PREVIEW: LGBT+ and BAME works prominent in London Short Film Festival

Paul Gustafson December 14, 2017

London Short Film Festival (LSFF) announces its full 2018 programme, screening over 500 UK and international short films over 10 days, from January 12-21, 2018.


Now in its 15th year, LSFF is an established and important addition to the film calendar, bringing inclusive and ground-breaking film-making from a diverse range of backgrounds. And as a champion of diverse and inclusive film, LSFF continues to see a huge contribution from women, LGBT+ and BAME filmmakers. This year for the first time there will also be a programme led by and for the D/deaf community.

LGBT+ content this year is led by long time LSFF collaborators New Queer Visions.

Highlights include:

♦  Don’t Look Back in Anger, a programme of films looking at the nature of hate and positivity, with touching stories about queer characters dealing with ups, downs, and everything in between.
♦  Medium Rare, a programme of medium length short films exploring the mixed-up mind of an impressionable young man.
♦  Radical Softness Through a Haptic Lens, a retrospective of the works of Barbara Hammer, feminist filmmaker and one of the pioneers of lesbian film, and Chick Strand, avant-garde documentary filmmaker. The films examine the idea of ‘radical softness’ – the power that can be found in in being both abrasively feminine and openly vulnerable. Rare screenings of Superdyke and Soft Fictions will also be followed by a Skype Q&A with Barbara Hammer.
♦  Cruelty and Crime, showcasing key works of American writer Chris Kraus. “From feminist readings of Antonin Artaud to Cold War sleeper agents, via dominatrices and New York City crime scenes, these films are filled with humour, sexuality, abjection, metaphor, allusion, an insatiable curiosity and a Dadaist sense of provocation and absurdity.”
♦  Tearoom, a 2007 film by William E Jones reworking 1962 police footage of men cruising in a public toilet. The experimental video art project shows how surveillance is used as a blunt tool of oppression. The footage shown was eventually used as evidence to prosecute the men for sodomy and public deviancy.
Prior to the screening LSFF will also be showcasing Robert Yang’s software game The Tearoom, a cruising simulation made in direct response to the film. On first release the game fell foul of the censors, and so in a bold piece of satirical provocation Yang replaced all the penises with guns. The game was then successfully passed uncut.

Filmmaker Sam Ashby will also present a newly commissioned work in response to Tearoom, followed by a post screening discussion of the themes highlighted in the work.

A screening of one of the early films of Francis Lee, whose critically acclaimed full-length feature God’s Own Country was released earlier this year

BAME Highlights include: 

♦  Julie Dash’s ground-breaking 1991 film Daughters of the Dust, a multigenerational tale of black women from the Gullah sea islands struggling to hold on to their culture. In 2016 the film became an inspiration for Beyonce’s Lemonade tour.
♦  Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, a 2009 film synthesising an awe-inspiring consciousness of Allah with hard-core punk music and fusing Muslim and American culture. There will also be a panel discussion, Muslim Punk and the New Subculture, hosted by filmmaker Hammad Khan.
Hammad Khan’s Anima State, arguably one of the most important films to come out of Pakistan. The film is an uncomfortable, in-your-face examination of the country’s violence, to its apathy, and to its refusal to recognise its moral corruption in every single facet of Pakistani society.
♦ A focus on pioneer Ngozi Onwurah’s body of work which weaves autobiographical narrative with astute socio-political observation. The first Black British woman filmmaker to have a feature film released in UK cinemas, her legacy is celebrated with a screening of early works and a panel discussion.
The House is Black, a screening of the only known film by one of Iran’s greatest 20th century poets Farough Farrokazad. The film depicts an isolated community of lepers living in North-Western Iran, and is sound-tracked by a reading from the poet herself.

This year’s festival also sees another first with a premiere screening exclusively for D/deaf audiences, curated by LSFF’s Deaf Young Programmer Zoe McWhinney.

Save The Date, a selection of archive and contemporary short films, brings stories about D/deaf culture and experience to the screen. The screening, at BFI Southbank, will be fully supported by BSL interpreters, and films will include BSL dialogue, and/or subtitles.

For more information and a full events schedule click here: