LONDON, Wednesday 29 September – The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express announced this year’s LFF For Free line-up including events with filmmakers Michael Winterbottom, Asif Kapadia, Mike Leigh Jeremy Thomas and Mark Cousins and Founder of Fruit Tree Media and Director of UK Features for Netflix Fiona Lamptey. The Festival’s programme of free events will include talks and debates, short film screenings, XR and immersive experiences. . The BFI Southbank will become a Festival Hub for the public, with these free events concentrated predominantly over the two weekends of the BFI London Film Festival, October 9th – 10th and October 16th – 17th.
The LFF For Free programme offers an eclectic, provocative and creative mix of events for audiences of all tastes. Events will include thought-provoking Q&A and panel discussions with guests that also include THE ROPE (LFF 2021) series creators Eric Forestier and Dominique Rocher, Artizine UK’s Ioana Simion, Rebecca Barden (BFI Publishing at Bloomsbury), Rebecca Harrison (Open University), Manishita Dass (Royal Holloway University of London), Alex Dudok de Wit (Deputy Editor, Cartoon Brew) and some of the inspiring women who set up the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in 1981.
The programme will also include short film showcases from Film4 and Fruit Tree Media, NETWORK@LFF, BFI NETWORK and Film London, immersive album listening sessions in the dark with Pitchblack Playback and a guided walk-through comedy genius Charlie Chaplin’s early life as well as talks organised by BFI Film Academy’s Young Programmers. Audiences can also find out about the history of the BFI London Film Festival through the free Festival trail in and around the BFI Southbank, with a route peppered with artwork from past editions, Festival photography and fun LFF trivia for everyone to enjoy.
LFF Expanded will also offer free events throughout the duration of the Festival including Baff Akoto’s Augmented Reality artwork UP:RISE, interactive VR dance performance FUTURE RITES, MUSEUM OF AUSTERITY, a mixed reality exhibition that preserves memories of public and private events from the austerity era, Asif Kapadia’s striking VR animation LAIKA, immersive audio walk ONLY EXPANSION as well as access to THE EXPANSE, the Festival’s free digital platform where you can explore interactive artworks, 360-degree films and network with other festival visitors.
PROGRAMME OF FREE EVENTS:
(BFI London Film Festival runs 6 – 17th October)
Friday 8 October
Va Va Voom: The French TV Boom: The Library, Cine Lumiere, 17.00
French TV is going through an incredibly exciting moment, with the unprecedented international success of shows like Lupin and Call My Agent!. A panel, including THE ROPE series creators Eric Forestier and Dominique Rocher, explore some of the cultural and industrial reasons behind the boom in French TV content, including the rise of the streaming platforms, the increased tolerance of international audiences for subtitled content and the breakdown of the traditional cultural hierarchy between film and TV. We identify what French shows work internationally and whether their popularity is reflected domestically, as well as explore the challenges and opportunities this content boom provides to writers and directors. We’ll also unpack French cultural attitudes towards television as an art-form and what room there is, if any, for the notion of the ‘auteur’ in this collaborative medium.
Saturday 9th October
Protest & Revolution: The Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 12:30
MOTHERS OF THE REVOLUTION (LFF 2021) tells the story of a group of women who opposed the siting of cruise missiles in the UK and set up the Greenham women’s peace camp, the biggest female-led protest since women’s suffrage. Forty years on, young activists who are standing up to fight for the issues of their time – climate, race and inequality of all kinds – join us for a conversation with some of the women who took part in the peace camp to discuss their experience of Greenham Common, connecting the #MeToo generation with the women who paved their way.
Film4 and Fruit Tree Media present: Foresight: Studio, BFI Southbank, 13.00 (replay on Sunday 10thOctober, 13.00)
Foresight is a compilation of short films, set in the UK, which imagine the future for Black and Brown characters. They are written, directed and produced by culturally diverse filmmakers who call the UK home. Foresight is an urgent anthology that explores alternate realities through the lens of five Black British directors. This time capsule collection contributes to a perspective and point of view continually missing from our screens – a future where people of colour exist! Suitable for persons aged 15+.
Spotlight: Fiona Lamptey: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 14.30
Fiona Lamptey, Founder of Fruit Tree Media and Director of UK Features for Netflix joins us to discuss her career and her passion for nurturing new talent, and how she wants to redefine what a British film looks and feels like.
After working for Film4 as a production manager on productions that include Attack The Block, The Selfish Giant and Four Lions, Fiona established Fruit Tree Media in 2013, with the aim of cultivating and championing unrepresented voices, and to use her industry experience to develop new talent.
In her role as Director of UK Features at Netflix, Fiona oversees the content team managing the development and production of UK original films, including identifying books, theatre and other IP to develop into features. As well as producing the Film4 mini sci-fi series Foresight (screening as part of LFF For Free) Fiona also produced debbie tucker green’s ear for eye (in LFF 2021 Debate strand).
Pitchblack Playback: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico: Studio, BFI Southbank, 15.00 00 (replay on Sunday 10th October, 15.00)
The concept of Pitchblack Playback is simple: Listening sessions where people can come and hear classic and upcoming albums ahead of release on a big cinema sound system, in the dark. It’s all about cutting yourself off from distractions and giving albums the time and space, they deserve.
