London Short Film Festival 2019 preview: new radical world

Pratibha Parmar’s A Place of Rage (1991)

Get ready for the 16th edition of the UK’s premier independent short film festival running for 10 days from 11-20 January 2019. Celebrating the energy of ’80s culture this year, the London Short Film Festival (LSFF) presents a rich programme of UK and international short films from across the platforms of music, culture, politics, LGBTQ+ and BAME.

“Open Door” It Ain’t Half Racist, Mum (TV Episode 1979)

Alongside the support of the BFI, LSFF’s programming partnerships this year also include Africa Is A Country, the Stuart Hall Foundation and London Migration Festival looking into black British presence on screen. Stuart Hall’s televisual legacy will be reflected in the event It (still) Ain’t Half Racist Mum! with the screening of the original 1979 episode from the BBC’s Open Door series (1973-1983) alongside artist Hetain Patel’s Don’t Look at the Finger (2017). The event will be further enamoured with a roundtable discussion on race, representation and cultural production with Patel, Research Fellow & Archive Curator Matt Harle, Sue Woodford-Hollick (Chair of the Stuart Hall Foundation) and chair Clive Nwonka (LSE).

Sandra Goldbacher’s Polka Dots and Moonbeams (1983)

The festival opens at the ICA with Now! That’s What I Call ‘80s Short Film, a mini retrospective of the ‘80s decade with works by now established British directors including Clio Barnard, Andrew Kötting, Sally Potter, Julian Temple and Ngozi Onwurah. All That Scratching Is Making Me Itch (in association with LUX), also a festival opener, is a celebration of the early ’80s British video art movement Scratch Video. Accompanied by multi-screen projection and live performance from Wrangler Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltair) and more, the festival will present works by Duvet Brothers, Gorilla Tapes, George Barber, Sandra Goldbacher, Kim Flitcroft and John Hanlon at the ICA theatre.

Cooly G

Other music highlights include History of Hyperdub, one of UK’s most celebrated underground electronic labels, with DJ sets from pioneer of U.K. funky Cooly G and cosmic, politicised r’n’b project Okzharp of DJ-producer Gerv Gordon. And if this isn’t enough, a programme of era-defining gems in Derek Jarman: The Music Videos will feature videos for The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, The Mighty Lemon drops, Suede and Easterhouse from the passionate British queer maverick. Following the programme, there will be a MUBI-hosted Jarman disco with guest DJs at BFI’s Blue Room.

Derek Jarman’s Broken English (1979)

LSFF will also present Club des Femmes: I Want a Dyke for President, a programme of queer works in the context of #FuckTrump that give way to another radical reality that celebrates all fabrics of society. It also highlights how queer filmmakers and artists have revolutionised our society through Pratibha Parmar’s visionary feminist classic A Place of Rage (1991) accompanied by its rarely screened short sister, A Poem About My Rights (2011) featuring June Jordan. The legacy of Parmar’s film will be further enriched with a screening of Adinah Dancyger’s 2016 re-up of Zoe Leonard’s poem I Want A Dyke For President performed by Mykki Blanco.

Photograph by Rohan Ayinde

The festival will close with A Constellation of Cosmic Queens, a programme of Afrofuturist short films from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and the US and on its closing night No Woman Is An Island will showcase black women artists from London synthesising Afrofuturistic electronic experiments, NTS regular Nkisi – who will be performing an exclusive live premiere ahead of her album launch (7 Directions) in January 2019 – co-curator and resident DJ at Corsica Studio’s club night ø, Shannen SP, and looper musician and poet Xana. Expect irresistible afrobeats and cosmic pictures!

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