Last week, I had the opportunity to spend some time at The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film. It’s better known as, in a less keyboard bashing way, Sci-Fi London. As the UK’s only film festival dedicated to Science Fiction, it is the best place to see new independent films in a genre I love.
I didn’t get to see the whole programme, I attended on three days, the whole Saturday and half of Wednesday and Sunday. So, I ended up watching about a third of the offerings. I’m going to split my thoughts into two parts. Today, I’m going to quickly write about some of the short films that I enjoyed and, in the next post I’ll write about each of the feature films that I watched. I’ll also add in some observations about the festival as a whole the second part.
There be spoilers ahead.
A group of young people are out on a night out, and they come across a scientist type woman acting nervously. Some of the group end up on the same train as the woman and, decide for a lark to take a selfie on her phone. They unfortunately end up getting sucked into her phone. A really solid premise which I thought played it’s sci-fi connection well. This is why I don’t take selfies.
This was my personal favourite of the short films. The film begins with a pilot escaping from an alien fleet, then moves onto a story about a pair of siblings. The sister is getting annoyed with her brother pretending to have the power of precognition. I really enjoyed how it linked both plots together, and it is great example of how you can be moved by a short story.
Cosmic Dental Associates of Clifton, NJ
Are you in need of a filling for that black hole that has appeared in your tooth? Then the Cosmic Dental Associates of Clifton, NJ is the place for you! An absolutely hilarious advertisement for a dental practice with a twist. It was really silly in that sort of classic American homemade advert style.
Doctor of Monster
It’s career day at school, and the students are sharing what careers they want to be when they grow up. Everyone wants to have a normal type job, except one boy who wants to be a doctor for monsters. He’s laughed at. That night he is visited by a monster with a broken horn which he fixes, which then goes to school with him the next day. This is simply a fun little film.
M.A.M.O.N. (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide)
Bunch of Mexicans get thrown over a wall and then got attacked by a Robo-Trump. This short film was simply ridiculous, and I laughed haplessly throughout it. Of course it was a dig at President Trump, but it was so over the top that you couldn’t take it seriously. I suppose that the bigger takeaway was that the filmmakers thought that they could get away with making something like this.
Memorial to the Future
A mini-documentary about the town of Riverside, Iowa in the United States, future birthplace of Captain James T Kirk. I should have felt that they were a little sad, cerebrating the future life of a fictional character. However, it is such an American thing to do, and you soon realise that they aren’t in it for the money (they lose money), but for the local pride.
Once Upon a Planet
The concept of this is very simple, how aliens get naked pictures of both a man and a woman. Of course, to man exposes himself within ten seconds. Yes, it was that juvenile, but I still laughed at it. The clever thing, was the use of fake Morse code (through lights) as the main form of communication. I suppose all you need to change is the subtitles between different languages.
This won the prize for best short during the festival. In a world where clones have more or less taken over, the original person that was used as the template for the newly elected President of the United States makes a stand. Seemingly a teaser for a somewhat bigger story, I liked the contrast between the original and his clones. How depressing would you feel if you realised how much potential you had wasted in your life?
The Super Recogniser
In the future people with photographic memories are employed by the state to find people through CCTV and the like. One of these Super Recognisers begins to question his purpose. I liked the concept behind this, the idea that… I also appreciated the IT bod who turns up and decides to fix things by switching it off and on again.
There you have it, a quick rundown of the short films I enjoyed at this year’s Sci-Fi London.