SCI-FI-London Festival back in the cinema

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The SCI-FI-LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2021 launches its cosmic 21st annual programme, which will run from the 19 OCTOBER until 26 OCTOBER 2021 with seven days of fabulous film. It will showcase a fantastic lineup with 2 world film premieres, 8 UK film premieres, 11 world short premieres and 13 UK short premieres. It will host 13 features and 50 shorts alongside its regular classic cult events such as the 48 HOUR FILM CHALLENGE and SCI-FI-QUIZ

Opening this year’s festival on the 19th October is Agata Alexander’s WARNING. This film is dark, witty and spectacular. It has a stellar cast, including Annabelle Wallis, Thomas Jane, Alex Pettyfer, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Alice Eve, and the marvellous Rupert Everett. WARNING is a visually arresting, thought-provoking sci-fi exploring themeaning of life through multiple interconnected lives. This is like BLACK MIRROR just jumped out of a plane without a parachute!  

Doomsday is coming. But from where? Global warming, the isolation and breakdown of society, because the immortals hate us mortals. Maybe from the asteroids charging toward the planet? 

The festival’s Closing Night on the 26 October at Stratford Picturehouse is the World Premiere of MOON HEART. M, played by Peru’s most illustrious actor, Haydeé Cáceres, is alone, almost invisible to society, not an outcast, just old, poor, homeless and ignored. Her only friend is a lone ant. M’s world is full of nostalgic memories and a dark presence that haunts her. Then one day, a ‘mechanical angel’ arrives to help change her life. At its core, this is a film about marginalisation and the abandonment and mental anguish that homeless people suffer. However, it is also an extraordinarily warm film with an outstanding lead performance. WINNER OF THE SFL ‘BEST FEATURE FILM 2021’ AWARD.

Other major Film Premiere Galas this year include the World Premiere of REPEAT, by UK director Richard Millar. Professor Ryan Moore (Tom England) believes that his new device communicates with those who have ‘passed’. He is obsessed with the project because his daughter, Samantha, has been missing without a trace for months, and he fears the worst. But, in one experiment, it appears he has made contact with Samantha. His grief is awful, but he thinks he has found a way to ‘bring her back’. But will the truth of what happened be even more devastating.

The cast includes: Charlotte Ritchie, llila-Jean Wood and Nina Wadia, who is well known from EastEnders, goodness GRacious Me and is currently battling it out on Strictly Come-Dancing. 
 UK Premieres include:

EXPOSURE 36.
Dir. Mackenzie G. Maur,
Country: USA,
Year: 2021
Runtime: 90 mins
Language: English.
Set in New York, three days before the world will end, we meet Cam, a struggling and grieving photographer. Coping with addiction, Cam’s only plan is to succumb to his substance abuse as the world collapses around him. His one ambition is to capture final days on a roll of 35mm film. But his plan is disrupted when his friend goes missing, putting him on a journey to find out what happened and who’s responsible. The film was partly shot during the Covid-lockdown in the USA. This adds a sublime realism to the film’s portrayal of loneliness, guilt, and isolation.
Cast: Charles Ouda, Jennifer Leigh Whitehead, Nick Smithson 

TIONG BAHRU SOCIAL CLUB 
Dir: Tan Bee Thiam 
Country: Singapore,
Year: 2021,
Runtime: 89 mins,
Language: Chinese, English, Malay, Tamil (English subtitles).
Ah Bee’s life is a dull, monotonous one and he seems stuck in a rut. Then, one day, the opportunity arises to work at the new Tiong Bahru Social Club, a data-driven project to create the happiest neighbourhood in the world. His encounters with the neighbourhood’s residents and the authority that runs the place reveal the absurdity of life. This candy-coloured satire flirts with Art Deco nostalgia set in Singapore’s most ‘gentrified’ district. With a sprinkle of THE TRUMAN SHOW and a dash of BLACK MIRROR, though much less pretentious, this is an incisive subtle film, with humour as offbeat as it is caustic. Never has a futuristic dystopia been so heart-warming.
Cast: Thomas Pang, Goh Guat Kian, Jo Tan 

