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Philip Ilson, Artistic Director of the London Short Film Festival gives us the spiel on the 2016 highlights

[Image: Artistic Director, Philip Ilson, Programme Director, Jo Duncombe, and cat.]

 

Cat surprised by cucumber. Cat chews on cactus. Cat rides automatic hoover. Cats&Cats&Cats. The internet’s bloody full cats, but this January we at the London Short Film Festival are going to reclaim the cat video. We’ve commissioned three artist filmmakers – U.S. filmmaker Jennifer Reeder, Jeremy Dellar and Sigur Ros collaborator Nick Abrahams and veteran Irish artist filmmaker Vivienne Dick – to make three new cat films. The films will screen at a one-off cross-arts event called CATS&CATS&CATS at the beautiful Round Chapel in Lower Clapton, that will also see the brilliant Stealing Sheep live score experimental cat films by Stan Brakhage and Maya Deren, plus further classic work by Jayne Parker, Donald Richie and others. We may just sneak in some crafty cat videos too, courtesy of Vienna Independent Shorts.

The Festival continues on an animal theme, while looking back to past cinematic and experimental times via a project with experimental filmmaker Jessica Sarah Rinland, where we will present a programme of work by forgotten British nature documentarian Mary Field (1896 – 1968), who was a pioneer in how nature film was presented to the public and a big influence on David Attenborough’s work. We’ve commissioned Jessica to create a new film in response to Field’s which will screen in our special event programme NATURE MIXTAPE.

The Festival’s home since it’s inception in 2004 has been the ICA, but before our time there, the venue played host to a regular film club night curated and organised by Mark Webber, then with the band Pulp. Little Stabs at Happiness ran from 1997 to 2000, and was described as an evening of quiet music, experimental films and a disco. We revive the night with an exclusive 16mm screening of experimental shorts from LUX followed by the 1960 experimental docu-drama feature THE SAVAGE EYE exploring the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, also screening from 16mm film. We explore further 16mm work at our Analogue Basement event at the Ace Hotel Shoreditch, with films courtesy of David Leister and Analogue Precurring.

Elsewhere, Harmony Korine is a filmmaker who isn’t afraid to take chances; as someone who is loathed by many, but a cinematic icon for others, he perfectly fits the LSFF ethos. For this reason, we’ve decided to have a weekend focus on Korine, not only with his short films and music videos, but a close look at his 1997 masterpiece GUMMO. This debut film, made when he was just 24, is a stream of consciousness of short vignettes loosely themed around a smalltown in Ohio, but its ethos is one of originality and a “not giving a f*ck” attitude, which is also how we perceive the best short films to be. This independent ethos carries over into our retrospectives this year. We’re always looking for the next talented auteurs before they break through; in previous years we’ve held focusses on Andrea Arnold, Paul Wright and Carol Morley before their debut features. For 2016, we’re proud to be showcasing the short film work of Fyzal Boulifa, Taina Galas, Joern Utkilen, Jessica Sarah Rinland as well as Derek Jarman collaborator Richard Heslop and the late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. We’re also excited by London’s vibrant film curation scene, and we’re hosting guest programmes by Rich Pickings, MicroMacro Film, Short Sighted Cinema, and New Queer Visions.  

In keeping with our DIY attitude, it’s time to look back over the 20-years since my co-founding of the Halloween Society short film night, from whence the current LSFF grew. We’re taking a trip back both via an exhibition of flyers, photos and brochures from those heady 90s and early 00s days, when screening and events existed outside the confines of the film industry, as well as a showcase  of the no-budget short films made by myself and schoolfriend Tim Harding. Music is also important to LSFF so we’re excited for events looking at the Berlin underground scene of the 80s, outsider musicians David Thomas Broughton and Arvid Sletta, plus various live bands across the ten days.

This is not forgetting the nearly 400 short films selected from 2000 open submissions, across 45 new shorts programmes at our partner venues Hackney Picturehouse, and the ICA, along with a delectable industry programme in the Hackney Attic.

London Short Film Festival
8th - 17th January 2016
ICA, Hackney Picturehouse, Oval Space, Ace Hotel, Round Chapel
shortfilms.org.uk

 

LSFF2016 Festival Trailer from London Short Film Festival on Vimeo.

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