Our Picks for London Short Film Festival 2021

by Sarah Kathryn Cleaver on 13 January 2021

Beginning this Friday 15 January, London Short Film Festival goes digital and worldwide for the first time. With affordable ticket prices and a guarantee to show viewers something they might not otherwise discover, there's unearthed archive gems and surprising new talent. Here's what we're booking to watch from our kitchen tables, from Afrofuturist opera and much needed laughs to deep and meaningful conversations hosted on Twitch.

Beginning this Friday 15 January, London Short Film Festival goes digital and worldwide for the first time. With affordable ticket prices and a guarantee to show viewers something they might not otherwise discover, there's unearthed archive gems and surprising new talent. Here's what we're booking to watch from our kitchen tables, from Afrofuturist opera and much needed laughs to deep and meaningful conversations hosted on Twitch.

OPENING NIGHT: Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: an Opera

Made in 2014 but rarely seen since being withdrawn from exhibition in 2014 in protest at art world racism, Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: an Opera is a genre-bending, 35 part visual epic offering radical, expansive perspectives on Blackness. Created by the Black and predominantly queer art collective HowDoYouSayYaminAfrican?, the piece looks set to be an explosive and challenging start to the film festival, which through-out its lifetime has prided itself on giving screen-space and visibility to unconventional films and filmmakers. LSFF's rare screening is followed by a Q&A hosted by TIFF programmer and writer Lydia Ogwang.

WOMEN'S LIB DEMONSTRATION NYC, dir. Videofreex

RADICAL TV: Videofreex

Long before smartphones made every interaction televisable, pioneering video collective the Videofreex used a cheap and portable Sony Portapak camera to report on cultural and political events. Documenting the redical protests of the 60s and 70s, and interviewing the decade’s defining civil rights and anti-war activists, the group sought to democratise the medium of television. Watch a selection of their films – including very timely footage of Black Panther Fred Hampton speaking eloquently and passionately about the Free Breakfast for Children Program – and stay for a post-screening Q&A with Videofreex members Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, Davidson Gigliotti and Mary Curtis Ratcliff.

INTERMISSION YOUTH: Shakespeare on Smartphone

INTERMISSION YOUTH: Shakespeare on Smartphone

In response to the extraordinary events of 2020, Intermission Youth founded a filmmaking initiative putting Shakespeare to screen with its makers’ smartphones. Wolf Hall's Mark Rylance hosts this panel discussion on first-time film making, smartphones and Shakespeare as inspiration, interspersed with the ten short films produced by young Londoners.

Talk Radio (2020) from NEW SHORTS: Funny Shit

NEW SHORTS: Funny Shit

It's there in the title, I don't know about you but I need something lighthearted to watch this month, since (as I just saw on a Instagram meme) I'm beginning to suspect 2021 is just two 2020s in a trench coat. A census collector dealing with a conspiracy theorist, ASMR for white liberals and a telenovela set at a funeral in Woking are some of the shorts on offer in this programme of comedies. Talk Radio featuring beloved Spaced actress Julia Deacon sounds like a highlight.

The Name I Call Myself (2020) from UK Competition: Lessons in Survival

UK COMPETITION: Lessons in Survival

A genre bending music video starring Riz Ahmed, a compassionate perspective on migrants selling souvenirs at the foot of the Eiffel tower and Black LCBTQ identities captured joyously by Dazed 100 artist Rhea Dillon; the Lessons in Survival competition programme looks certain to challenge our concepts of what it means to survive.

ONLINE TOGETHER: Live Chat

Feeling lonely? Chaired by The White Pube's Gabrielle de la Puente and hosted on Twitch, this panel discussion explores gaming and digital art to answer the question of how to stay connected in an online world.

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