SCI-FI-LONDON (The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film, SFL), is a United Kingdom-based film festival, dedicated to the science fiction and fantasy genres, which began in 2002.

Festival Poster 2011
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
AwardsThe Arthur C. Clarke Award / Best Short Film / Audience Award

About the festival

Designed to be a festival that “takes a serious look at sci-fi and fantasy, bringing new, classic and rare movies from around the world to the UK”, Sci-Fi-London annually screens world and UK Premieres, seminal cult classics, as well as documentaries, debates and talks.

Short films are also an important part of the festival programme, screening in front of every movie shown, as well as together in the Blink Of An Eye short film programme. Over its history Sci-Fi-London has also held a number of Short Film competitions, and in 2008 launched the Sci-Fi-London 48hr Film Challenge, in order to encourage filmmakers to create sci-fi short films over a very short period of time.

In 2006, the festival became the official home of The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the most prestigious award for science fiction literature in Britain, and recognised as one of the most prestigious science fiction awards in the world.

Since its inception, the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival has also been one of the few places in the United Kingdom to consistently screen "All-Nighters" — film marathons which run throughout the night. These have focused on anime, horror, Alien, and Matrix films as well as episodes of the cult American television series: Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Festival is reliant mostly on a large and varied team of Volunteers, who give up their time and expertise for free, in aid of the various aspects of the running of the Festival. These are mostly recruited in the months leading up to the Festival, through the Festival's website.

Festival dates and location

In its first four years (2002–2005), the Festival resided mainly at the Curzon Soho Cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue (Central London).

The Festival then resided primarily at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus on Lower Regent Street (also Central London), from its fifth year through to its eleventh (2006–2012).

At the same time, the festival also moved from screenings in late January/early February to a slot in late April/early May (usually the May Bank Holiday Weekend), running over a longer, 5-day period.

Since October 2012, the festival has moved to its current location, at the Stratford Picturehouse, running a full 7-day programme.

Since 2008, Sci-Fi-London has also held a second festival in October, called Oktoberfest. This normally takes the form of a shorter festival, held at venues including the Apollo Piccadilly Circus, the Stratford Picturehouse, the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Royal Society.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is awarded every year to the best science fiction novel which received its first British publication during the previous calendar year. The Award is chosen by Jury.

The Award was set up in 1986 and the first winner was announced in 1987. In 2006, Sci-Fi-London hosted the Awards ceremony for the first time.

Festival awards

As well as hosting the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Sci-Fi-London also chooses its own recipients for a Best Short Film Award, selected from the short films screened as part of the festival programme, and Best Feature Film.

Since 2003, there has also been an Audience Award for the Best Short Film screened, voted for by the festival audience.

Best Feature Film
2002 Avalon - Dir: Mamoru Oshii
2003 Ever Since the World Ended – Dirs: Calum Grant and Josh Litle
2004 Robot Stories – Dir: Greg Pak
2005 Primer – Dir: Shane Carruth
2006 Subject Two – Dir: Philip Chidel
2007-10 (Not Awarded)
2011 Pig – Dir: Henry Barrial
2016 Embers – Dir: Claire Carre
2017 Flora – Dir: Sasha Louis Vukovic
Best Short Film
2002 Inferno – Dir: Paul Kousoulides
2003 The Town of the One-Handed People – Dir: Heli Ellis
2004 Chaingangs – Dir: Scott Mann
2005 La Vie d’un Chien – Dir: John Harden
2006 X – Dir: Raphael Wahl
2007 The Angel - Dir: Paul Hough
2008 Ascension - Dir: Stephen Irwin
2009 Well Founded Concerns - Dir: Tim Cawley
2010 Mister Green - Dir: Greg Pak
2011 Brutal Relax - Dir: David Muñoz and Adrián Cardona
Audience Award for Best Short Film
2002 (Not Held)
2003 The Cat With Hands – Dir: Robert Morgan
2004 Annie & Boo – Dir: Johannes Weiland
2005 Netherbeast of Berm-Tech Industries – Dir: Dean Ronalds
2006 Plastic – Dir: Mark Davis
2007 Coming to Town - Dir: Carles Torrens
2008 Final Journey - Dir: Lars Zimmermann
2009 The Day the Robots Woke Up - Dir: Ed Hartwell
2010 Schizofredric - Dir: Andy Poyiadgi
2011 The Interview - Dir: Michelle Steffes

The Douglas Adams Memorial Debate

From 2002 to 2007, and in tribute to "a master storyteller and man of great vision and imagination", the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival hosted the annual Douglas Adams Memorial Debates. These consisted of a lively panel discussion, made up of critics, authors, experts and academics, debating questions raised where science fiction meets science fact.

