In case you hadn’t noticed, films are sort of a big thing in London right now. Pop-up mania spread from clothes to food to film sometime in late 2010, and came to a head last year, with fly-by-night cinemas popping up wherever they liked - in cemeteries, under flyovers, amongst the creative heartlands of Hackney Wick. It’s been the cool thing to do for a while now, but all too often, the films are very safe, almost boringly so: great if all you want from your movies is a rose-tinted trip down memory lane, not so great for exposing the plethora of interesting and challenging films out there.
So thank God for the London Independent Film Festival, now in its 9th year and still going strong. The premise is simple: a platform for first- and second-time filmmakers to showcase low-budget work that otherwise wouldn’t get shown due to the difficulty of distribution. For many it’s the only chance they have for exposure, and the schedule is jam-packed with names you wouldn’t have heard of. But that’s part of the beauty of it – you choose films because the plot sounds interesting, not because of the star-studded cast.
Plus, with most screenings being short films, themes ranging from sci-fi to horror to documentary, and free entry (apart from a few feature-length films which charge a minimum £2 for the pleasure) chances are, something will appeal like the award-winning Dimensions: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads (pictured). So before you head down to the multiplex for the latest release, check out the offerings at ROXY Bar & Screen or Shortwave Cinemaand see if you can’t get your film fix there instead. (Words: Jane Duru)
The London Independent Film Festival runs 12 – 23 April. For more info, visit www.londonindependent.org