Mention that you like science fiction and fantasy films on a first date and you can pretty much guarantee you’ll never get a second. Why? Because, unfair as it may seem, the average Joe still considers science fiction to be a genre for geeks and weirdos. For them, the very mention of sci-fi is likely to stir up connotations of acne-covered teens, Trekkies arguing over who has the better Klingon accent and overweight men wearing glittery alien antennae. So what can you do, if like me, you’re one of millions of very normal, non-geeky people who just happen to like sci-fi?
Well, thankfully the 3rd Annual London Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival (Sci-Fi London3) is here to save us. Promising to take a "serious look at science fiction and fantasy film", the festival runs in Central London from 30th January – 1st February and is packed full with worthwhile events.
Taking place at The Curzon Soho and The Other Cinema, the festival prides itself on being the UK’s only film festival dedicated to the science fiction and fantasy genre and is very clearly aimed at as diverse an audience as possible. So any sci-fi geeks reading this, don’t go expecting to see back-to-back episodes of Star Trek or catch a heated debate on what the best coloured light-sabre is, because that’s not what the festival is about. What it is about, however, is the foregrounding of unique and visually stunning new products as well as the long overdue reprisal of some sadly forgotten classics. Meaning that in the past, the festival has played host films such as Solaris, THX 1138, Soylent Green and premiered The Mothman Prophecies and Ken Russell’s The Fall of the Louse of Usher.
This year, the festival’s line-up is particularly strong, including the World Premiere of eerie tale Spectres, and the UK Premieres of 2009 Lost Memories, Luminal and Takeshi Miike’s Full Metal Yakuza. Some of the other films being screened include the first episode of Universal/Sky Movies’ Battlestar Galactica, the multi-award winning Robot Stories, the John Lennon inspired documentary Where has eternity gone?, the ultra-cool, Bladerunner-esque Natural City and the classics Android, Forbidden Planet and my own childhood favourite, The Dark Crystal. And for all you insomniacs out there, there are of course the ‘All-nighters’, the first of which, entitled ‘Aliens ‘N’ Predators’, serves up a tasty dish of nasty bugs, beast and biters in the form of Event Horizon, The Thing, Pitch Black and Resident Evil.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there is also a chance to catch live stand-up comedy with X-Files Lone Gunman and Spectres star Dean Haglund, The Douglas Adams Memorial Debate on sex and technology, a range of sci-fi shorts from around the globe and a chance to quiz director Ray Brady on the making of his new British martial arts/sci-fi movie.
To find out more about the festival, including full programme listings and ticket information visit the Sci-Fi London3 website at http://www.sci-fi-london.com. Also keep a look out on kamera.co.uk for reviews of Luminal and Android very soon.