SCI-FI-LONDON 11 is almost with us.
And with seven feature-film world premieres, three short-film world premieres, dozens of UK premiere screenings, comedy, live music, docs, competitions, a latex fashion show its wet to be bigger ans better than ever before.
With a great line up of Sci-Fi and horror including a VERHOEVEN ALL-NIGHTER and a BORIS KARLOFF TRIBUTE we thought we would give you the full list of movies on offer as well as a run down on some of the events taking place over festival which runs from the 1st to the 7th of May. To book tickets and for more info click here.
SUNDAY 29TH APRIL
12:00PM – SCI-FI-LONDON PARADE
Last year they held a parade at Easter. It was so much fun they are doing it again!
So, put on your favourite film, game, TV or literary character costume and join us on the Southbank for our own take on the Easter Parade. Cosplayers, zombies, stormtroopers, steampunks, daywalkers, superheroes come join us.
TUESDAY 1ST MAY
The big sleep, the final destination: not just film titles but euphemisms for death, except, inventor James Jones didn’t believe death was the end; right up until his untimely demise. Now his children have returned to the family’s stately home in the countryside to sort out his legacy and hear the will.
At the best and worst of times, families are still families, and there are some skeletons in the cupboard that are exposed when they discover James’s last invention, which gave the sibling rivals the chance to speak with their dearly departed grandfather (Leslie Philips) and find out what really happened to their dad. Part family drama, part farce, part steampunk, part ghost story, there’s something for everyone who has a family in this original British indie that features a cast of familiar faces, many of whom will be attending the world premiere on the opening night of the festival.
Tommy (Matt Smith) and Rebecca (Eva Green) spend an idyllic, rainsoaked holiday on a remote island until she has to leave and go to Tokyo.
Twelve years later she returns to find her childhood sweetheart has become a cockroach breeder, with a plan… except a tragic road accident puts an end to those plans. Rebecca decides to give birth to Tommy’s clone and raise him as her son, something the island’s small community frowns upon. As they grow older their relationship becomes more complicated as the truth is revealed.
WEDNESDAY 2ND MAY
Sasha Roiz (Caprica, Warehouse 13, Grimm) is Tom, a scientist developing a technique for seeing people’s memories. His altruistic intentions are tested when his potential funder reveals that the government is interested in the technology as a way of determining criminals’ guilt.
Desperate for money to continue his research, Tom agrees to give a demonstration, but something goes wrong and he becomes trapped in the mind of a convicted killer. A similar idea that has already been explored in Caprica and Tarsem’s visually stunning The Cell, this is a far more grounded story of speculative science.
Simple in its execution and free from surreal images, it is Roiz’s performance as an everyman trapped in a world he can’t escape from, as he tries to unravel the mysteries held in the killer’s memories, that will keep you gripped the whole way through.
8:00PM ARTHUR C CLARKE AWARD FOR LITERATURE – INVITATION ONLY
9:00PM RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH
Based on a 1976 semiautobiographical novel, published posthumously in 1985, it recounts Philip K. Dick’s visions of Jesus and ancient Rome and a cosmic force called VALIS.
In this film the visions are experienced by Nick Brady, a successful record producer, whose life becomes guided by VALIS, as it instructs him to lead a subversive campaign against the US president, a neo-fascist who invents a terrorist organisation to introduce a police state (sound familiar?).
Phil, Nick’s friend and a sciencefiction writer, recounts the story as Nick tries to find out about the secret Aramchek organisation while coping with his visions and being investigated by the government.
This indie pic, which features singer Alanis Morrisette, eschews the big-budget tricks of previous PKD adaptations to give it more realism, as well as tackling the big ideas of spirituality and political conspiracies; ones that are just as relevant today as they were 35 years ago.
THURSDAY 3RD MAY
10:30AM EXPLORERS SCHOOLS ONLY SCREENING
3:30PM BORIS KARLOFF TRIBUTE FRANKENSTEIN & KREATING KARLOFF
As part of our celebration of the birth, 125 years ago, of the screen legend, Boris Karloff we present some of his most iconic roles on film in FRANKENSTEIN and THE BLACK CAT. Whilst Karloff played many mad scientists and evil characters, he will always be remembered for his portrayal of the tragic monster.
We also bring you an amazing documentary, KREATING KARLOFF, about actor Conor Timmis, who has been obsessed with Karloff and wanted to make a biopic. We are delighted that Stephen Jacobs, author of ‘Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster’ (Tomahawk Press), the authorised biography, will introduce the films.