Celebrating the LFF 2021 screening of Todd Haynes’ documentary THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, this immersive audio session will take you back to 1967 and the ground-breaking sounds of the legendary band’s eponymous debut album. It’s a record that spawned thousands of bands for years to come and which famously received patronage from Andy Warhol. This session will transport you into those heady counter-cultural times, the trippy atmosphere of Warhol’s Factory and the gritty streets of New York.
London Calling: Speaking Your Truth: Studio, BFI Southbank, 11.00 (replay on Saturday 16th October, 11.00 and Sunday 17th October, 15.00)
A selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, weaving bold cinematic narratives in surprising, sometimes playful, but above all honest ways. Funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.
NETWORK@LFF Shorts Programme 1: Studio, BFI Southbank, 17.00 (replay on Saturday 16thOctober, 17.00)
NETWORK@LFF is the festival’s flagship talent development programme, based at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival and delivered by BFI NETWORK. Now in its seventh year, the Festival has selected 12 of the boldest and brightest emerging filmmakers to join them for an intensive programme of masterclasses, screenings and one-to-ones with industry professionals. This cohort of writers, directors and producers show a distinct voice in their work as they push the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from British film. Join to see a selection of shorts by this year’s selected filmmakers.
Sunday 10th October
London Calling: Hopes and Visions: Studio, BFI Southbank, 11.00 (replay on Saturday 16 October, 13.00 and Sunday 17 October, 11.00)
A selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, weaving bold cinematic narratives in surprising, sometimes playful, but above all honest ways. Funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.
NETWORK@LFF Shorts Programme 2: Studio, BFI Southbank, 17.00 (replay on Saturday 16 October, 15.00)
NETWORK@LFF is the festival’s flagship talent development programme, based at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival and delivered by BFI NETWORK. Now in its seventh year, they’ve selected 12 of the boldest and brightest emerging filmmakers to join them for an intensive programme of masterclasses, screenings and one-to-ones with industry professionals. This cohort of writers, directors and producers show a distinct voice in their work as they push the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from British film. Join to see a selection of shorts by this year’s selected filmmakers.
The Friends of Jeremy Thomas: NFT 2, BFI Southbank, 14.30
Jeremy Thomas has produced some of the world’s finest independent films, from The Last Emperor, Sexy Beast and Crash to The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, Bad Timing and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, to name but a few. In THE STORMS OF JEREMY THOMAS (available on BFI Player over the course of the Festival), director Mark Cousins will take a road trip with the Oscar-winning producer on his annual pilgrimage to the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a journey both physical and philosophical as Cousins explores the authorial perspective that has emerged across Thomas’ 60 feature films – as a provocateur and as seeker and celebrator of radical artists and thinkers. In this companion free talk, the BFI are delighted to welcome Mark to the BFI Southbank to lead a conversation with Jeremy and friends, to celebrate an extraordinary career unlike any other in British cinema.
Fiver Flicks: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 14.00
From ’90s kids playing with handycams to smartphone films becoming unexpected festival hits, no-budget filmmaking has created some serious precedents. But filmmaking is still rife with hidden costs and if you’re a one-person-band, pulling together a production can be a challenge. Fiver Flicks brings together three of the UK’s most exciting young filmmakers and challenges them to make a short for just £5. We will dig into their processes, chat about smartphone shooting and glean a bunch of practical tips: from ‘how do you mimic a dolly shot on an iPhone?’ to ‘seriously, can you DIY a soft box with a bedsheet?’ Whether you’re looking to make the next low-budget knockout or just want some insights fresh from the field, Fiver Flicks will offer some serious filmmaking inspiration – trust fund not required.
For The Fans: Memes, Zines, Edits and Fanfic: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 11.00
Who hasn’t watched a fancam before? Or read a fanfic story that finally sees those two characters end up together? Fan content contains some of the most popular ways of engaging with films and TV shows, but all too often it can seem like a ‘guilty pleasure’. Should it be? Or should we, and the film industry, embrace fan content and support the voices behind it? For the Fans is a panel discussion that celebrates this content and its creators. The Festival will be screening new works, and getting into what fan content is and why it should be taken seriously. We’ll also give you the chance to produce your own work of fan content with a fanzine-making workshop, so you can finally put those photos of your favourite characters to good use. The event takes the format of a one-hour fanzine-making workshop, led by experienced workshop facilitator Ioana Simion of Artizine UK. It will be followed by a screening of the three new works made by the creators and a panel discussion of all things fan content, beginning at 12.00pm.
BFI Film Classics: The Makings Of A Classic: The BFI Reuben Library, BFI Southbank, 13.00
The BFI Film Classics book series introduces, interprets and celebrates landmarks of world cinema. Each volume offers an argument for the film’s ‘classic’ status. But how do we decide what makes a film a classic? And who gets to decide which films are included in the canon? Join film publishers, critics and historians Rebecca Barden (BFI Publishing at Bloomsbury), Rebecca Harrison (Open University), Manishita Dass (Royal Holloway University of London) and Alex Dudok de Wit (Deputy Editor, Cartoon Brew) in a lively debate about film classics and how to rethink the canon. If we want to tell new stories about filmmaking and film cultures beyond the white western canon, where do we start?
