11-20 January 2019, returns as the first vital moment of the new year’s film calendar, retaining its status as the UK’s premiere destination for the best in UK and international independent short film. For its sixteenth edition, the festival will see a focus on alternative ‘80s culture, a moment bringing outsider art across to the mainstream.
LSFF is a beacon of inclusive and groundbreaking filmmaking from a diverse range of backgrounds; in 2019 the Festival will show a huge selection of UK and international short films across music, politics and culture.
2019 will see a celebration of the ‘80s agitprop Scratch Video movement with live music from electronic supergroup Wrangler, a rare screening of cult figure John Lurie’s Fishing with John, and a programme of film and performance devised for Air Draft, the industrial barge-turned-inflatable venue which won the 2018 Antepavilion commission, curated by Lone Taxidermist’s Natalie Sharp.
Further highlights include LSFF’s Official UK and International Competition programmes, Cosey Fanni Tutti: On Film and In Conversation, a retrospective looking back over 40 years of sonic and visual exploration.
Now! That's What I Call '80s Short Film, screens the formative calling cards of the decade’s graduating class, now established prolific British directors among the industry’s greats, including Clio Barnard, Andrew Kötting, Sally Potter, and Harry Potter’s David Yates. Meanwhile, Nasty Stuff: Basket Case curated by Prano Bailey-Bond in association with Cigarette Burns Cinema screens the 1982 low-budget horror, which was caught up in the UK’s Video Nasty scare, shown on 35mm for extra scares.
Behind the Wall: Short Films from the GDR, commemorates 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and SUPAKINO: Turbans Through Time presents a potted history of the changing representation of Sikhs. Closing night will celebrate the black women redefining Afrofuturism through their electronic experimentation in No Woman Is An Island where Nkisi (UIQ) will be performing an exclusive live premiere ahead of her album launch (7 Directions) in January 2019.
New programming partnerships include Africa Is A Country, the Stuart Hall Foundation and London Migration Festival looking to the self-authored black British presence on screen and taking stock of academic Stuart Hall’s televisual legacy with the event It (still) Ain’t Half Racist Mum!
Elsewhere, LSFF looks to the kaleidoscopic music videos of iconoclast Derek Jarman for the likes of The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys and Marianne Faithful, the visual history of underground label Hyperdub with Cooly G, Club des Femmes revisit Pratibha Parmar’s seminal document of black, queer resistance A Place of Rage in the context of Trump and New Queer Visions deliver LGBTQ+ short gems and docs from the world afar.
LSFF’s International Jury 2019, supported by the British Council welcomes programmer Samir Karahoda (Dokufest) and producer Jacqui Davies (Ray & Liz), with Wendy Ide (Screen International, The Guardian) to award key prizes at the festival. LSFF competition features 48 exceptional UK and International short films across eight programme hosted at ICA, Curzon Soho and Rich Mix.
Public audiences will have two chance to see the full Award Winners programme including Best UK Short, Best International Short, Best Animation and Best Documentary, with two screenings on the final Sunday of the festival at Curzon Soho and Rio Cinema in Dalston.
Of the programme, LSFF Artistic Director Philip Ilson said “The democratisation of short filmmaking hit its peak in the 1980s with DIY ethics sweeping living rooms and the art world, film stock usurped by inexpensive tape and affordable camcorders. This novel cheapness of making art opened space for experimentation - whether recycling daytime television into politicised Scratch Video as showcased in our Opening Night, or the gentler subversions of documenting an East Germany anticipating the fall of the Berlin Wall (see our 30th anniversary GDR triptych).
Elsewhere, we look to the legacy of public art, taking up residency on the Air Draft. An inflatable theatre sat atop a repurposed industrial barge, we’re mooring on Hackney Wick’s canal for a programme of film and live performance utilising the structures polymorphous shape to full effect. Expect rubber appendages and disturbing plastic people, both on screen (in the works of Rachel MacLean and others) and on stage (Lone Taxidermist), alongside pneumatic-themed docs”.
As a champion of diverse and inclusive film, LSFF continues to see a huge contribution from young people, women, LGBTQ+ and BAME filmmakers, and once again includes a programme led by and for the D/deaf community, also supported by the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust.
With an established network of sponsors and supporters who help champion the Festival, LSFF strives to become more accessible and inclusive with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery. LSFF is also proud to have been awarded the Screen Diversity mark of good practice for meeting the BFI Diversity Standard, which recognises the Festival’s commitment in this endeavour.
Strands and Highlights
Opening the festival is All That Scratching Is Making Me Itch (in association with LUX), a celebration of Scratch Video, a British video art movement of the early ‘80s, born of agitprop and daytime TV and characterised by the splicing together and recontextualization of found footage. Churning politic ideologies, pop music and VHS into ‘televisual punk rock’, Scratch Video ultimately found its way from the art galleries to the clubs of South London, the Thatcherist angst of the era inescapable even on the dance floor.
