Dear film fans: make sure you pencil a selection of dates into your diary – the London Short Film Festival is back for the fourteenth time. This year, the series of events will feature over 500 British and international films based around music that will showcase a variety of social movements, celeb rebels and everyday heroes over 10 days – starting today.

london short film festival 2017

Questioning almost everything that 2016 brought us, this year’s festival quotes the song Her Jazz, Huggy Bear’s single that debuted in 1992. “This is happening without your permission,” the song written by one of the riot grrrls states – and LSFF 2017 used the line as their motto this year, handpicking a variety of thought-provoking content.

The rich programme highlights the best shorts about culture, comedy, fashion, music and LGBTQ that challenge the modern world, tell the stories of subcultures, movements, icons and ordinary people. The Institute of Contemporary Arts and Picturehouse Hackney will host the majority of the performances, but some of the shows will be screened in Picturehouse Central, and accompanying music events will be held in Hackney’s Moth Club.

What titles can we expect? In the honour of the pop-culture icon that passed away a year ago, the festival will include screenings of David Bowie Sound & Vision, a selection which tells the story of the Starman from his experimental beginnings, the rise to fame and the world takeover. In Picturehouse Central, the events will be additionally accompanied by the Q and A with directors Alan Yentob, Michael Armstrong and Julien Temple. This year’s festival will also bring us the screenings of The White Trash Girls, Gun Girls and Riot Grrrls that discusses riot grrrls and feminine influences on the punk scene. Another highlight will be Crossroads, starring Britney Spears, Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Taryn Manning (Orange Is The New Black), and Bands that DIY Together, Stay Together which will uncover the less known sides of such bands as Pixies and Skepta.

Social media will make a switch from a smartphone screen to a silver one with a screening of six-second vines from a Scottish comedian Limmy that explore modern world’s Internet paranoias. But it’s not the end of the social commentary that LSFF provides: I Am Dora: Free, White and 21 explores the snapshots from the modern history of London, with the events such as 7/7 tragedy, 2011 riots and Brexit, exploring such diverse media as grime music, poetry, selfie artists, modern philosophers’  works and memes. The Sound of Fashion, on the other hand, describes the genre that has been vowed “the new music video” – the fashion film.

The LGBTQ short film playlist will include two blocks of films presented under a name New Queer Visions filled with American stories, and Club Des Femmes’ Smoulder and Curl that explore lesbian relationships.

Two screenings of double-bill will feature the documentaries that offer a time travel into the past decades (Part One: Fifties, Sixties & Seventies, and Part Two: Eighties, Nineties, Noughties and Beyond) closed by a premiere of With Teeth, a festival commission who portrays the youth subculture in 2016 London. The commissioning fund handpicked works of three artists: Alex Z. Taylor with Lily Goes to Kiss Land which will speak about teen subcultures and outsider obsessions, Grace LaDoja and her Evolve, that will be screened for the first time alongside her remarkable work commissioned for global brands, Skepta and FKA Twigs, and Alnoor Dewshi’s Kickbox Hijabi that represents ‘get-out-of-there-and-do-it’ mentality.

This year’s LSFF has also included international submissions on the playlist for the third time. The audience will be able to watch a powerful short Another Kind of Girl, a response to negative reporting of the Syrian refugee experience. Laura Doggett, the filmmaker behind the shorts collection, travelled to Za’atari to enable Syrian girls to tell their stories by providing them with a training in video.

During the festival, you’ll also be able to participate in a variety of discussion panels, but also in many industry events. Budding filmmakers or those who want to work on their craft will be able to take part in Open City Masterclass: Shooting for Documentary which will introduce cinematography for non-fiction, a Pitching Session supported by The Guardian and the scriptwriting class organised by London Film Academy. Some of the other interesting workshops include also Eyehar’s steps to complimenting your film with the ideal soundtrack and Hiive’s guide to immersive storytelling.

The full list of screenings, networking events and workshops, along with pricing, is available on LSFF website.

Kasia Kwasniewska

Editor in Chief

Loves reading, watching films, eyeing (and producing) good design, listening to music and stuffing her face with chocolate whenever the opportunity arises. Cooks from time to time, and drinks far too much coffee to be a normal human being. Liked my work? Buy me a coffee!

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