Tuesday 12th October
Dark Matter – Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century: NFT3, BFI Southbank, 11.00
Who and what decides whether a film gets funded? How do those who control the purse strings also determine a film’s content and even its message? Michael Winterbottom is joined by Asif Kapadia and Mike Leigh to discuss the themes of his new book ‘Dark Matter: Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century’. The award-winning directors will discuss how studios that fund film production and control distribution networks also work against a sustainable independent film culture and limit innovation in style and content. They will share their vision of how the contemporary filmmaking landscape could be reformed, with fairer funding and payment practices, allowing for a more innovative and sustainable 21st-century industry
Thursday 14th October
LFF Expanded: Augmented Reality Art For Social Change: 26 Leake Street, 18.00
UP:RISE is an Augmented Reality public artwork from artist Baff Akoto that explores the pathology, history and underlying drivers of English civil unrest in the digital age. Marking 10 years since the ‘UK Riots’ of summer 2011 announced the arrival of 21st Century Britain, UP:RISE delves into the evolution of technology that has helped to shape the country and how society has since evolved along the same fault lines that resulted in the events of that summer. UP:RISE embeds archive of the riots into an Augmented Reality sculpture. The sound design includes testimonies from those arrested and convicted for offences that summer as they reflect on their country, their lives then and in the decade since. In this panel the LFF Expanded alumni (Virtual (Black) Reality, 2020) Baff Akoto discusses the possibilities and challenges of this emerging technology for public engagement with leading experts in the field.
Saturday 16th October
Chaplin Walks: Kennington Tube Station, 11.00 & 14.00
Catch Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s innovative and illuminating documentary THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN at LFF screenings and then join for a guided walk through the comedy genius’ world.
Charlie Chaplin was born in Kennington, London in 1889 and spent the first 21 years of his life there. One of the poorest areas of the city, his early existence was tough. As a teenager he joined a performing group and his star on the London stage grew rapidly. During a tour of the US he was spotted by a scout for Sennett Studios, who signed him up and, well, the rest is history! Arguably the first truly global star, he featured in countless shorts, became a celebrated filmmaker and was defined by his Little Tramp on-screen persona. The walk starts from Kennington Tube Station and will take in some of the houses he lived in, the workhouse he spent time in as a child and the even place where he developed his famous comedy walk.
Sunday 17th October
Pitchblack Playback: Skepta – Konnichiwa: Studio, BFI Southbank, 13.00
In celebration of the LFF screening of 8 BAR – THE STORY OF GRIME, this immersive audio session revisits the key recording of Grime 2.0, where Skepta bent the world to his will and showed that compromises were not required for grime MCs to achieve global commercial success. It’s a landmark album that perfectly blends the roots and evolution of grime in one punchy recording.
Afro-Futures: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 13.00
Through its various evolutions, Afrofuturism has always been a collaboration of Black history; combining the trauma, successes and culture to provide stories that move us beyond the past and into the future. Afro-Futures embodies this spirit, bringing together four Black emerging artists to create a collaborative film. A visual artist, sound artist, writer and editor come together to create a short Afrofuturist film, layered with their singular talents. Join us as we screen this short film and then host a panel discussion with its creators. Chaired by BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Ramatoulie Bobb the artists will talk through their process, and talk all things sci-fi and fantasy.
Community Camera: Filmmaking Collectives: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 11.00
It’s never been more important to make sure that everyone can see themselves on screen and that they can tell their own story. Across the country, communities that haven’t been given enough of a voice in the film industry are finding ways to make their own work and get it seen. Community Camera is a panel discussion exploring how those who are marginalised can come together to tell their stories. Is working collectively going to give us a louder voice? How can filmmakers stay in touch with the community around them? What are some of the challenges of trying to make films with a social purpose? And is it ever going to be possible to represent everyone in your community with complete accuracy onscreen?
This event will also look at what it’s like to make films as a collective, from finding members to staying on the same page. How can working collaboratively make our films stronger and more exciting, and how can we manage differences of opinion? Whether you work collectively or not, collaboration is a key skill on any film set and we’ll explore the best ways to work with other creatives on a project.
The three collectives represented in this event are Amber Film and Photography Collective, Black Audio Film Collective and T A P E Collective. Amber is dedicated to capturing working-class voices from the North-East of England from their base in Newcastle. Black Audio Film Collective was founded in 1982 and was active until 1998, with their work pushing the boundaries of documentary film in experimental directions to capture the state of race relations in Britain. T A P E was founded in 2015 and has highlighted and supported work by filmmakers from under-served backgrounds since.
TICKET AND BOOKING INFORMATION: LFF For Free
These events are FREE and open to all (subject to age ratings for different events).
Dark Matter – Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century, The Friends of Jeremy Thomas, Va Va Voom: The French TV Boom, Chaplin Walk, Augmented Reality Art For Social Change, Future Rites, and Museum of Austerity are all pre-bookable. For how to book please see individual event listings on the website.
Places for all other events can be reserved at the LFF For Free desk in the BFI Southbank foyer from 10am on the day of the event. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. If you have reserved a place, you must arrive at least 15 minutes before the event start time or your place may be reallocated.
Best Film Award at the 66th BFI London Film Festival
The contenders for the Best Film Award at the 66th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express have been announced. The eight nominated films celebrate passionate and inspired global filmmaking. This year’s Official Competition selection is presented in association with Sight and Sound.
Established in 2009 and first won by Jacques Audiard for A Prophet, recent winners of the Best Film Award include Sudabeh Mortezai’s Joy, Alejandro Landes’ Monos and, in 2021, Panah Panahi’s Hit the Road.