At this festival launch event, LSFF presents original works by the Duvet Brothers, Gorilla Tapes, George Barber, Sandra Goldbacher, Kim Flitcroft and John Hanlon, featuring the music of New Order, Joy Division and Strike! The Enemy Within. This will be accompanied by multi-screen projection, live remixing and live performance from electronic supergroup Wrangler (Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder, Phil Winter from folktronica group TUUNG and John Foxx and The Maths’ Benge).
History of Hyperdub with Cooly G Live will explore the homegrown, often DIY visuals which have accompanied Hyperdub releases over the years, from past to present. Expect music videos, docs and plenty of footwork.
From zine to record label, across its 14 years’ existence Hyperdub has grown from one of the early documenters of UK dubstep, pioneered by its own founder Kode9, to one of the UK’s most celebrated underground electronic labels, famously home to its first signee South London’s Burial and an ever-increasingly eclectic roster.
Through Derek Jarman: The Music Videos, LSFF will trace Jarman’s unique visual alchemy through to these oft-forgotten but era-defining gems. Featuring music videos for the likes of The Smiths, Easterhouse, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Pet Shop Boys and Suede.
Jarman’s work, from his 1977 polemic on punk Jubilee, was always heavily influenced by the politic charge and aesthetic defiance of music and its makers. As the music video exploded at the height of the Eighties, queer iconoclast Derek Jarman found himself something of a bridge between the mainstream and the fringes, taking on commercial directorial work for emerging artists pushing outsider subculture through into the Top 40.
For the opening screening, LSFF presents Now! That's What I Call '80s Short Film, presenting the formative calling cards of the decade’s graduating class, now established prolific British directors among the industry’s greats.
From the early experiments of Clio Barnard and Andrew Kötting, to the playful parody of Sally Potter, to the thoroughly low budget period drama of Harry Potter’s David Yates, these films are rebellious, rough around the edges and speak to the Eighties’ nurturing of burgeoning creative talent.
LSFF will present a rare screening of TV series Fishing with John, followed by a live satellite Q&A with its famously elusive artist creator & musician John Lurie. The show is a charmingly deadpan (mis)adventure seeing the likes of Tom Waits, Dennis Hopper and Willem Dafoe take part in a variety of ill-prepared fishing trips. Acting as a surreal forbear to the ‘scripted reality’ TV shows of the 2000s and pitched somewhere between a Discovery Channel travelogue and a hipsterised Beckett play. Fishing with John is a curiously heartwarming affair, mixing absurd high-stakes drama with laconically droll improvisation.
Nasty Stuff: Basket Case is curated by Prano Bailey-Bond in association with Cigarette Burns Cinema. Bailey-Bond has plucked a personal favourite from the home video archive, screened on original 35mm for maximum scares. This 1982 low-budget horror was caught up in the UK’s Video Nasty scare seized by police for its similarity to other slashers even though originally passed for cinema release.
LSFF welcomes Cosey Fanni Tutti: On Film and In Conversation; over some forty years and through her involvement with various experimental collectives (COUM Transmission, Throbbing Gristle and more recently, Carter Tutti), Cosey Fanny Tutti has explored the extremities of sonic and visual language, the body’s sensory workings and her own performative self-imaging. Whether located in the soft porn industry of the late Seventies or private solo actions of the Nineties, Cosey has continued to collapse the personal, experiential and abstract into music and art.
A site specific weekend residency has been devised for Air Draft, a strange purpose-built inflatable performance venue built into a former industrial barge, designed by Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers (winner of the 2018 Antepavilion commission).
Air Draft will be moored at Grow in Hackney Wick and he programme will feature A Sideshow Grotesquerie, a day of film and live performance curated by Natalie Sharp (Lone Taxidermist), celebrating the beautifully grotesque elements of the body using exaggerated extensions and body manipulation. Lone Taxidermist will perform Trifle, a musical and visual journey into the murky, squelchy depths of food fetishes, gender, latex and mass ritual.
Also on board Air Draft, screenings include A Beautiful Body Horror Videoshow will present a programme of work by artists and filmmakers working in the manipulation of the human body, including Rachel Maclean, David Lewandowski and Nadia Lee Cohen.
Behind the Wall: Short Films from the GDR (supported by Goethe Institute and MUBI) commemorates 30 years since the first crucial step towards German unification occurred on 9th November 1989. Three anniversary programmes of rare archival short films highlight the dissenting and subversive work made in the German Democratic Republic.
Contextualised by a contemporary Europe steering emphatically right, this programme looks to the necessity and subtlety of rebellion through art. Events include a mini retrospective of East German documentarian and painter Jürgen Böttcher, filmmakers including Thomas Heise and Helke Missewitz exploring the ephemeral and the forgotten in the regime’s final decade, and a series of 8mm underground experimental films from Ex Oriente Lux, originally screened in secret in the face of censorship.
In At Home and Not at Home, LSFF partners with Africa Is A Country and the London Migration Film Festival to present a programme of short films tracing the self-authored black British presence on screen, from the early filmmakers of the Windrush generation and those to follow. Wrestling resources from an inimical industry, these works reclaim representation from a hegemony of white faces and the dominance of the white gaze, looking to postcolonial London, the realities of its racism and insularity of class, and the unhomeliness of the migrant experience.
