In Our Calendars: London Short Film Festival

This week’s all about planning out the New Year, everything from resolutions to things to look forward to once winter becomes less festive and more of a prelude to the rest of the year. Since January is notoriously slow on the entertainment front, this year’s LSFF event-packed programme presents itself as an unmissable treat. The festival returns for its 15th anniversary with ‘Pictures Snatched Out The Frame’, an edition that curates strands of groundbreaking experimental, documentary and fictional short films.

With fifteen editions under its belt and wrapping up one of the most politically charged years in its existence, this LSFF will be a meditation on the festival’s impact on British cinema and its legacy as promoter of uncompromising auteurs. Music, culture and politics will be taking over London cinemas from the 12th to the 21st of January in over 500 screenings over the span of 10 days. Here’s some of the dates we’ve already marked in our calendars:

We Dare to Fail, an examitation of the festival’s legacy through a strand that follows the evolution of LSFF alumni. Audiences will get to see the early festival entries of the likes of Francis Lee (God’s Own Country (2017) ), Hope Dickson-Leach ( The Levelling (2016) ) and Alice Lowe (Prevenge (2017)), alongside early-career cameos from Michael Fassbender and Danny Dyer, to name a few.

Dawn Shadforth’s music video back catalogue will be screened in an exclusive retrospective Spinning Around, uniting music videos of Bjork, Kylie Mingoue and the Sugababes in a celebration of pop music visuals throughout the ages, event to culminate in a Q&A with Dawn and special guests.

Long time LSFF collaborators New Queer Visions have curated two programmes: Don’t Look Back in Anger – a delicate study of queer characters on their own personal rollercoasters in a series that meditates on the nature of hate and overcoming it. This will be followed by Medium Rare, a selection of medium length shorts in tune with the overwhelming and ever-changing mind of an impressionable youth.

In partnership with MUBI, Radical Softness Through a Haptic Lens will be showing the works of Barbara Hammer, feminist filmmaker and pioneer of lesbian film, alongside the avant-garde documentaries of Chick Strand. Radical softness is a concept that transforms femininity and vulnerability through a soft and kinesthetic filmmaking style into true source of empowerment. The afternoon will include rare screenings of Superdyke and Soft Fictions and will culminate in a Skype Q&A with the legendary director.

Another showcase brought to you in association with MUBI, Cruelty and Crime brings together the key works of writer Chris Kraus. From feminist readings of Antonin Artaud to Cold War Sleeper agents, via dominatrices and New York City crime – the films announce themselves to be a treat in terms of humour, sexuality and a Dadaist sense of provocation and absurdity.

1962 police footage of men cruising in a public toilet gets reworked into a separate work through William E Jones’ Tearoom (2007). The experimental video art project explores the way into which surveillance serves oppression as the original footage had been used as evidence to prosecute men for public deviancy.

The primary inspiration behind Beyoncé’s monumental Lemonade, Daughters of The Dust (1991) is a dreamlike recreation of African-American history through the multigenerational tale of black women from the Gullah sea islands. Industry indifference had previously turned Julie Dash’s masterpiece into an overlooked gem which is only now, after Beyoncé’s reworking of the visuals, projected into its overdue masterpiece status.

The 15th London Short Film Festival runs from 12th to 21st January at various London locations. For more information on the competition, the full programme and how to buy tickets, visit their website.

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