The judges will be mulling over the course of the Festival, and all will be revealed at the LFF Awards Ceremony on Sun 16 Oct on BFI YouTube and Facebook.
Dir-Scr. Santiago Mitre
Ricardo Darín stars in this uncompromising political drama, thrillingly recreating one of Argentina’s most legendary trials, which sought to bring the country’s military dictatorship to justice.
Dir-Scr. Clement Virgo
Clement Virgo’s film is a bold and breathtaking story of brotherly love, set over three separate time periods, in Toronto’s West Indian community.
Dir-Scr. Marie Kreutzer
Sissi the Empress gets an irreverent make-over in Austrian director Marie Kreutzer’s exhilarating period drama.
Les Damnés ne pleurent pas
Dir-Scr. Fyzal Boulifa
Fyzal Boulifa follows his arresting debut Lynn + Lucy (LFF 2019) with another striking film about the perils of falling foul of community and social expectations.
Dir-Scr. Mark Jenkin
Bait director Mark Jenkin follows up his acclaimed debut with this chilling, endlessly mysterious folk horror tale, beautifully shot on grainy 16mm.
Dir-Scr. Hlynur Pálmason
With his third feature, Hlynur Pálmason (A White, White Day) delivers a breathtakingly inventive and ambitious historical epic, set in mid-19th-century Iceland.
Dir-Scr. Soudade Kaadan
Soudade Kaadan (The Day I Lost My Shadow, LFF 2018) turns to her Syrian roots for this wry, poignant look at a family forced from their home in Damascus.
Dir. Alice Diop
Alice Diop reinvents the courtroom drama in this concentrated, gripping study of a writer and the young African woman whose fate comes to fascinate her.
For more information about the film festival, please go to: www.bfi.org.uk/bfi-london-film-festival
BFI London Film Festival 2022 announces complete ‘LFF Expanded’ Immersive Art & Extended Realities line-up
20 Projects from 17 Countries, a new LFF Commission, 5 World Premieres and 8 UK Premieres presented across multiple venues on London’s South Bank
LONDON, Wednesday 24 August 2022, 11:00 GMT: The 66th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, today announces the complete line-up for LFF Expanded, the Festival’s Immersive Art and Extended Realities strand, which runs from 5-16 October 2022.
Programmed by Ulrich Schrauth, the BFI’s Immersive Art and XR Curator, this year’s programme showcases a rich selection of works from creators working at the forefront of emerging technologies, including interactive virtual reality, screen-based installations, augmented reality, mixed reality, immersive audio experience and live performance. The programme is presented in partnership with the National Theatre, and takes place across multiple venues on London’s South Bank; 17 projects will be showcased at LFF Expanded @ 26 Leake Street, the award-winning venue located in the Leake Street graffiti tunnel, while additional projects will be presented at the National Theatre and at BFI Southbank.
The BFI London Film Festival is delighted to announce the World Premiere, commissioned by the LFF, of Guy Maddin’s Haunted Hotel: A Melodrama in Augmented Reality. Presented at BFI Southbank, this evocative, immersive exhibition transports the audience into a surreal paper world, created from an eclectic selection of clippings drawn from Maddin’s own personal archive, set to an intricate soundscape by acclaimed composer Magnus Fiennes.
Ulrich Schrauth, BFI London Film Festival’s Immersive Art and XR Curator, said: “We are thrilled to present this year’s LFF Expanded programme, featuring projects by creators from all over the world and a strong presence of excellent UK talent. LFF Expanded highlights the enormous diversity and vibrancy of the ever-growing international immersive and expanded realities scene, from high-profile international filmmakers who are experimenting with new technologies, to new works from some of the most exciting emerging talent in the field. This year’s programme considers pertinent issues of our time from a hugely diverse range of perspectives and art forms. Furthermore, we are delighted to have worked with legendary filmmaker Guy Maddin to present our first very own BFI London Film Festival commission — Haunted Hotel — a new Augmented Reality work that invites audiences to explore a vibrant tableau of desire, deception and death.”
Guy Maddin, Filmmaker, said: “I’ve long told myself that collage-making is good for keeping my eye sharp for film shoots. After all, the snipper and gluer of papery things arranges those things in a frame, just like a director — pure mise-en-scène! But making collages in Augmented Reality truly is a brain-breaker, another experience completely, with its multiple layers of interest aspiring to draw the viewer ever inward, free-floating non-sequiturs that suggest causal connections and conceal vile secrets, the whole creating an atmosphere thick with uninhibited urges — lustful, homicidal, stupid! In short, collage-making in AR simply is filmmaking, and I’m so delighted to have worked with the BFI London Film Festival to bring this new work to life.”
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, said: “We’re electrified by the quality of the work being made for immersive and expanded reality platforms. This is a space where the film industry meets the creative storytelling worlds of art, dance, music, performance and digital design, a space that encourages experimentation, cross-pollination and collaboration. There is a particularly lively and vibrant scene for immersive art in the UK, and we are really excited to give audiences a chance to follow artists and filmmakers on these journeys.”
This year marks the third year of LFF Expanded at the BFI London Film Festival. Launched in 2020 as part of the Festival’s plans for development, this new showcase of Immersive and XR works sits alongside the 66 year-old Festival’s established film programme. It is also joined by a curated selection of new series and television, a refreshed industry programme and greater UK-wide and free access for audiences.
