There’s nothing we like better here at GGUK than a festival jammed packed with quirky, beautiful, crazy mad films, events and games so we blatantly ignored the sunshine and headed into the dark inner sanctum of the Apollo Cinema Piccadilly to see what Sci-Fi London – the international festival of science fiction and film had on offer and here’s our highlights.
We arrived on Thursday and helped drink the bar dry with the ladies of London Girl Geek Dinners. Anna Higgs of Quark Films and producer of “The People Vs George Lucas” was very passionate, articulate and charming about her projects, despite being ill and gave us an insight into her latest project about the Student protests. We also listened to Leilani Holmes from film-makers networking group OTT who described how involuntary directing a 23 second animated movie about dinosaurs has changed her life. London Girl Geek Dinners is all about like-minded females who work in or blog about all things wonderfully technical or geeky, informally coming together to eat food, drink wine and talk geek, so was a great way to start our time at SFL.
We went from this into the Royal Wedding All-Nighter. Bucks Fizz, Haagen Dazs and 5 monstrous black and white films including the eternally iconic “The Bride of Frankenstein” got us through to 6:30am before we wandered to Trafalgar Square to squint at a giant screen (half obscured by silly union jack hats) and sing the national anthem with thousands of people. The actual Royal Wedding felt rather gentile after the horror of “The Corpse Vanishes” or the even better Bela Lugosi melodramatic performance in “Bride of the Monster” or maybe it was the copious quantities of Mountain Dew also consumed during the night that made us want a bit more drama. Congrats to Will and Kate anyway.
Back at SFL and during the weekend we attended the free comic event at the BFI which as well as supporting small press/indepenant publishers, had fabulous panel discussions including winners of the 2010 and 2011 Manga Jiman competition, plus there was talk about Warren Ellis, the new series “The City of Abacus” by musician VV Brown and how to write comics for a younger audience. We picked up quite a few SteetPasses at this event proving how comics and games events often attract a similar audience. Before heading back to the Apollo, Dean Haglund (he of the previously long blond hair and star of the X-Files) was in Q&A with director Phil Leirness after the world premiere of their new documentary film “The Truth Is Out There” where Dean travels the globe hunting down the facts behind a variety of conspiracy theories. Thought provoking yet delivered with a fine balance humour, warmth and genuine curiosity/investigation, it left us with that eerie feeling that the whole world probably is made up of secrets and mystery and that eating the pips of apples is okay!
The Truth Is Out There – Trailer by SFLTV
Saturday evening, we celebrated getting over 20 StreetPasses throughout the day as we settled down for the incredible “Akira” in HD and the astoundingly brilliant, vibrant colour and loud sound spectacle that is “RedLine” as part of the Anime All-Nighter. Adrenaline junkies and Manga fans should definitely check out RedLine. If this were a game it would run all other racers off the track – absolutely loved it.
The last day of the festival always causes a buzz, not just because the closing film is always fantastic – in this case the incredibly violent yet laugh out loud funny “Super” starring Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon, Liv Tyler and Rainn Wilson as the wrench welding Crimson Bolt but because it’s also when the notorious SFL pub quiz takes place. Thankfully, there were a couple of questions about gaming (though at the time we couldn’t think which game Dr Fred Eddison featured in…) so we didn’t come rock bottom last but the atmosphere and banter was a brilliant way to spend the bank holiday!
Super – Trailer by SFLTV
We said our goodbyes to the boys and girls on the Nintendo 3DS “Believe Your Eyes” stand (after changing the colour of their Mii’s outfits so we could progress to the next stage of the StreetPass Quest – and don’t try and tell me you have never dipped into your local game shop on the high street to do the same thing!!!) before heading home.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary, SFL has always aimed to challenge Sci-Fi stereotypes and be inclusive and fun for everyone with an interest in the different, unusual, independent or exciting. Congratulations to Louis and his team for delivering yet another incredibly varied and friendly fest. We had a fantastic time and can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.