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Capital Champions British Shorts

Date posted: 10.01.2011

Starting life in 2004 as a four-day event with a Halloween theme at one central London location, the London Short Film Festival (LSFF) (7-16 January) is now one of the foremost festivals for short format in the UK.

Now in its eighth year, the Festival's success is largely down to the relentless work of founding director Philip Ilson and a small team who, year after year, attract the best of British short film-making talent and challenge fans to defy January's wintery bite with a feast of shorts.

Expanding Horizons

This year, the Festival includes around 250 new British shorts presented across 19 programmes which has jumped from 13 in last year's LSFF. Screenings are also taking place more widely across the city, with the number of venues almost doubling from 12 in 2010 to 22 this year and including alternative sites such as museums, restaurants, pubs and even a church. "It's important to get short film into spaces not normally associated with the medium. And with nearly 1000 UK shorts entered this year, with 250 chosen to screen, with so many people making them, it's great that so many people want to see them", explains Ilson.

The Festival's ambitious expansion has been made possible thanks to a growing number of partners, who got behind the LSFF premise of offering a rare platform for short film-makers "where we can see the future in some of the people who are forging ahead in spite of adversity", Ilson reflects, "the London Short Film Festival gives a perfect snapshot of UK film industry in 2011."

Through the UK Film Council's Cultural Film Exhibition Fund, Film London is supporting the expansion of the LSFF this year as well as the Festival's commitment to promoting diversity and extending its reach. To that end, the LSFF is hosting a Disability & Filmmaking screening and panel discussion - followed by a Film Nation film-making workshop for 19-25 year olds with a disability interested - and screenings of Black and Asian shorts.

"Public film exhibition in London is integral to showcasing new talent to audiences, and Film London is integral to nurturing this new talent and make sure the work gets seen. London is still seen as the centre of the UK film industry, and although the Festival features films from across the whole of the UK, it's a chance for those film-makers to have their work screened in front of diverse audiences in London. It also helps the Festival to reach new audiences, both from diverse backgrounds across other parts of London outside the centre", explains the Festival director.

Bursting with Content

Proving the short film industry is in good creative health despite the recession, the Festival is showcasing excellent new films alongside special events - check out Branchage Proposes Marriage for a wedding-themed extravaganza at Shoreditch Church for a good example.

Other additions to this year's programme are a screening of experimental shorts projected onto tabletops at a restaurant in Soho (Shorts a la Carte), Kino London - a film-making challenge to explore the 'psychogeography' of London - and Salon des Refuses, a curatorial experiment in which only films rejected by other festivals are included.

Other highlights include retrospectives on Film London-supported artist film-makers Clio Bernard (also winner at the recent BFI 54th London Film Festival) and Ben Rivers, and shorts produced by Film London including Albatross, The Park, I Luv Matt Johnson, Cowboys and Rite; Film London Best of Boroughs Film Awards 2010 (BoBs) nominees Elsewhere, Buriganga, By Hook, The Holiday, We Are What We Drink and BoBs winner Assessment.

On 13 January, Film London will also present the free industry event 'Real World: Routes Into Sustainable Practice for Film-makers', showing film-makers how to tap into the rich gaming, advertising and corporate production world whilst working on their own projects.

The Festival will come to an end with the Closing Night Awards Ceremony on 16 January, where the winner of the Best British Short, amongst others, will be announced.

The London Short Film Festival runs 7-16 January at several venues across the city. Check out the Festival's website for details on all events and screenings.

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