STRAWBERRY MANSION 
Dir: Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney,
Country: USA,
Year: 2021,
Runtime: 91 mins,
Language: English.
Maybe tomorrow, an all-seeing surveillance state will start to invade our innermost thoughts and dreams. And, of course, we’ll be subject to ‘dream audits’ to collect taxes on our unconscious lives. So, one day, mild-mannered government agent James Preble travels to a remote farmhouse to audit the dreams of Bella Isadora, an eccentric artist. But Bella’s vast dream archive hides a secret that offers him a chance at love — and maybe a way out of his dull life. This gorgeous production draws on almost every filmmaking style and technique — as if someone had given Gaspar Noé happy pills.
Cast: Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney, Penny Fuller 

NIGHT RAIDERS 
Dir: Danis Goulet,
Country: Canada/New Zealand,
Year: 2021,
Runtime: 97 mins,
Language: English/Cree.
The year is 2043, and North America has been shattered by war. The totalitarian regime that remains now forces children into brutal military training to fight in the futile war. To save her daughter, Waseese, from this fate, Niska has been hiding them in the woods, living a reclusive life dominated by fear of discovery. When the pair are forced into the remnants of the city, Waseese is captured along with several others. Niska finds herself among the ‘Night Raiders’, a group of indigenous rebels who plan to free their children. ‘Goulet’s debut feature is a captivating film that astutely uses the sci-fi genre to criticise the treatment of First Nations people.’
Cast: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Alex Tarrant 

GLASS HOUSE 
Dir: Kelsey Egan,
Country: South Africa,
Year: 2021,
Runtime: 94 mins,
Language: English.
The world we know has gone and the ‘shred’ altered our minds. And yet in this desolate, destroyed world, one family exists, out of sight. The daughters work the land, their mother rules with an iron hand. Then, one day the sisters are seduced by a stranger who shatters their peace and stirs up a past best left undisturbed. Glasshouse has a haunting score, beautiful photography and superbly detailed production design. ‘This debut feature by Egan is one of the most tightly written and piercingly observed science fiction films we have seen for years.
Cast: Jessica Alexander, Hilton Pelser, Brent Vermeulen, Adrienne Pearce, Kitty Harris, Anja Taljaard 

12 MONTHS OF KAI.
Dir: Mutsumi Kameyama,
Country: Japan,
Year: 2020,
Runtime: 83 mins,
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
Something has changed in a world where ‘personal carebots’ are commonplace and cater to our every need. Kyoka, who lives in Tokyo and has a successful career, decides to get a personal care humanoid (PCH) Kai. He is perfect. He learns quickly and knows Kyoka so well. However, Kai seems to have real emotions, and Kyoka is lost in this new relationship. Her friends are worried for her, but soon they will all have to confront an unexpected change in the world.
Cast: Ayaka Nakagouchi, Kosei Kudo 

VISITOR 
Dir: Alberto Evangelio,
Country: Spain,
Year: 2021,
Runtime: 91mins,
Language: Spanish/Catalan (English subtitles) 
Marga lost her sister in a tragic accident when they were children. Years later, she has relationship problems and decides to get some space and visit the old family home. But strange things start happening, and she discovers a portal to another reality, one where her sister is alive and grown-up. In that parallel dimension, her sister and her other self warn Marga that something terrible is about to happen, but who can she trust?
Cast: Jan Cornet, Iria del Rio, Miquel Fernández 