Debate Topics
2002 Why is the book always better than the movie? Is it?
2003 Does science fiction predict the future?
2004 How much does sex drive technology?
2005 (Not Held)
2006 The battle for the future: who controls the future controls the present?
2007 From Star Wars to the Battle of Ideas, Is science fiction good for public debate?

48hr Film Challenge

With the aim of promoting Film-making, as well as Film-watching, in 2008 SCI-FI-LONDON launched its first 48 Hour Film Challenge.

Registered Teams are given a random Title, Prop/Action, and a line of Dialogue, and two days (a weekend) in which to produce a 3 to 5 minute Short Film.

In 2008, there were 137 registrants, 87 teams taking part, 70 films returned, and over 1,200 people involved. That year, the competition was won by a team featuring director Gareth Edwards, who used his entry as a stepping-stone to producing his first feature film: Monsters.

Winners are judged by Jury, which in the past has included directors John Landis, Marc Caro and Vincenzo Natali as judges. In 2011, the jury included directors Gareth Edwards and Edgar Wright, and features a development deal as its star prize.

48hr Film Challenge Winner
2008 Title: Factory Farmed - Team Name: Rebel Alliance
2009 Title: Tracker - Team Name: The Lost Souls
2010 Title: Abducted - Team Name: Shoot The Runner
2011 Title: The Intention of Miles - Team Name: Half Baked Films
2012 Title: Future.Inc - Team Name: Future Tense
2013 Title: Free Zone - Team Name: Lonely Light
2014 Title: The March - Team Name: Mission Media/Black Ant
2015 Title: Interlude - Team Name: Starcrust

Focus On

Since 2009, the film festival has dedicated part of its programme to the highlighting of different, and often under appreciated countries and their contribution to the genre. This has taken the form of screenings of current and classic films, shorts, talks and discussions.

Focus Countries
2009 Israel
2010 Poland
2011 Italy


The Sci-Fi-London Film Festival is one of the few locations in the United Kingdom to consistently screen All-Nighters – movie marathons, which run throughout the night (with the aid of ice-cream and caffeine drinks).