In partnership with the Stuart Hall Foundation, LSFF presents It (Still) Ain’t Half Racist, Mum, a screening and roundtable revisiting and reflecting on academic and activist Stuart Hall’s 1979 televisual essay, It Ain’t Half Racist, Mum.
Produced for the BBC’s Open Door series (1973-1983), an experiment in unfiltered access television handing over the airwaves of a Monday evening a week to marginalized voices, Hall presents a rigorous deconstruction of the racism - both explicit and more insidious in its subtlety - of the British media from within.
Alongside the original episode, LSFF pairs contemporary short form from Heitan Patel looking to Hall’s appropriation of the filmic form and its language to dismantle conceptions of race alongside a wider panel discussion on race and cultural production forty years on since its original broadcast, chaired by Dr Clive Nwonka (LSE).
For SUPAKINO: Turbans Through Time, audiences must strap in for a potted history of the changing representation of Sikhs on the big screen. The programme dips into the archive to screen little-seen works, including magazine show Here and Now‘s segment on the only male Sikh matron in mid Eighties West Bromwich, and Beverly Shaffer’s 1977 Children of Canada commission Gurdeep Singh Bains.
Part history lesson, part open conversation, SUPAKINO’s Ranjit Ruprai and special guest Sathnam Sanghera (The Boy With The Topknot) will look to the turbans of 1950s Hollywood, contemporary Bollywood, and more generally to the Sikh filmmakers throughout cinematic history.
On the final day of LSFF there will be two Afrofuturist themed events: A Constellation of Cosmic Queens is a kaleidoscopic offering of Afrofuturist short films from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and the US. Audiences will be taken into the orbits of the Cosmic Queens where celestial happenings and speculative futures meet the spirituality and innate strength of the black women at the centre of these journeys.
Closing Night: No Woman Is An Island is an evening of cosmic soundscapes and glitching polyrhythms, showcasing the black women artists of London synthesising Afrofuturism through their electronic experiments. Looper musician and poet, Xana will play live, and Shannen SP of NTS and Hyperdub will DJ alongside headline act, Nkisi (UIQ), who will be performing an exclusive live premiere ahead of her album launch (7 Directions) in January 2019. Expect big vocals and irresistible afrobeats, underscored with atmospheric loopings and modular improvisation, diasporic electronica and sparse South African house. To accompany, the women-led music videos that have come to define the Afrofuturist aesthetic, from Janelle Monae to Missy Elliot.
Club des Femmes: I Want a Dyke for President screens Queer films to #FuckTrump. These short works, new and old, remind us another radical world is possible and that queer filmmakers and artists have always been at the forefront of the struggle. Pratibha Parmar’s visionary document of queer feminist Black Power, A Place of Rage (accompanied by its rarely screened experimental short sister, A Poem About My Rights, featuring June Jordan) here meets Adinah Dancyger’s anti-Trump re-up of Zoe Leonard’s poem I Want A Dyke For President performed by Mykki Blanco. To be followed by CDF’s So Mayer and speaker Nazmia Jamal bringing the legacy of A Place Of Rage into the urgent present.
Also for the 2019 edition, LSFF welcomes back New Queer Visions, LGBTQI+ culture aficionados who return to London with short gems and docs of the queer variety from the world afar.
LSFF’s International Jury 2019, supported by the British Council welcomes programmer Samir Karahoda (Dokufest), producer Jacqui Davies (Ray & Liz)and critic Wendy Ide (The Guardian, Screen International) to award key prizes at the festival. LSFF competition features 48 exceptional UK and International short films across eight programme hosted at ICA, Curzon Soho and Rich Mix.
“We are proud to present this year's UK films in competition. Whittled down through careful, collaborative programming, we here highlight a diversity of British short filmmaking talent we believe award-worthy. Politically and socially, these are both exciting and tumultuous times for artists within the UK, and we hope that you're as inspired by these films as we are. With concepts of nation in public consciousness and a 'Little England' on the rise, it's reassuring to see filmmakers tackle the issues of the day with such outward looking passion and conviction, making vital, urgent films reflecting on precarious states of affairs.” - Philip Ilson, Creative Director
“There’s an expectation that when putting together competition programmes you’re searching for quote unquote the best, a measure inevitably elusive when factoring in multiple viewpoints. Instead my team and I felt it more vital to emphasise work that ambitiously pushed past the boundaries of conventional classification. Placing focus instead on individuality, we have here curated films that unapologetically explore all the aesthetic, formal and ideological freedoms that the short form has to offer and dismissed arbitrary benchmarks of ‘quality’ such as duration. With this selection I hope to offer up a diverse and unruly, sometimes challenging, hopefully energising, portrait of the world, one that explores beyond the usual Eurocentric bias and taps into fresh images, ideas and sensations.” - Thomas Grimshaw, International Programmer
About the BFI
The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:
· Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
· Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
· Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK - investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
· Promoting British film and talent to the world
· Growing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences
The BFI is a Government arm’s-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:
· As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
· By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
· By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.
The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.