Monday 10 January 2011

The 8th London Short Film Festival

Last Friday saw the launch of the London Short Film Festival, which runs until January 16th at various deliciously sexy venues across this great nation's wonderful, though slightly crowded and frankly a bit noisy, capital.
This is a good thing because a) I like films and b) I have limited patience, so any movie lasting under six minutes is fine by me. The festival will show over 250 shorts from UK-based filmmakers over its ten-day run, with a mouth-watering selection of strands. If you can't find something in there to tickle your pickle then there's every chance you've died without realising it. There are also discussions, industry events, live events, installations, retrospectives and all that gubbins that people like at their film festivals.

I hauled my lazy ass to the Soho Curzon on Saturday to see the "Fucked Up Love" programme: nine films based on a romantic theme, but not in an Owen-Wilson-Kate-Hudson kind of way, thank Christ, more in an Isn't-Love-Simultaneously-Great-Rubbish-Unpredictable-And-Occasionally-Planet-Saving way.

In all honesty I expected a Watchable to Unwatchable ratio of about 2:7 but was delighted to get a Really Very Good to Perfectly Reasonable ratio of 6:3. It would be difficult to pick a favourite but Ian Hothersall's Edgar Wrightesque Once Upon A Time On Earth had aliens, robots and explosions (I'm easily pleased), Jack Herbert's Now Or Never was as packed with unlikely action as it was with stolen-pen-based LOLs and Joe Rosen's Blind Date had a hilarious script but would have benefited from a tripod in its early scenes.
The Incredible Suit heartily recommends that you too haul your lazy ass to your nearest London if at all possible in order to have a good time while supporting upcoming British filmmakers. Who knows, you might see something by the next Douglas Bubbletrousers.

Here's a trailer for a short you've already missed called In The Meadow; it was very good so I'm assuming everything else will be too.

Newsnight Review Corner: Lots of these films were made with the support of the UK Film Council, thereby proving its vital role in supporting new British filmmaking talent. Now that it's been murdered and dumped in a ditch and its work now has to be done by the BFI, will that support continue? Will it increase? Or is it all about to get even harder for struggling British directors? I don't know. I'm not Mark Lawson, am I?


  1. Ratios are expressed using the simplest numbers. Thus 6:3 is really 2:1 or you could just say that for every two good films you saw another was a dud.

    Films are made to make money, and there is no market for short films so they are economic duds. No wonder the makers rely on subsidy. If shorts are important to the mega million bucks film industry why does it not fund them? Why should the British taxpayer fund an industry that is already endowed with riches?

  2. Well 3 is a prime number so I can't make it any lower than that. 2:1 would be statistically inaccurate and I hate being statistically inaccurate.

    As for your second remark, I'll hand you over to Kwame Kwei Armah or Germaine Greer or whoever's on this week's show.

  3. I hate to labour the point, but you commented on the ratio of watchable to unwatchable films which is 2:1 regardless of if you saw 100 watchable and 50 unwatchable or 400 watchable and 200 unwatchable films. The statistic of the number of films is a different matter. (I am relying on school maths I was taught in the 1960s)

    I have no doubt that 'Art' is worth supporting. Opera, which I love, depends on subsidy or sponsorship. My argument is financial not artistic. Michaelangelo was sponsored by a pope to paint the Sistine Chapel. Alive today he would be working in advertising because the agencies can afford the best artists. It is not the job of the state to support the film industry to make non commercial films.

  4. A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number that has exactly two distinct natural number divisors: 1 and itself.

    6:3 has as a common factor 3.
    3/3 = 1 6/3 = 2

    Ratio is 2:1


  6. Many European states fund cinema for the purpose of creating art rather than making money. This principle is carried through production to distribution where, in France at least, films that are state funded must be shown in cinemas alongside Hollywood imports. Homegrown french cinema is just a popular with the cinema going public there as US and UK films. Also: a hell of a lot more Frenchies (as they prefer to be known, probably) actually PAY to go to the cinema, rather than the download culture in the US and the UK which has sprung out of films and cinemas not being good enough for the public.

    State funding of cinema in the RIGHT WAY works for all concerned.

    Also: why is Opera better than Cinema? You say Opera depends on subsidy because it makes no money. Well... Short Films make no money (by your own admission) and so why do they not deserve subsidy?

    And Mr. Suit, you are correct. You are not Mark Lawson. I for one appreciate this.

  7. This is such a great event. Thanks for sharing and regards from London Hotels

  8. I never stated that Opera is better than film, I love both. I recognise that art in all its forms often depends on subsidy. A ticket for a Covent Garden seat covers about a third of the actual production cost. Perhaps those bankers with their bonuses could be generous and support short film production and exhibition. I don't see why the state should be involved. Luckily, having the same language as the USA we in UK have great interchange of finance and production. If the French want to prop up their movies, then bon chance to them.

  9. I don't see why the state should fund Opera. Why can't greedy banker's do it? Discuss..

    (side note: I do see why opera should be helped by the state, i'm merely trying to make the point that if opera can get arts council funding because it doesn't turn a commercial profit, then why is it the short film industry shouldn't receive state funding because it doesn't turn a commercial profit?)

  10. This conversation is terribly highbrow for The Incredible Suit. I'm in serious danger of gaining some credibility.

    Still, keep it up, I'm learning all the time.