LFF Expanded 2022 brings together 20 projects from 17 countries across the world (Canada, China, Czechia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine and USA). 12 works are from the UK (including co-productions), and 13 projects have lead artists that identify as women or with mixed gender production teams. This year’s programme also shines a light on some of the most urgent social and political issues of our time, with works exploring vital topics such as women’s reproductive rights, the climate emergency, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the nuclear threat and the opioid crisis.
The BFI is also proud to have supported two of the projects presented at LFF Expanded through the BFI Film Fund (awarding National Lottery funding), in line with the BFI’s ongoing commitment and ambition to engage with new forms of immersive storytelling. Presented in the Wolfson Gallery at the National Theatre, In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats is a multi-sensory, interactive virtual reality experience by award-winning filmmaker Darren Emerson, which places audiences inside the heart of the Acid House movement. On the Morning You Wake (to the End of the World) is a powerful virtual reality documentary that combines innovative storytelling and virtual production techniques to recreate the lived experiences of the people of Hawai’i, who were forced to make impossible decisions in the face of impending nuclear violence.
Also presented at the National Theatre is the World Premiere of the fully immersive version of Intravene, a project that is the result of a groundbreaking partnership between Darkfield, Brenda Longfellow and Crackdown — immersive and documentary artists and those working on the frontline of the drugs crisis. Set inside a shipping container on Theatre Square in front of the National Theatre, Intravene uses binaural 360 degree sound to plunge listeners into the heart of the overdose crisis in Vancouver, giving voice to the people most affected by it: users and frontline workers.
A dedicated Immersive Art and XR Award will also be announced at a special virtual LFF Awards Ceremony event on Sunday 16 October on BFI YouTube and on social media. A selection of works will be featured on the Oculus TV app as part of a LFF Expanded spotlight, available for users with Oculus headsets at home to watch for free from 5-23 October.
Guy Maddin’s Haunted Hotel will also remain at BFI Southbank until 30 October 2022, accompanied by special screenings of three of his best-loved works in late October.
LFF EXPANDED 2022 IMMERSIVE ART AND XR PROGRAM:
ALL UNSAVED PROGRESS WILL BE LOST – UK PREMIERE
2022, France, Lead artist: Mélanie Courtinat
Acclaimed French visual artist Mélanie Courtinat’s striking work deals with the terrifying events that have led to the evacuation of a whole town in an undisclosed country. The narrator — virtually present through the narration of her poem within the experience — tells her own story of loss and abandonment, set against the backdrop of a gradually changing landscape whose abstract visual references keep the territory anonymous. An urgent and unidentified threat permeates the experience, allowing the viewer to meditate on and project their own fears through the work.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 10 minutes
APPARATUS LUDENS – WORLD PREMIERE
2022, UK-Sweden, Lead Artist: Untold Garden
This groundbreaking digital adventure from Max Čelar and Jakob Skote, the team behind Untold Garden, invites visitors to enter into a conversation with an artificial intelligence. By harvesting the vast amount of data we leave online, the anonymous interlocutor gradually unfolds a virtual landscape on the screen before us. By asking seemingly random questions, the project uses the latest technical developments (such as text-to-image creation and text-to-voice generation) to craft a unique and lyrical personal narrative. Čelar and Skote’s work raises questions about who owns individual virtual footprints and how we want to be perceived by an ever-changing labyrinth of personal data.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 15 minutes
A MIGHTY MASS EMERGES – UK PREMIERE
2022, Switzerland-France-Italy, Lead Artist: Wu Tsang
Following on from her acclaimed Moby Dick series, filmmaker and artist Wu Tsang delivers her first VR work, journeying into the depths of our oceans. As part of Venice Biennale 2022, Tsang presented the generative digital art installation Of Whales, which engages with the themes and narrative of Herman Melville’s seafaring classic. Her follow-up work, the artist’s first VR experience, invites audiences to observe the vast wonders of the marine world, all from the perspective of a whale. Becoming part of an environment, rather than a detached outsider, A Mighty Mass Emerges asks us to engage in new ways with an expanse that makes up the majority of our planet’s surface.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 13 minutes
AS MINE EXACTLY
2022, UK, Lead Artist: Charlie Shackleton
In this Virtual Reality live performance, Charlie Shackleton (Beyond Clueless, The Afterlight) takes audiences on a journey into his late childhood and the upsetting events that defined it. Blending Virtual Reality and performance film, documentary filmmaker Charlie Shackleton literally invents a new film genre in the way he shares this deeply personal story with one visitor at a time. He uses fragments of original footage and pictures from his youth to revisit events that shaped his young teenage life — centering on the medical condition of his mother — streaming them live into a VR Headset to immerse the viewer fully into the story. Shackleton narrates the story live, even ‘conversing’ with his mother, who is present as a voice through a speaker in the room. The result is a thrilling creative journey that exists between conventional filmmaking and virtual live performance.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 30 minutes
THE CHOICE – UK PREMIERE
2021, Canada-Poland, Lead Artist: Joanne Popinska
