The Sci-Fi London Film Festival 2017 launches its 17th annual programme on 27 April running until 6 May 2017 in cinemas across London. It’ll be 10 days of amazing films, live music, immersive experiences and more. It will showcase a fantastic line-up with six world film premieres, 13 UK film premieres, 11 world short premieres and 13 UK short premieres. It will host 25 features, 51 shorts and 4 VR shorts alongside its regular classic cult events such as the 48-Hour Film Challenge and Sci-Fido, the world’s only cosplay for dogs!
Opening this year’s festival on 27 April at the Rich Mix is the UK Premiere of Caught– a film that returns us to the great days of British science fiction, 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 6 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.
There’s 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 this will hopefully be a reference for other films of the future.
Celebrating its world premiere, Flora is a début for director Sasha Louis Vukovic, whose cast deliver a refreshing take on the “monster-in-the-woods” trope. Set in the spring of 1929 near the end of a golden age of exploration, an expedition of Ivy League University Botanists enter 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 is directed by Rob Taylor and stars David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H, The Dead Zone), Rob Taylor and Walter Koenig (real Star Trek). This is a cult film in the making. In the future, 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 10-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 where every set, every effect, every puppet was crafted by dedicated artists, some of whom might get time off for good behaviour!
Other world premieres include Yesterday Last Year. Directed by Jeff Hanley and written by Adam Bradley, this is a time travel tale 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 beautiful, raw, unflinching, nihilistic satire on 21st 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 is a documentary about the notorious “worst film ever made”, Plan 9 From Outer Space, that attempts to show why that label is unfair, and what director Ed Wood was trying to achieve on his meagre budget. Contributors include: Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Fred Olen Ray, Brian Yuzna, and Larry Kraszewski and Scott Alexander (who wrote Tim Burton’s Ed Wood), among many others.
Space Detective directed by Antonio Llapur features galactic gangsters, interstellar visuals, an out of this world soundtrack and dry wit in vast amounts. In The Fitzroy, directed by Andrew Harmer, the Fitzroy Hotel is a derelict submarine beached just off Margate in a post-apocalyptic 1950s, and the last place for a traditional summer holiday. A joyous black comedy, think Basil Fawlty running the Crimson Tide.
The End Of The Lonely Island directed by China’s Ren Chao Wang features a starship heading towards the Centaurus planetary system that becomes the last hope for human civilisation.
We are used to cameras everywhere, recording everything we do – what if they capture things our eyes cannot see? Occupants, directed by Russ Emanuel and starring Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager) and Briana White has been a worldwide film festival hit. It’s a cutting edge and brilliantly performed thriller that puts a new twist on ‘found-footage’.
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.
The Last Scout, directed by Simon Phillips, is ambitious and will appeal to old-school sci-fi enthusiasts. It’s 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. It has been described as Twelve Monkeys meets Primer.
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. Magellan delivers a credible high-concept science fiction. If they asked you, would you go?
The Festival has also teamed up with the Science Museum’s current blockbuster Robots exhibition, to present a movie double-bill focusing on the world of artificial intelligence with A.I. and Ex Machina.
For the full line up visit the website: sci-fi-london.com.