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The Establishing Shot: Sci-Fi-London Film Festival - What I needed to know before going - Sci-Fi-London 9

Friday, April 16, 2010 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

Sci-Fi-London 9With the 48 Hour Film making Challenge submissions being judged and only 2 weeks to go until one of the UK’s premiere film & Sci-Fi events: SCI-FI-LONDON kicks off. I’m going to be bringing you news and information about SCI-FI-LONDON in the run up, as well as excitingly from the festival as it happens! I have already reserved some seats and earmarked others for closer investigation.

However that’s the future this post is about stuff that I wanted to know before I visited the SCI-FI-LONDON festival for the first time.

What’s it all about?
SCI-FI-LONDON was started by Sci-Fi fan Louis Savy back in 2001. Borne out of an argument, in which the opposing side believed that Sci-Fi is too niche. To counter this Savy decided to start an event that showed good films (that happened to be Science Fiction) and talks about SCI-FI-LONDON as a Sci-Fi festival for non Sci-Fi fans.

Fast Forward to 2010 and now in its 9th year SCI-FI-LONDON is one of the UK’s premiere film events and is seen as the opening of London Film Season which ends with the London Film Festival in October. On my first visit it became apparent that SCI-FI-LONDON is more than just a film festival it's a platform that actively promotes thinking and engaging with real issues within the Sci-Fi realm as well as the real world. It also gives Sci-Fi aficionados the chance to interact with renowned Sci-Fi thinkers and Futurists! What does this all mean you may ask?

Well like Science Fiction, a single encompassing answer would do the festival a disservice so read on and hopefully it will become clearer.

When is it?
SCI-FI-LONDON is an annual event that typically stretches over a week at the end of April to make the most of the Bank holiday. This year the Festival runs from Weds 28 April till Mon 3 May. There are a couple of satellite events that take place at other times of the year including Oktoberfest a mini festival that takes place in October.

What happens?
Every year a central theme is chosen as focus for the festival. This year the festival looks at LIFE IN 2050.

From the SCI-FI-LONDON website:
Okay, so it is 2010, but wouldn’t it be fun to get a glimpse of how life might feel in 2050? Recently we have focused on the achievements of 40 years ago: the moon landing, the start of Arpanet (the origin of the Internet) and the humble computer mouse, and even the launch of the Jumbo Jet. The way we live has certainly altered – we travel and communicate faster than ever; we touchscreen our way around information and carry 1000s of songs in our pockets.

But what next? In 2050 what will we be nostalgic about? How will our daily lives be different? Work, travel, socialising... will anyone still smoke?

For this edition of the festival, we put LIFE IN 2050 under the spotlight. We have put together a series of themed LAB sessions in which to investigate the future of science, society and culture over the next 40 years.
The Festival itself consists of Film screenings and participatory events such as workshops, exhibitions or debates. This year the programme which is available in full here consists of:

The film shown typically eschews big American style blockbusters (although they do surface occasionally) and focuses on good films that integrally have Sci-Fi at their core. Some of the screenings may have introductions or QA sessions after. Check individual listings.

Some of the films shown will be having their UK Premiere or preview screenings well in advance of their release date. The opening night and closing night screenings are special and tickets for Splice & Cargo will go quickly so get your orders in asap.

Other screenings include; special once off screenings, classic screenings, free screenings (you need to book before the screening). Some will be little known works from masters of the genre, this year SFL looks at Polish Cinema.

Some of the films will be shown In situ with others of its genus as part of an all-nighter marathon including; Starcraft II All-nighter, Comedy All-nighter, Japan Alive All-nighter and Manga All-nighter

There are also 2 short film sessions taking place. These sessions are about 2 hours in length and made of a variety of short films. As well as Documentary screenings.

Most of the events are interactive and participation is encouraged. Some of the events are Gala opportunities to celebrate, some are invitation only events, others are debates, some hands on workshops and others the opportunity to interact with like minded individuals.

Where does SCI-FI-LONDON take place?
Nearly all of SCI-FI-LONDON 09 will take place in the centre of London at the space age Apollo Cinema Piccadilly Circus (19 Lower Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR). But some events will take place at other venues, do check individual listings before booking.

What do I need to come along to an event or a couple of events?
Two things: book or reserve your ticket and then turn up for the event.

For film screenings there are 4 price bands. Check the SCI-FI-LONDON site to ensure that prices are still current.
1. Screenings after 6.00pm - £12.00 (concs £8.50)
2. Screenings Before 6.00pm - £8.00 (concs £6.50)
3. All-nighters - £30.00 (no concs)
4. Special screenings – Free
1. All SCI-FI-LONDON LAB events - £4.00 (concs £3.00)
2. Special events - Free
What if I want to attend a number of screenings or events?
There are details of multi ticket offers and discounts on the SCI-FI-LONDON website.

Information, booking details and details of special offers can be found over at the SCI-FI-LONDON website

What do I do if I'm going to 2 events a couple of hours apart, or have some time to kill before an event?
The Apollo Cinema Piccadilly Circus is comfortable and for the duration of SCI-FI-LONDON - a hub of activity there is; a bar, refreshment area, comfortable seating, possibly a DJ (some of the time), as well as demo Game consoles to try your hand at some of the latest and greatest games. Or you could explore nearby London you will after all be in the heart of one of the greatest cities in the world.

What’s the general atmosphere of the festival? Do you have to dress up?
Laid back with lots of friendly new faces about. Think of it as a whole lot of people interested in aspects of the same thing converging in one place. Wear what ever you feel comfortable in (including Cosplay) although nakedness will probably be frowned upon. If you are going to be exploring London wear comfortable shoes. It’s probably worth noting that goody/SWAG bags are handed out randomly at screenings and events to add to the cheer. See laid back with lots of friendly new faces about. Often groups will hang around the bar area after screenings or head off to a nearby pub to discuss the days happenings.

What about travel, accommodation, etc.
SCI-FI-LONDON covers this on their website so head over here for more information.

I think that covers the basics for now but head over to the SCI-FI-LONDON website as there is a wealth of information, the full SCI-FI-LONDON 09 Programme, forums, more videos than you can shake a stick out, Podcasts and merchandise.

What I needed to know about Sci-Fi-London before going.

Apollo Apollo Piccadilly Circus
19 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR

Weds 28 April - Mon 3 May, 2010

More info at SCI-FI-LONDON or get tickets at 0871 220 6000 or directly through the Apollo Cinemas Website