ESLUNA: THE CROWN OF BABYLON 
Dir: Denver Jackson,
Country: Canada,
Year: 2021,
Runtime: 102 mins,
Language: English
Esluna is ruled by descendants of a sacred bloodline, where technology is powered by the highly advanced relics of the ancients. Raised by the monks who protect the relics of the old world, MAEVE is a treasure hunter who uses her skills to find other artefacts for the leaders. When her mentor, Caz, is kidnapped by a militia group run by a rogue monk, Maeve learns of a powerful relic known as ‘THE CROWN OF BABYLON’, rumoured to have the power to bring back the dead. She teams up with Bataar, a young man who mysteriously came to Esluna from another world years ago and worked with Caz to find the crown at the time of her abduction. Now, they must find the crown, save Caz, and stop the rogue from endangering the lives of everyone they know. A thrilling animated action-adventure set in the retro-futuristic world of Esluna, and great fun for all the family!
Cast: Grace Chan, Shawn O’Hara, Ariel Hack, Alain Williams. 

Our Stranger Than Fiction Documentary strand has two remarkable films: 

TUNE INTO THE FUTURE 
Dir: Eric Schockmel,
Country: Luxembourg,
Year: 2020,
Runtime: 72 mins,
Language: English.
One hundred years before the internet, a self-declared tech guru started preaching the future to his flock of outsiders. Meet the most influential nerd you may never have heard of: Hugo Gernsback. Decades ahead of the curve, he foresaw Skype, jetpacks, space mining and drones. But even though he would accumulate over 80 patents throughout his life and befriend the likes of Edison and Tesla, his most influential invention remains Science Fiction! 

SCREENS WITH SHORT:

MY BRAIN IS BIGGER: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELEKTRO, THE SMOKING ROBOT
Dir. Ian Johnston,
Country: Canada,
Runtime: 10mins,
Language: English
A whimsical look at the life of America’s first celebrity robot, Elektro. He was the ‘next big thing’, from the World’s Fair to Soft-porn star… and then he disappeared. 

THE HIGH FRONTIER: THE UNTOLD STORY OF GERARD K. O’NEILL
Dir: Ryan Stuit,
Country: USA,
Year: 2020,
Runtime: 91 mins,
Language: English.
Gerard K. O’Neill was a physicist and space colony pioneer. In 1977, he wrote The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, A book that sparked an enormous grassroots movement to ‘open the high frontier’ to make space available and beneficial for all mankind. The film is told through “Gerry’s Kids”, as they affectionately call themselves; his peers, family, and the younger generation who followed that movement and are now in charge of the modern-day space industry. 

SCREENS WITH SHORT:

ARTIST DEPICTION BY STEVE R. DODD
Dir. Brett Ryan Bonowicz,
Country: USA,
Runtime: 19mins,
Language: English,
Steve Dodd has painted space scenes since the 1970s. Working at home with no phone, internet or computer, he has created hundreds of beautiful ‘spacescapes’: visions of a positive future amongst the stars. This is his first recorded interview. 

For the full line up visit the website: sci-fi-london.com 
#SFL2021

UK VOD Release: Escher – Journey into Infinity

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Following on from its limited cinema release in August, Escher: Journey Into Infinity – the first complete feature documentary about Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher’s life and work – is available to buy or rent on digital platforms in the UK and Ireland from October 18.

Told in Escher’s own words through Stephen Fry’s narration, drawing from a rich cornucopia of letters, diaries and lectures, the film offers an exploration of the fascinating man whose legacy continues to influence popular culture today.

A fitting tribute to a multi-layered and unparalleled artist” D-MOVIES ★★★★

Filmmaker Robin Lutz says, “We get under his skin and come as close as possible to meet and understand this great graphic artist. The camera is Escher’s eye!”

Escher wrote, “I fear that there is only one person in the world who could make a really good movie about my prints: myself.” And that is exactly what Escher is doing in this movie: he is the director, not literally but symbolically.”

The film includes interviews with Escher’s sons George and Jan, as well as musician, and collector of Escher’s work, Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). Lutz’s feature has been described by Variety as ‘an art book that comes to life’, referencing the ingenious use of animation.

