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Gareth Edwards On Sci-Fi London

Date posted: 20.04.2011

Each year hundreds of sci-fi fans descend on the capital to take part in the Sci-Fi-London 48 hour film-Challenge as part of the Sci-Fi London Film Festival (23 April - 2 May). Armed with a camera, random title, prop and a line of dialogue, the team must produce a 3 to 5 minute film. In 2008 aspiring film-maker Gareth Edwards won the Challenge with his short Factory Farmed.

Edwards recalls that his motivation to enter the competition was to try out a new piece of film-making kit he had discovered - adaptors for digital cameras which made the output look like that of a cinematic 35mm camera.

Edwards explains "that was the missing link really...low-fi digital guerilla film-making always looked like you shot it on video no matter what you did. Then suddenly these lens adaptors meant it looked as beautiful as a 35mm film and I bought one and I desperately wanted an excuse to try it and that's when I saw the advert for the 48hour film challenge".

Edward remembers how he used the competition to literally kick start his career saying "you always make excuses to put things off and I thought I'm just gonna go for it. And if I'm going to have the sort of career I want I should be able to do this or else I'm kidding myself...if you always put things off until it's perfect you'll never ever do anything."

Edwards' prize winning short film caught the attention of the producers who got behind his debut feature, Monsters. The big-budget concept made on a shoestring budget ($15,000) became a huge hit winning a BAFTA, rave reviews and box office success. Edwards has since been lined up by Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight) to direct a Godzilla remake for Warner Bros.

Edwards credits Factory Farmed and winning the 48 hour film-Challenge with giving him a massive confidence boost and making him realise "you could make a feature film for very little money and it still look cinematic."

When thinking about his next move Edwards decided to pursue an idea he'd had for monster movie as it "seemed the easiest to do". He knew he needed an idea that would "cost no money, will be very commercial, should look big, a genre film and be easy to do and no financial risk whatsoever". He goes onto explain that "as soon as you get that idea, the irony is there will be loads of people willing [to finance it]...because it's exactly what producers want".

The Sci-Fi London Film Festival is one of the most exciting festivals in the capital. A hotbed for talent with heavy weights such as John Landis, Marc Caro and Vincenzo Natali sitting on the judging panel in previous years, has seen its cult reputation is growing.

This year Gareth Edwards joins the jury alongside Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim) and Mary Lambert (Pet Cemetary, Dark Path). The winner of the 48 Hour film-Challenge will receive a development deal with Vertigo Films. Winners will be announced at the festival on 27 April and entries can be viewed on youtube.

The Festival is also now home of The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the most prestigious award for science fiction literature in Britain, and recognised as one of the most prestigious science fiction awards in the world.

Highlights of this year's Festival include screenings of The Gerber Syndrome, Pig and You Are Here as well as closing night film Super. The 10 day extravaganza includes an Easter Parade on 24 April. Leading the parade will be, Zombie Will & Kate, to mark the Royal Wedding, joined by cosplayers, zombies, stormtroopers, steampunks, daywalkers and superheroes, gathering at noon outside the BFI Southbank.

Don't forget to turn on the Sci-Fi layer to Film London's google map - Love from London for your Sci-fi guide to the capital!

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