6:30PM BLINK OF AN EYE: SHORTS PROGRAMME 1
7:00PM STRANGE FRAME: LOVE & SAX
Set in the 29th century on Gannymede, one of Jupiter’s moons, Strange Frame: Love & Sax is in the unique genre of animated sci-fi lesbian rock musical. Employing a hybrid of cut out and CGI animation, the film presents vibrant and eccentric characters in stunning settings, with a soulful and rocking original score. With an amazing voice cast made up of actors from all your favourite sci-fi shows it features sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and revolution: everything you could want from a movie that definitely makes this animation no kids’ cartoon. It is like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard before.
With an awesome soundtrack by Grammy Award winner, Dave Pellicciaro and Shelley Doty, the movie also has a voice cast to die for including; George Takai, Claudia Black, Alan Tudyk and the legendary Tim Curry!
9:00PM GIRL GEEK DINNERS CLUB
Into technology, gadgets, education or similar? So are the LGGD. Join them for their annual outing to the festival.
9:15PM THE CAPTAINS
If you are a Star Trek fan then you have to see this film as the inimitable William Shatner takes us on documentary journey to meet the actors who have played the various incarnations of Starfleet Captains over the decades. This roll call includes Chris Pine who played the younger version of Shatner’s most famous character (that isn’t Denny Crane). However, this isn’t just for Star Trek fans.
Anyone interested in stagecraft will find interesting insights into the world of acting from some of the most highly-respected thespians of our time. And, of course, with Shatner in charge you know it is going to be a bit left field and full of surprises.
FRIDAY 4TH MAY
3:15PM BORIS KARLOFF TRIBUTE THE BLACK CAT & KREATING KARLOF
3:30PM STRANGE FRAME: LOVE & SAX APOLLO
6:00PM BLINK OF AN EYE: SHORTS PROGRAMME 2 APOLLO
This is one of those films that will baffle and confuse, in the way that 2001 does, but will also intrigue with its visuals that fluctuate between noir simplicity and psychedelic intensity.
Is our hero moving through inner space or outer space? Dreamscapes or landscapes? Heightened reality or virtual reality? It’s more about the journey than the destination, and what a ride it is. It completely blurs the boundaries between live action and CGI, and all backed with fantastic sonic soundscapes.
7:30PM DIRECTOR’S GUILD OF GB NETWORKING EVENT APOLLO
8:30PM OUTSTANDING – ROB DEB’S SCIFI CABARET APOLLO
8:45PM TRUE LOVE
Jack and Kate are in love. He does the right thing, takes her to a romantic spot and proposes. They have the big white wedding and are heading towards their happily-ever-after life, until they both wake up alone in sealed, doorless cells. On the walls, videos are projected revealing parts of each other’s lives. A small monitor asks them questions to which they must push a button to answer yes or no. However, each answer has consequences as more questions are asked and more secrets are revealed.
Are they being tortured by a psychopath, or is their love being put to the ultimate test that makes the Ludovico Technique look like an episode of Mr & Mrs.
8:45PM THE LAST PUSH
The festival wouldn’t be complete without a ‘Major Tom’ movie, a film about someone stranded in space, in the vein of Moon or Silent Running, and The Last Push is an excellent example of this sub genre.
The first deep space mission to explore Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, is funded by billionaire Walter Moffit (Lance Henrickson). When the ship, LIFE-1, is hit by a micro meteor, astronaut Michael Forrest (Khary Payton – also in Strange Frame) is woken from his hibernation just in time to escape the chamber before it is destroyed. He now has to singlehandedly pilot the disabled craft on the two-year journey back to Earth, while trying to rectify the damage that prevents the engine from firing at the critical moment. We watch Forrest as he makes his heroic journey back home, empathising with him all the way. And when Earth is in sight he has to make a decision that will change his life forever.
SATURDAY 5TH MAY
11:30AM HORIZONS: A CELEBRATION OF THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ZX SPECTRUM BFI
12:30PM GENRE FILMMAKING IN BRITAIN – BAFTA SPECIAL
1:00PM BLINK OF AN EYE: SHORTS PROGRAMME 2
Every year, teams of young men are sent from the Earth’s finest academies to compete in the Sol Invictus competition.
The teams are teleported to a remote planet and the winners are the first team to pinpoint the position of our Sun, except this time something goes wrong with the portal and only a handful of members from each team make it through, ending up on a hostile planet without most of their equipment.