The artist’s words are delivered with characteristic panache by Stephen Fry, while the pictures are brought ingeniously to life using animation.”
Simon Kinnear, TOTAL FILM 
★★★★

British mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of mathematics at Oxford University, is patron of the film. Sir Roger has a long-standing interest in and connection with M.C. Escher and is said to have given Escher ideas for some of his world-famous prints.

Escher: Journey Into Infinity is available to watch from October 18 on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Sky Store, Google, Microsoft and Curzon Home Cinema.

UK Theatrical Release: Picture Stories

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 How one magazine transformed British photography 
Ship Of Life Films are delighted to announce the release of their new documentary, Picture Stories, about the life and legacy of Picture Post, the revolutionary magazine which shaped perceptions of British life during and after the Second World War. 

Ahead of its UK theatrical release on the 24th September, the documentary will also have special screenings at the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol on 15th September, and the Photography Show (NEC Birmingham) on 18th September. Following the UK theatrical release, Picture Stories will be released on digital download on 30th September. 

Britain’s best-selling magazine during the Second World War, and hugely influential for years after, Picture Post revolutionised the picture magazine, showing Britain to the British in a fundamentally new way. 

Using the freedom of new camera technology, Picture Post’s photographers portrayed the lives of ordinary people, at home, on the street, unposed – in a way they had never been seen before. 

Through its powerful, socially committed picture stories, Picture Post helped to transform post-war Britain, and change the face of British photography.

The story of this iconic magazine is told by its photographers, writers and editors. Leading contemporary photographers reflect on Picture Post’s extraordinary images and influence.
Commenting on the release, film director Rob West stated; “Picture Post is arguably the most important magazine in British social history. It was born under the threat of War, and survived and flourished under the intense bombardment of the Blitz. Extraordinarily, during the height of World War II, Picture Post was looking ahead to post-War life and to the possibility of fundamental social reform. 

Picture Post had a huge impact on national awareness of social conditions in Britain and of the need for a comprehensive welfare state and a national health service. It brought cutting-edge photography, and the picture story, to a mass audience. It changed people’s understanding of their own country by showing, vividly, what British life was really like. 

I wanted to bring the extraordinary story of Picture Post and its photographers to modern audiences. Many of things we take for granted in photography, and our understanding of photographs and picture layout, started with Picture Post. Many of our ideas about British society were forged by Picture Post and its unique group of creators.” 

UK screenings of Picture Stories wil take place from 15th September and will be available on Digital Download from 30th September. More info can be found at picturestoriesfilm.com

#picturestoriesfilm #picturepost

UK VOD Release: Laddie, The Man Behind The Movies

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Central City Media is delighted to announce that Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies will be available to rent and buy on Digital Download from 26th April. 

Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies is the story of the Alan Ladd Jr. the Oscar-winning producer and his daughter’s journey to get to know her father not just as “Dad”, but the way his collaborators do—as a doyen of modern American cinema. 

Through interviews with George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Affleck, Ron Howard, Morgan Freeman, Mel Brooks, Richard Donner, and more, Amanda Ladd-Jones endeavours to better understand her father, Alan Ladd, Jr. 

Known to all as Laddie, he is the understated studio chief and Oscar-winning producer behind such films as Star WarsAlienBlade RunnerChariots Of FirePolice AcademyBraveheartThe OmenThelma and LouiseYoung Frankenstein and Gone Baby Gone, whose intelligence, kindness, and unflagging faith in the people he hired turned him into one of the most successful movie moguls in Hollywood history. 
Commenting on the title, Sophie Wong, Managing Director of Central City Media, said, “We are delighted to be releasing Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies to UK and Ireland audiences. The film makes a compelling watch on how Alan Ladd Jr ‘Laddie’ greenlit many films where some have become great classic movies of all time.” 

Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies will available to rent and buy from 26th April on Sky Store, iTunes/ Apple, YouTube, Google Play and Rakuten