London Short Film Festival 2018

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By Chenaii Crawford Corri

Welcome to the 15th year of the London Short Film Festival which features innovative, creative and independent film making from practitioners of the medium worldwide. The festival runs from Friday 12th January till Sunday 21st offering a diverse range of films to suit most tastes. LSFF has come a long way since it’s inception in 2003 when festival organisers Philip Ilson and Kate Taylor organised the first event at the ICA known as Halloween Short Film Festival. I first met Philip whilst covering HSFF in January 2006 when I covered the festival for; it was this chance meeting that led to me introduction (by Philip) to Tom Artrocker and the rest is history. But enough of me being nostalgic, check out some of the great screenings and events over the duration of the festival.
As always, the core of LSFF is the New Shorts section; programmes of short films selected from 2500 open submissions into the Festival and continues to be a champion of inclusive and ground-breaking filmmaking with a huge selection of UK and international short films across music, culture, and politics, with exceptional LGBTQ and BAME strands.
We Dare To Fail: 15 Years of LSFF
This strand of the festival is a retrospective of the early works of an number auteur directors, who directed new British feature films in the last few years, all of whom showcased short films at the festival at the beginning of their careers. Filmmakers will be in attendance, and the event will be hosted on stage by LSFF co-founders Philip Ilson and Kate Taylor.
The strand will feature shorts from Francis Lee (who went on to direct God’s Own Country), Alice Lowe ( who later directed Prevenge), Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling), The Blaine Brothers (Nina Forever) Tom Geens (Couple in a Hole), Jim Hosking (The Greasy Strangler), Alex Taylor (Spaceship), Peter Strickland (Barbarian Sound Studio), Gone Too Far (Destiny Ekaragha) and many more.
Brexit Shorts: Dramas From A Divided Nation 
The political strand of LSFF marks the one year anniversary of the divisive decision to leave the EU, with new short films from notable scriptwriters and actors in response to the referendum. A panel discussion with Jess Gormley and Noah Payne-Frank (Guardian), and Amy Hodge (Headlong Theatre) will be followed by a performance from one of the actors in the films. Screenwriting and acting talent involved in the shorts, include Maxine Peake, Abi Morgan, Meera Syal, Kristen Scott Thomas and Penelope Wilton amongst many others.
LGBTQ content this year is led by long time LSFF collaborators New Queer Visions. The first film programme, Don’t Look Back In Anger, looks at the nature of hate and positivity and Medium Rare is a programme of medium length shorts exploring the mixed-up mind of an impressionable young man.
In partnership with MUBI, Radical Softness Through A Haptic Lens is a retrospective of the works of Barbara Hammer including incredibly rare screenings of Superdyke and Soft Fictions. Also in association with MUBI is Cruelty and Crime, a showcase of the key works of American writer Chris Kraus; from feminist readings of Antonin Artaud to Cold War sleeper agents, via dominatrices and New York City crime scenes.
2007’s Tearoom is a  reworked and re-presented collection of 1962 police footage documenting men cruising in a public toilet by William E Jones as a separate work. Prior to the screening LSFF will also be showcasing Robert Yang’s game The Tearoom, a cruising simulation made in direct response to the film.
LSFF18 includes trailblazing films from Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad (in partnership with MUBI), video artist William E Jones’ reclaiming of police surveillance footage of the gay community in 60s Ohio, and LSFF’s own With Teeth artists premiering newly commissioned experimental AV work. Ngozi Onwurah is the first Black British woman to have a feature film released in UK cinemas (Welcome II The Terrordome,1995), and there will be a legacy screening of her rare works, for which Ngozi will be in attendance. Pioneering lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer will be answering questions following a screening of her films.
This year there’s a celebration of 15 years of LSFF and Domino, working together, It’s All Good!, is an evening of music videos, DJs, giveaways and surprises. Domino have created and curated music videos from a wealth of directors since LSFF’s inception, and this event will see the introduction of new visual projects.takes a look at one of the most quietly prolific music video auteurs of the 90s, Dawn Shadforth, who has created visuals for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Björk, Sugababes, and Peaches. A Q&A with Dawn and special guests follows.

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