3:30PM ZERO ONE
HAL, Skynet, Cylons; somehow people just don’t learn that sentient computers are not a good idea. Enter Devon Owens, computer hacker, who discovers a bit of AI code hidden within the myriad data streams of the Internet. When Devon starts interacting with it, it starts to learn more and more, and begins to influence Devon’s life for the better, and for the worse. Does Zer01one have ulterior motives? Can computers have ulterior motives?
As the ‘net takes up more of our time, and social networks learn more about us are we still in charge? As with any good sci-fi, this film addresses lots of issues the affect us today but still gives us plenty of action and romance.
3:40PM GREAT WRITERS IN SHORT FORM
4:30PM BLINK OF AN EYE: SHORTS PROGRAMME 3
It was once the source of life, light, and warmth. But now the sun has turned the entire world into baked and barren wasteland. Forests are scorched. Animal carcasses line the roads. Even the nights are dazzling bright. Marie, her little sister Leonie and Phillip are heading for the mountains in a car with covered windows.
Rumour has it there is still water there. Along the way they run into Tom, a first-rate mechanic who becomes indispensable. But can they trust him? Tension grows in the small group. As if things weren’t bad enough, they are lured into an ambush. Their real battle for survival begins…
Think Roland Emmerich can only make bloated, unrealistic postapocalyptic blockbusters that pander to the lowest common denominator? Think again. He recently executive produced this movie, a German language postapocalyptic horror flick that just kicked our heads in!
6:10PM THE MECHANICAL BRIDE
The fantasy of creating the ‘ideal’ woman is as old as Pygmalion, but how close is it to becoming a reality?
This provocative documentary reveals the state of the art in artificial companions – from life-sized silicone sex dolls to humanoid robots – and offers a surprisingly human, at times humorous, look at the men who build, animate, and love them.
7:30PM GEEK CHIC MEETUP
When Nazi vampires, straight from the bowels of hell, led by the nefarious Count Draculon, take over the planet our intrepid heroes, which include the titular Manborg, a kick-ass babe and a kung fu warrior, battle these forces of evil to save humanity from eternal despair.
Imagine Robocop and Universal Soldier mashed up in a pastiche of every 80s’ straight-to-video genre movie and you get some idea of what to expect from Manborg: clichéd characters and dialogue, stop-motion monsters, dodgy green screen and special effects that look like they are straight out of the Troma school of filmmaking.
Three inept employees of a small electronics firm are ordered by the company’s President to develop a bipedal robot. But just before the Robot Expo, their robot-inproduction “New Shiokaze” is smashed to smithereens!
The desperate trio concoct an emergency plan to disguise a human being as the robot. However the only guy who fits and is prepared to dress up is 73-yearold Suzuki. Little do they know that Grandpa Suzuki is a crackpot… And when a robot-crazy female college student, Yoko, falls in love with “New Shiokaze”, things really begin to go haywire.
It’s 1921 and three children (Stephen, Victoria and Conrad) are spending an idyllic summer at a Cambridgeshire manor house, enjoying sophisticated garden parties and running free in the surrounding countryside.
When a childish prank goes wrong, Victoria disappears into a well. However, a chance meeting with a mysterious professor sets Stephen and Conrad off exploring the possibilities of time, or dimensional, travel and, perhaps, a way of saving Victoria.
A bad taste comedy from the US that will give audiences an opportunity to laugh at the things that spook us. The story follows Dusty, a yoga instructor from Colorado, who is on a desperate rescue mission to save her crazy brother Derek, a conspiracy theorist who is convinced Osama bin Laden is still alive, despite having (reportedly) been buried at sea.
In Afghanistan, Dusty falls in with a team of NATO Special Forces on a secret assignment. It turns out Derek is not so crazy after all, and Osama has returned from his watery grave to gather together an army of zombie jihadists. When the NATO group crashes headlong into the growing zombie apocalypse, Dusty and the troops must find and destroy the root of the zombie insurgency before it infests the rest of the world.
11:30PM ANIME ALL-NIGHTER
11:45PM MST3K COMEDY ALL-NIGHTER
11:50PM BORIS KARLOFF- ALL-NIGHTER
As part of a tribute to Boris Karloff we present an all-nighter of some of his finest roles.
