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
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
|Awards||The 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
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 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.
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.
|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|
|2011||Pig – Dir: Henry Barrial|
|2016||Embers – Dir: Claire Carre|
|2017||Flora – Dir: Sasha Louis Vukovic|
|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|
|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.
|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?|
|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.
|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|
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.
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).
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.