The 2017 SCI-FI-London Film Festival has just launched its 17th annual programme which will run from the 27th April until the 6th May 2017 with ten days of film, live music and stuff.
It will showcase a lineup with six world film premieres, 13 UK film premieres, 11 world short premieres and 13 UK short premieres. It will also host 25 features, 51 shorts and 4 VR shorts alongside its events such as the 48 Hour Film Challenge and Sci-Fido (which is, we are reliably told, the world’s only cosplay for dogs).
Opening this year’s festival on the 27th April at the Rich Mix is the UK Premiere of Caught – a film directed by Jamie Patterson (Fractured), written and produced by Alex Francis (Moon) and starring April Pearson, Mickey Sumner and Cian Berry. It’s the story of a ‘work-from-home’ journalist couple who invite a man and woman, called Mr & Mrs Blair, into their idyllic village home. But what begins with an informal interview descends into a nightmarish fight for survival.
The festival’s closing night on the 6th May at Stratford Picturehouse is the World Premiere of The Rizen directed by Matt Mitchell and Taliesyn Mitchell and starring Lee Latchford-Evans, Laura Swift, Tom Goodman-Hill, Adrian Edmondson and Sally Phillips. The year is 1955. NATO and the Allied Forces have been conducting secret, occult experiments in a bid to win the Arms Race. Now, they have finally succeeded but what the Army has unleashed threatens to tear our world apart. One woman must lead the only survivors past horrors that the military has no way to control – and fight to close what should never have been opened.
This year the festival bods have teamed up with the Science Museum and their Robots exhibition, to present a movie double-bill focusing on the world of artificial intelligence with A.I. and Ex Machina.
Screenwriter Darren Rapier and Louis Savy will also be hosting a Sci-fi Screenwriting Workshop: Robots & Rockets at the BFI on Sunday 30th April 10.30am. It will take you through the process of creating a low-budget sci-fi screenplay, and aim to provide a guide on how to choose the best ideas, then work them into a pitch, synopsis and script.
Other Film Premiere Galas this year include the UK Premiere of Blue World Order directed by Ché Baker and Dallas Bland, starring Billy Zane, Stephen Hunter, Bruce Spence, Jack Thompson. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which civilisation has crumbled. A massive electromagnetic pulse has killed all children on the planet, with the exception of Molly (Billie Rutherford), the daughter of Jake Slater (Jake Ryan). Mad Max meets Star Wars with a car chase in the desert by 7 DeLoreans.
Celebrating its World Premiere, Flora is a début for director Sasha Louis Vukovic, whose cast deliver a take on the ‘monster-in-the-woods’ canon. Set in the spring of 1929 near the end of a golden age of exploration, an expedition of Ivy League University Botanists enters an uncharted forest on the North American frontier. Tasked to study the native flora, the students unearth a deadly organism and are soon in a fight with nature itself.
Neil Stryker And The Tyrant Of Time directed by Rob Taylor and starring David Ogden Stiers, Rob Taylor and Walter Koenig. Set in a future time, Neil Stryker is a hardened Elite Forces agent famous for hunting and capturing his former mentor and villainous time-traveller, ‘The Mad Scientist’. Following a magnificent escape, the Mad Scientist rains down chaos on the city in a quest for revenge. Stryker must now race through time and do battle with goblins, robots, and ten-foot killer penguins in order to save the world and rescue his son from the clutches of his infamous former mentor. This sci-fi/comedy feature is a 1980s throwback.
Other world premieres include Yesterday Last Year directed by Jeff Hanley and written by Adam Bradley, this is a debut on time travel with lots of loopholes and paradoxes. Sublimate, directed by Roger Armstrong and John Hickman, is based on a short film made for the SFL 48hr Challenge and is a nihilistic satire on twenty first century life – a tale of idiocy, delusion and obsession. Love And Saucers, directed by Brad Abrahams, is a documentary exploring issues of time, space and fractured identity.
Unspeakable Horrors: The Plan 9 Conspiracy, directed by Jose Prendes, is a docu-film focussed on Ed Wood who unleashed Plan 9 From Outer Space in 1959 to an audience not yet ready to look beyond the limitations of budget to what was really being said in the film. The film received a remarkable amount of backlash that, not only ruined many a career (including Eddie’s), but gained the film the unwanted prize of ‘Worst Movie Ever Made’. This film attempts to set the record straight by highlighting the unspeakable horrors that Ed Wood was trying to shed a light on with the help of some of the genre’s best and brightest inducing: Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Fred Olen Ray, Brian Yuzna, and Larry Kraszewski and Scott Alexander (who wrote Tim Burton’s Ed Wood), among others.
Other UK premieres include: Space Detective directed by Antonio Llapur featuring galactic gangsters, interstellar visuals and dry wit. Domain about a deadly virus directed by Nathaniel Atcheson also celebrates its UK Premiere as well as The Fitzroy, directed by Andrew Harmer. The Fitzroy Hotel, set in a post-apocalyptic 1950s, is a derelict submarine beached just off Margate, and the last place for a traditional summer holiday. A black comedy, think Basil Fawlty running the Crimson Tide.
The End Of The Lonely Island directed by Ren Chao Wang from China is set against the backdrop of a deadly plague spreading across the Earth, the ‘Bi’an’ (“another shore”) project is humanity’s first interstellar exploration. The ‘Shenzhou 20’ starship has set off toward the Centaurus planetary system but now this scientific journey has become the last hope for human civilisation. China is becoming known for producing effects-heavy action movies for the international market, but a few independent filmmakers are making high-concept science fiction.
The Immigration Game, directed by Krystof Zlatnik is set in a Europe that has closed its borders to millions of refugees. Only Germany continues to offer citizenship if you compete and survive a new TV show called “Immigration Game”. The show is a manhunt through Berlin where every citizen can become a Hunter to track down refugees and stop them from winning their priceless German citizenship. In 2017 we are talking about immigration, wall-building and travel bans and the far-right being is called ‘populist’.
The Last Scout, directed by Simon Phillips, is ambitious and will appeal to old-school Sci-fi enthusiasts. It is also set in 2065 when Earth is rendered uninhabitable by war and humanity’s remaining survivors send a fleet of ships to different points in the galaxy in the hope of finding a new world.
Diverge, by US director James Morrison, follows the aftermath of a global pandemic when a survivor searches for ways to cure his wife of a deadly virus. In movie shorthand, you could use Twelve Monkeys meets Primer as a reference, as it deals with similar ideas and is constructed on its modest budget. Winner of the Siren Award for Best International Feature at the 2016 Lund Fantastic Film Festival.
Magellan, directed by Rob York, follows seasoned astronaut Roger Nelson who is picked to pilot a mission that will challenge his skills and test the life he leaves behind. After NASA picks up a trio of mysterious signals from within our solar system, Nelson is dispatched on a multi-year trip aboard the Magellan spacecraft to investigate the sources. What he discovers will change our understanding of science and our place in the universe.
For the full line up visit the website: sci-fi-london.com