A powerful and provocative VR documentary, focusing on questionable decisions and lawmaking around reproductive rights and abortion in the US, based on a true story. The ongoing debate surrounding the controversial response to Roe vs Wade by the US Supreme Court earlier this year reveals a country deeply divided over the abortion debate. In this extraordinary VR-documentary, Kristen, a young First Nation woman from Texas, discusses her pregnancy and the painful process she underwent due to provocative legislation, the severe danger to her health notwithstanding. The Choice intelligently employs documentary techniques with cutting-edge digital animation to convey Kristen’s troubling story and to engage with the wider debate regarding women’s rights.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 25 minutes
BLACK MOVEMENT LIBRARY – MOVEMENT PORTRAITS – INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE
2022, USA, Lead Artist: LaJuné McMillian
The Black Movement Library is a repository for activists, performers and artists to create diverse XR projects, as well as a space to research how and why we move, and an archive of Black existence. What happens when we ritualise the archival process of data collection and invite the community as a witness? This is the question LaJuné McMillan, a young Black creator from New York, has explored in her first fully developed XR project. She embedded interviews with five performers into immersive environments that feature richly textured soundscapes, through which the artists move in their own style. It enables audience to explore the artists’ respective practices and to see how Black movement has been used as a tool for the preservation of Black culture, as well as a vehicle of self-development.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 22 minutes
DIGITAL MOTIONS – UK PREMIERE
2022, Germany, Lead Artists: Helge Letonja, Marcel Karnapke, Björn Lengers, Anke Euler
German artist collective Cyberräuber invites audiences to shape and transform a virtual space through dance and movement. This collaboration between German artist collective Cyberräuber and the visionary dance ensemble Of Curios Nature has led to an exciting interrogation of the connection between the body, virtual space and interactive design. Digital Motions invites the audience to playfully interact with the virtual dancers — perceived as avatars — and their movement across various scenes. Each visitor creates his or her own experience in virtual reality, defining the boundaries between viewer and dancing avatar. The VR world, with its potentially unlimited technology, enables the formation of new perspectives on space, body and movement, and conveys to audiences how dancers and performers perceive them.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 8-25 mins
FRAMERATE: PULSE OF EARTH – UK PREMIERE
2022, UK, Lead Artists: Matthew Shaw, William Trossell, ScanLAB Projects
London-based studio ScanLab’s poetic screen-based installation, derived from thousands of 3D-Scans of British landscapes, reveals a country in flux. ScanLab projects (Adult Children and Eternal Return, LFF 2021) have built their reputation through digitally replicating our world — real-life objects, landscapes and events seen through the perspective of 3D-scanning. Framerate: Pulse of Earth invites audiences to bear witness to a changing environment caused by the friction between human-centred industry and the immense forces of nature. Destruction, extraction, habitation, construction, harvests, growth and erosion are presented as a shared immersive experience. Created from thousands of daily 3D time-lapse scans of British landscapes, the work observes change on a scale impossible to see with traditional filmmaking techniques. Stories are brought to life across a series of screens, accompanied by the captivating sound design of Pascal Wyse.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 24 minutes
HAUNTED HOTEL – A MELODRAMA IN AUGMENTED REALITY – WORLD PREMIERE
2022, Germany, Lead Artist: Guy Maddin
A hauntingly immersive exhibition by acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin that ruminates on the manifold permutations of desire, deception and death. Unravelling across eight three-dimensional collages and true to his avant-garde style, Guy Maddin delicately enfolds his audience in surreal paper worlds and in the process exploring the hidden layers that comprise human nature. Embracing an eclectic selection of clippings from his personal archive, the director of My Winnipeg and The Saddest Music in the World includes familiar pop-culture figures alongside ecstatic 1960s nudists and frightened film noir characters. Find out what’s stirring behind closed doors via virtual peep holes and leaf through rooms filled with longing, hysteria and madness, all set to an intricate soundscape by acclaimed composer Magnus Fiennes.
Presentation Location: BFI Southbank / Duration: 20 minutes
THE INFINITE LIBRARY – UK PREMIERE
2022, India-Germany-Czech Republic, Lead Artist: Mika Johnson
Commissioned by the Goethe Institute, The Infinite Library is a traveling installation that imagines the future of libraries as interactive spaces, engaging visitors through multi-sensory forms of storytelling. It seeks to embed human stories within a grander narrative, one that includes the birth of our planet and the evolution of all life forms. The ‘Library’ element of the installation is conceived as a living organism — an embodiment of knowledge that introduces itself to visitors personally, before inviting them to explore its environs and wealth of information. The installation includes a QR code game, holograms, 3D-printed models in jars and the overall project’s central work: a vast VR library located in a cave.
Presentation Location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 25 minutes
IN PURSUIT OF REPETITIVE BEATS
2022, UK, Lead Artist: Darren Emerson
Award-winning filmmaker Darren Emerson’s project invites audiences to search for an illegal rave, over one night in Coventry in 1989. From poster-strewn bedrooms and pirate-radio stations to a police headquarters and empty warehouse events, you take the place of rave-culture pioneers as you go in search of a party. Combining Acid House tracks with interactivity and multi-sensory simulation, In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats brings to life the stories of the ravers, promoters and police officers, whose rivalries and relationships drove a revolution in music and society. The development of this project was supported by the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio.
Jointly presented by BFI London Film Festival and IDFA DocLab. The work will be showcased from 5-16 October in London and then presented in Amsterdam until 20 November.
