The Best of The London BFI Flare Film Festival 2022
The London BFI Flare Film Festival wrapped up at the end of March and was a huge success, and attendees were very happy to attend in person after two years of watching it online; after all absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Besides the parties and talks, the other highlights included the following films:
Boulevard! A Hollywood Story
An incredible and unknown and untold story of two struggling songwriters (and couple) Richard Stapley and Dickson Hughes who were hired by Gloria Swanson’s to turn her iconic 1950’s film ‘Sunset Boulevard’ into a musical. While it sounded like a good idea at the time after the film garnered many awards and praise, it never came to frution (until many decades later) only because of Swanson fell in love with one of the men. Featuring rare archive footage of its subjects, alongside interviews with those who knew them, Director Jeffrey Schwarz expertly weaves the interviews with raw footage of Swanson and the men and charts the journey they’ve took, and how both men never really were as successful as they should’ve been. A must watch for fans of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ – truly fascinating.
A satire, or at least it should be, of a sexually repressed muscular macho Icelandic city cop Bússi (Audunn Blöndal) who, against his wishes, is asked to partner with another muscular macho cop Hördur, (Egill Einarsson) who is proudly out and pansexual/ They are tasked to investigate a series of heists, but they do more than just investigate the heists in this movie is too silly and over the top to be believed. Just sit back and enjoy the hilarity of it all.
Director Peter McDowell was just five years old when his brother Jimmy, a Vietnam veteran, died in Saigon at the age of 24. In the decades that followed Jimmy’s tragic passing, his name was rarely mentioned by his grief-stricken family, nor was his cause of death ever truly determined. Frustrated by the secrecy – and possible shame – of his parents and desperate to uncover the mysteries surrounding both Jimmy’s life and his death, Peter ventures on a quest for the truth in an effort to finally get to know the brother he barely remembers. Piecing together fragments of information from old photographs, letters and interviews with those closest to Jimmy, McDowell’s documentary is just beautiful and heartfelt.
A great Jack Lowden plays an WWI army deserter who is sent to a mental hospital to get treatment for an illness he doesn’t have. He’s gay, and falls into a series of affairs, some serious and some not. Actual scenes of WWI are interspersed throughout the film hitting home the hard facts that millions of soldiers died during the war. Based on the life of poet Siegfried Sassoon, directed by Terence Davies. Peter Capaldi plays the unhappy, bitter Sassoon late in his life who ended up marrying a woman and having a child together.
Talented swimmer Erez (Omer Perelman Striks) earns a spot on an Israeli training camp, and joins an all-male team exploding with good looks, lithe sexy and bodies and loads of testosterone. Erez subsequently forms a bon, and a crush, with handsome Nevo. But this sort of camaraderie is a no no and against the rules – the ethos of the training camp is every man for himself.
Director Adam Kalderon’s stylish tale is fraught with heady drama and smouldering sexual tension – until a silly and very camp ending brings the whole sexy and erotic film to a stunning halt.
An interesting documentary but not about what you think! Three men are profiled and discuss ritual of having to go to a barbershop to get their haircut.
It’s a highly masculine and intimidating environment, but even more so for people who are gay, queer, or non-conforming. Devan Shimoyama is an Afrofuturist painter who focuses on the barbershop as a social space, Jessie Anderson runs a queer barbershop in Vancouver, and Australian Richard Savvy gets his kit off as The Naked Barber. All three speak with warmth and candour about their attempts to make people look and feel good, and how the simple act of getting a cut is so much more than the sum of its parts.
This is Not Me
Iran is the only country in the region to recognise trans people (any other LGBQ+ identity is banned). Both Shervin and Samar offer a glimpse into what life is like for trans youth, who despite loving and supportive parents are forced to live covert lives, shy away from their neighbours and even consider emigration, in order to be who they truly are. One of the many heartrending scenes in this documentary features one of the boys, fully clothed on the beach and yearning to go swimming, while the other shouts at his parents, asking whether his father is also forced to wear a headscarf. This is Not Me is a detailed depiction of the legal and social labyrinth that promises a slim aperture of freedom.
The Law of Love
This compelling documentary follows a group of queer activists in the Czech Republic as they fight for same-sex marriage to be recognised in law. It starts off with a petition. If there are enough signatures in support of same-sex marriage, the Czech parliament will have to debate making it law.
This animated film/documentay tells about the struggles of Afghani Amin, who is about to marry a Danish man, while he struggles with the life he left behind back home – the struggles he endured growing up gay in a volatile and unaccepting society. The animation is amazing, and the story even more so. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. ‘Flee’ was deservedly nominated for three Academy Awards.
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)