Past All-Nighter Line-ups
2002 AlienAlien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection
John CarpenterThey Live, The Thing, Escape from New York, Dark Star
Mixed BagAkira, Bad Taste, Jin Roh, Electric Dragon 80k Volts
2003 Anime 1Akira, Armitage: Dual Matrix, Patlabor 2, Macross Plus
Anime 2Spriggan, Perfect Blue, Wings of Honnaemise, Armitage: Dual Matrix
2004 AnimeNadesico: The Motion Picture, Ghost in the Shell, Kai Doh Maru, Voices from a Distant Star, Patlabor 1
Aliens ‘n’ PredatorsEvent Horizon, Pitch Black, The Thing, Resident Evil
Sushi Royale With CheeseFull Metal Yakuza, Goke – Bodysnatcher From Hell, Battle Heater, The Spiral
2005 Shaw BrothersThe Super Inframan, Oily Maniac, The Mighty Peking Man, The Monkey Goes West
AnimeParasite Dolls, Sky Blue, Lady Death, RahXephon: The Movie
MatrixThe Matrix, The Animatrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions
2006 MST3KThe Brain That Wouldn't Die, Prince of Space, Space Mutiny, Time Chasers
AnimeGhost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Karas: The Prophecy, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, The Place Promised in Our Early Days
Tears Before BedtimeInnocent Blood, Night Watch, Prince of Darkness, Cronos
2007 AnimeGhost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Paprika, Le Chevalier D'Eon, Highlander: Search for Vengeance, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa
MST3KOverdrawn at the Memory Bank, The Atomic Brain, Hobgoblins, Manos: The Hands of Fate, The Undead
Hammer HorrorStolen Face, X, The Unknown, Four-Sided Triangle, Spaceways
Dead SpaceAlien – Director's Cut, Pitch Black, Solaris (2002), The Thing
AnimeAppleseed Ex Machina, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Tekkon Kinkreet, Vexille
MST3KBattlefield Earth (RiffTrax), Merlin's Mystical Shop of Wonders, The Creeping Terror, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
AnimeDead Space: Downfall, Hellsing Ultimate IV, Strait Jacket, Sword of the Stranger, Bleach
ZombieColin, Chanbara Beauty, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, Tokyo Zombie
MST3KPlan 9 from Outer Space (RiffTrax), Pod People, Danger Diabolik, Puma Man, SWHS
MST3KHouse on Haunted Hill (Rifftrax), The Doomsday Machine (Cinematic Titanic), The Phantom Planet, Hamlet, Labyrinth (Live Improv.)
Star TrekStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
AnimeGhost in the Shell 2.0, Afro Samurai: Resurrection, Naruto The Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom, Panda! Go Panda!, Origin: Spirits from the Past
Italian HorrorThe Mask of Satan, Sleepless, Macabre, Black Sabbath
AnimeThe Sky Crawlers, Time of Eve, Evangelion 1.0, King of Thorn, Eureka Seven - Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers
AVPAlien, Aliens, Alien 3, Predator, Alien vs. Predator
MST3KSpace Mutiny, Teenagers from Outer Space
ComedySalute of the Jugger (Live Improv.), The Alien Factor (Cinematic Titanic), The Unearthly (MST3K), First Spaceship on Venus (MST3K)
Starcraft IIIndependence Day, Starship Troopers, The Abyss, Screamers
Manga (Anime)Redline, Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai, Bleach The Movie: The Diamond Dust Rebellion, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works
Japan AliveChanbara Striptease, Tokyo Gore School, Tajomaru, Kamui
AnimeEden of the East, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, The Cat Returns
MST3KThe Angel's Revenge, Mitchell, Prince of Space, Sidehakers, The Wild World of Batwoman
Del ToroPan's Labyrinth, Cronos, The Devil's Backbone, Mimic
Studio GhibliSpirited Away, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, The Cat Returns, Howl's Moving Castle
Royal WeddingBride of Frankenstein, Bride of the Monster, The Corpse Vanishes, I Married A Witch, Bride of the Gorilla
IMAX2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Outland, Brainstorm
FantascienzaBronx Warriors, Escape from the Bronx, The New Barbarians, The Beast in Space
MST3KSquirm, Robot Monster, Night of the Blood Beast, Invasion of the Neptune Men, The Projected Man
AnimeAkira, 2001 Nights: Fumihiko Sori's To, Eden of the East - Air Communication, Eden of the East - The Kind of Eden, Redline
AnimeBleach: Fade to Black, Freedom Project, Mardock Scramble: The First Compression, Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
MST3KBeginning of the End, The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy, The Dead Talk Back, The Killer Shrews, Rocketship X-M
Boris KarloffThe Invisible Ray, The Black Cat, Frankenstein, The Mask of Fu Manchu, Black Friday
Dutch Master: VerhoevenRoboCop, Total Recall, Hollow Man, Starship Troopers

Oktoberfest and other events

In late 2008, SCI-FI-LONDON hosted its very first Oktoberfest: a one-day festival featuring new films and all-nighters, held at its regular London venue: the Apollo Piccadilly Circus. A second Oktoberfest was held on 23/24 October 2009, with a third on the 14–16 October 2010, at The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, the Royal Society and the Apollo Piccadilly Circus.

On occasion, SCI-FI-LONDON has also hosted other events, either outside London, or at other times of the year.

In 2005, SCI-FI-LONDON took its feature films, short films and all-nighters On Tour, to Edinburgh, Liverpool, York and Exeter, in February and March of that year.

In January 2010, SCI-FI-LONDON made its very first trip abroad, when the festival traveled to Powai, Mumbai and Ahmedadad, to hold screenings and workshops as SCI-FI-LONDON-In-India. With many positive responses from all three venues, it is now hoped that further events of this type might be possible in the future.


Not only acting as a first point of reference for the Film Festival itself, the SCI-FI-LONDON website also provides year-round News, Interviews, Reviews, Podcasts, Listings and Competitions, on a similar range of topics to that of the festival.

The website also features information on past festivals, how to volunteer at the festival, as well as a Mailing List and Message Board/Forum.

SCI-FI-LONDON.COM also operates a free 'webTV' service at SCI-FI-LONDON.TV, featuring films and shorts previously submitted or screened at past festivals.

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