Presentation location: The Wolfson Gallery, the National Theatre / Duration: 35 minutes
INTRAVENE – WORLD PREMIERE
2022, UK-Canada, Lead Artists: Darkfield, Crackdown, Brenda Longfellow
Sound artist collective Darkfield return to the LFF with an immersive audio experience that grapples with the overdose crisis in Vancouver. Intravene uses binaural 360-degree sound to plunge listeners into the heart of an urgent issue. This project is the result of a groundbreaking partnership between Darkfield, Brenda Longfellow and Crackdown – immersive and documentary artists and those working on the frontline of the drugs crisis. The voices within Intravene are taken from interviews by Crackdown, amplifying the testimonies of drug users, telling the story of the Vancouver drug crisis from the perspective of those most severely impacted by it. After its audio-only premiere at Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, Darkfield presents the World Premiere of the fully immersive version.
Presentation location: Theatre Square, National Theatre / Duration: 30 minutes
THE LAST TIME I SAW SNOW
2022, UK, Lead Artists: Isobel Mascarenhas-Whitman, Alex Tennyson
In this mixed reality installation, digital projections and augmented reality join forces to convey a powerful story of human destruction and global climate change. Employing AI, augmented reality, projection mapping and a bespoke software system that trigger practical effects within a given space, The Last Time I Saw Snow allows the audience to become explorers, wandering a depopulated future. This mind-bending installation by London-based artists Isobel Mascarenhas-Whitman and Alex Tennyson creates a dystopian future, where destabilized climate conditions have led to uncontrollable sea levels, driving humanity to the fringes of an ecosystem they had previously sought to control. This cutting-edge digital installation plays with our perception of the world and invites us to revisit our thoughts and beliefs about our immediate future.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 15 minutes
LINE OF CONTACT – WORLD PREMIERE
2022, Netherlands-UK-Ukraine, Lead Artist: Dani Ploeger
Visual artist Dani Ploeger takes us virtually to the frontline of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict to highlight our alarmingly vague perception of war and armed confrontations. Over the last eight years, the work of Dutch artist and activist Dani Ploeger has been pre-occupied with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the early days of fighting, he travelled to Mariupol, accompanying a group of Ukrainian soldiers and recording the seemingly endless waiting they had to endure. This footage has now been transformed into a powerful VR experience, presented on a custom-made headset. The device tracks the visitors’ eye movement, triggering an accompanying soundscape, resulting in a thought-provoking confrontation with the perfidious methodology of war.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: Continuous loop
2022, UK, Lead Artists: Lucy Hammond, Hannah Davies, Asma Elbadawi, Carmen Marcus
An insightful exploration of three very different personal stories from women living in the north, filmmaker and producer Lucy Hammond embellishes upon them through footage shot in the region. Central to it are three monoliths – standing stones, whose symbolic power becomes increasingly important as the women talk. Moreover, the narratives and the landscapes – where the women grew up – become inseparable as Hammond’s work progresses. The artist produces images of striking beauty, which only adds to the emotional power of the piece – a rumination on how landscapes can be radical spaces for expression and reflection.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 11 minutes
MISSING PICTURES EP. 3: CATHERINE HARDWICKE: THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG – UK PREMIERE
2022, France-UK-Taiwan-Luxembourg-South Korea, Lead Artists: Clément Deneux
This is the third of five VR documentaries, directed by Clement Deneux, focusing on an acclaimed and singular filmmaker and the project that got away from them. Following on from the presentation of episode one, featuring Abel Ferrara, at LFF 2020, and episode two, with Tsai Ming-Liang, at LFF 2021, this latest episode focuses on Catherine Hardwicke, director of Thirteen and Twilight. Following the success of Twilight in 2008, the filmmaker attempted to adapt Edward Abbey’s cult 1970’s environmental activist thriller The Monkey Wrench Gang. In this immersive film, Hardwicke revisits this personal project, which studios were eventually too reluctant to support. In her discussion, she highlights the challenge women have faced as filmmakers in Hollywood and the challenges that still lie ahead, while outlining what her dream film would have looked like.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 11 minutes
ON THE MORNING YOU WAKE (TO THE END OF THE WORLD)
2022, UK-France-USA, Lead Artists: Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Arnaud Colinart, Pierre Zandrowicz
Based on a true story, this immersive documentary details how the occupants of Hawai’i faced the devastating reality of an imminent nuclear attack. This powerful, award-winning VR experience, produced by Archers Mark (Mike Brett and Steve Jamison), combines unsettling witness testimonials and texts by world-renown Hawaiian poet Jamaica H. Osorio to explore the shadow of the nuclear threat and terrors of war in an increasingly instable political world.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 38 minutes
PAN + TILT – WORLD PREMIERE
2022, UK, Lead Artists Ruth Gibson, Bruno Martelli
Choreographer Ruth Gibson and VR artist Bruno Martelli have joined forces with composer Nic Nell to invent a holographic universe, inspired by the extraordinary legacy of Joan Skinner (1924-2021), an American choreographer, teacher and former dancer with the Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham companies. In this exciting world-premiere, Gibson/Martelli (Dazzle: Solo, LFF 2020) create an experience for two visitors at a time, placing them into a visual landscape that triggers imagination and exploration through motion, by means of Motion Capture technique and Machine Learning processes. The experience is unique to each participant, as panoramic gaze transforms into somatic sensation.