The movies are:
THE INVISIBLE RAY
(Dir: Lambert Hillyer, 1936)
THE BLACK CAT
(dir: Edgar G. Ulmer, 1934)
(Dir: James Whale, 1931)
THE MASK OF FU MANCHU
(Dir: Charles Brabin, 1932)
(Dir: Arthur Lubin, 1940)
11:55PM DUTCH MASTER: VERHOEVEN ALL-NIGHTER
Whether you saw them on VHS or DVD, the science fiction movies made by Paul Verhoeven beg to be seen in a cinema. He made some of the most spectacular and iconic films of the past few decades. Join us for four classic tales of robots, Martians and invisible men. And remember… the only good bug is a dead bug!
The movies are:
(Dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1987)
(Dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1990)
(Dir: Paul Verhoeven, 2000)
(Dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1997)
SUNDAY 6TH MAY
12:30PM HORIZONS: A CELEBRATION OF THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ZX SPECTRUM
1:30PM THE CAPTAINS
2:00PM BLINK OF AN EYE: SHORTS PROGRAMME 1
3:30PM THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION
4:00PMFANTASTIC MUSIC VIDEOS
4:15PM BEST OF THE CHALLENGE SCREENINGS INVITATION ONLY
5:30PM THE LAST PUSH
6:00PM SENSE OF SCALE
This documentary is about the dying art of model making focusing on the personal stories of the model makers whose work shaped and enhanced the impact of feature films and gave it a breathtaking scale.
Their practical hands-on art is now slowly dying out, giving way to computer generated imagery. The model makers share their experiences along with personal insights and behind the scenes views from films they worked on. Many photos of their model work are also generously supplied from personal collections.
The documentary reveals an incredible amount of practical craftsmanship that is unfortunately getting lost in these digital times. For better or worse, the art of miniature making is dying out leaving an enormous talent pool wasted. Included are some of the best and well known model makers worldwide.
6:45PM PRINCE AHMED – SAWCHESTRA
Imagine if every time you fell asleep you woke up in a different place and time in your life. That’s what is happening to Lovell Milo (TJ Thyne), and he is trying to make sense of it, especially when random people start giving him instructions. What is it he has to pay attention to? Whose life does he have to save?
It’s not really another Groundhog Day but closer to a mix of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Time Travelle’s Wife. Shot in glorious black and white (with sound), it has romance and comedy mixed in with puzzling time warps.
8:15PM MEMORY LANE
Nick is just back from the war and, like so many of his comrades, life isn’t going so well for him, until he meets Kayla. They start a relationship which blossoms until Kayla seemingly commits suicide in the bath.
Totally distraught, Nick tries to join her in death, but doesn’t succeed and, during his near death experience, notices something that leads him to believe she was murdered. So he repeats the process to try and find out more.
MONDAY 7TH MAY
12:20PM GULLIVER’S TRAVELS FREE FAMILY SCREENING
2:00PM SCI-FI-LONDON PUB QUIZ
3:30PM BLINK OF AN EYE: SHORTS PROGRAMME 3
If a film ever deserved the description of enigmatic and atmospheric it is Exit. The film follows Alice, one of a growing number of people who believe that the city is a maze wherein exists a door, a hidden exit to a better place. If you don’t find the exit you will become trapped into a comfortable, domestic existence.
Tonally it is like the world of The Matrix before taking the red pill. Visually stunning, it is made up of abstract fragments of lost corners of cityscapes backed with hypnotic soundscapes and fragments of conversations looking for answers to life’s mysteries.
7:45PM GHOSTS WITH SHIT JOBS
This film has nothing to do with the spectral remains of skivvies in ancestral mansions. Far from it. In the not-too-distant present, the Western economy has collapsed. North America and Europe are bankrupt and Asia is now the main economic power. Ghosts are what the Chinese call Westerners, and they are now employed as cheap, outsourced labour to do all the jobs the new fiscal masters won’t do: jobs such as Serena’s.
She makes a living by mentioning brands in casual conversation – a chameleon, professionally skilled at reinvention, her good humour and friendliness is only skin deep – beneath it is a cold and ruthless survivor, human spam!
Other jobs include baby makers, silk gatherers and digital janitors. Camera teams follow these marginalised and often-exploited workers as they cheerfully go about their daily jobs trying to eke out an existence.
This mockumentary, made for Chinese television, shows the harsh realities of what it is like to live in a third world country.
SCI-FI-LONDON Festival runs from the 1st to the 7th of May. To book tickets and for more info click here.