Presentation Location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 25 minutes
PLANET CITY – UK PREMIERE
2022, USA-China, Lead Artists: Liam Young, Kayvan Boudai, Eilliot Ordower, James Clar
A VR experience set in an imaginary city of 10 billion people, encompassing the entire population of the planet, where every culture co-exists in peace. Architect and filmmaker Liam Young has stirred international conversations with his recent book Planet City. It imagines a vast metropolis hosting the world’s population, allowing the rest of the planet to grow wild and untethered to mankind’s meddling. Young’s multi-disciplinary project plays out here as an immersive VR experience. By confronting the environmental crisis facing us, Young conveys a story of a generation taking back a future that has been stolen from them and presents a hopeful vision of it. Supported by The Barbican Centre, London.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 7 minutes
WALZER – WORLD PREMIERE
2021, Netherlands, Lead Artists: Frieda Gustavs, Leo Erken
Composer and performance artist Frieda Gustavs collaborates with visual artist and photography collector Leo Erken on this thought-provoking VR experience. A complex, three-dimensional virtual collage is created out of thousands of old photographs gleaned from private collections, online marketplaces and flea markets. It serves as a backdrop for non-linear narratives encompassing women’s rights and the first wave of feminism in Western Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As this collection was amassed, personal histories emerged that, in the resulting work, allow participants to create their own journeys, drawing on characters and events from this era. Opening in a thick fog, a sole balloon begins the journey, which features an original score by Gustavs – the waltz of the project’s title.
Presentation location: 26 Leake Street / Duration: 10 minutes
Full Line Up for inaugural The London Action Festival revealed
JULY 28 SPECIAL EVENT #1: LAUNCH EVENT WORLD’S BEST “DIE HARD” SCREENING EVER… (PROBABLY!) 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM – The Royal Geographical Society
A Die Hard Screening like no other! Including a Q&A with iconic director John McTiernan who promises to settle the great ‘Is Die Hard a Christmas Film?’ debate once and for all.
Also including Robert Davi – Everyone’s favourite tough guy and Agent “Big” Johnson in the movie – Appearing and singing live! Plus other surprises.
(Approx. 2 hours, 30 mins / BBFC Cert 15)
JULY 29 SPECIAL EVENT #2: OFFICIAL OPENING NIGHT EVENT
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM – Royal Geographical Society ONE NIGHT ONLY – NOT TO BE MISSED – LIVE CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS ACTION
The Friday Night Showdown on July 29, a live not to be missed, one night only celebration of action with incredible panellists including leading directors, music composer David Arnold (Casino Royale, Independence Day and Sherlock) will perform live, comedy, music, magic and even a game show. The event will also launch the Festival’s first ‘Moving Target’ Awards celebrating the careers of John McTiernan and Vic Armstrong (a leading figure in the world of stunt co-ordination and action direction). Patrick Savage’s McBain Quartet are going to be there too. It’s the night that has everything.
SCREENING: THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER
9:30 AM – 11:10 AM – Picturehouse Central
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Picturehouse Central
If you’ve dreamed of making high octane action movies on a low budget – find out just what that’s like from the experts in “Punch Above Your Weight – How To Make Your First Action Masterpiece” with special guests to be announced.
“The Car Chasers” is a look at key moments of action design in Film and TV from some of the best stunt performers who specialize in being both fast and furious when it comes to cars and bikes on screen. The panel will include stunt drivers and performers Steph Carey (No Time To Die, Morbius), Lloyd Bass (The King’s Man, F9: The Fast Saga) and Rick English (The Batman, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) who together have over 450 Film & TV credits between them.
A free to attendees bonus event from the London Action Festival presented in association with the British Stunt Register, the world’s leading and largest association of stunt professionals. Do you have what it takes? Come along and hear from the experts in one of the most exciting professions in the Entertainment industry.
“What’s The Score?” explores just how significant the work of the Composer and Music Supervisor is in bringing action to life and the techniques of scoring for Film & TV including Special Guest Steven Price – Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning composer (Gravity, Last Night In Soho, Baby Driver).
Saturday night offers the London Action Festival’s Great Action Quiz Night. How much do you really know about the movies and TV shows you love? Here’s the chance to test your knowledge against our Grand In-Quiz-itor Dick Fiddy (Author and TV consultant for the BFI and Guinness Book of World Records). With Martin Cox and Marshall Julius (Journalist, film critic and author of Vintage Geek and Masters of Make-Up Effects) and a host of prizes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on an extra-terrestrial hunter in the first classic installment of the ongoing franchise. The screening is followed by a Q & A with the director John McTiernan.
(107 mins / BBFC Cert 15 + Q&A)
SPECIAL EVENT: TBA
Write Club assembles some of the leading writers in the industry who lay the blueprint for any action movie or TV show in the form of the script.
With the support of UK production powerhouse MARV – we will be hosting exclusive footage from their new action movie SCHOOL FIGHT marking the debut of Damien Walters as Director. Damien has a long association with Director Matthew Vaughn as his Stunt Coordinator. With Cast members Greg Townley and Bobby Holland Hanton.
We take a look at the world of visual effects in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION with a masterclass from some of the leading experts in the field of Visualization and VFX including Pawl Fulker (Partner + Creative Director, Proof London Ltd. / Senior Visualization Supervisor), Dave Vickery (ILM, Visual effects Supervisor) and with the involvement of Director Colin Trevorrow.
“Con Air” a Special 25th Anniversary Screening of the classic action thriller film directed by Simon West and starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and John Malkovich. A must see for all Nicolas Cage’s aficionados and devotees of action cinema as its best. The screening is followed by a Q&A with director Simon West.
(115 mins / BBFC Cert 15 + Q&A)