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Documentaries at the London Lift-Off Film Festival 2012

We’re one day late due to the hectic week at IDFA but nonetheless we would like to draw your attention to the London Lift-Off Film Festival which is currently taking place in London.

Get yourself down to the Tricycle Cinema in Kilburn or the Curzon Soho for a selection of great independent as well as student documentaries.

The London Lift-Off Film Festival was established in 2011 by co-founders James Alexander and Ben Pohlman whose aim was to “give filmmakers, who don’t yet have the budgets to create festival-friendly work, the opportunity to showcase their talents to a wider audience”. Fittingly, the festival’s motto is to “look beyond the gloss.” Filmmakers are being rewarded with screenings based on their talent and potential, never on the production value of their work.

The idea is to create a network of filmmaking professionals, that span the Atlantic who can share ideas, resources and contacts. With festivals in London, Liverpool, Long Beach and Las Vegas, the two organisers seem to be creating what they’d aimed for.

Though you missed the chance to see the 11-minute long documentary Ingxaki ká Nobesuthu yesterday at the Tricycle cinema in London, in which a Xhosa woman tells the story of her life long struggle with severe poverty in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, there is still plenty more to see this week.

Today (Tues 27 Nov), also at the Tricycle, the festival is screening films between 3.30pm and 5.30pm. One thing screening is the short documentary I Want to Say (27 minutes, USA). This doc shows that touch technology has had the potential to open up a new world of communication, learning and social possibilities for those with autism.

Here’s the trailer:


On top of this the festival is screening seven short features, one animated short and the screenplay of Warewives in London, by Bruce Gadel, will have a rehearsed reading directed by Mazin Power.

Tomorrow there’s more shorts on at the same venue, same time but now with two short docs on the programme.

The first is Walk Tall (11 minutes, UK). Walk Tall is a short animated/live action portrait of ex-Olympic gymnast and good posture advocate George Weedon. Although 90 at the time of filming, George is still bringing everyday objects into the gym hall, his habits demonstrate that we don’t need to pay for expensive gym memberships in order to be happy and healthy.

The second is Bagong Silang (10 minutes, UK/The Philippines) which is a film about a community that inhabit a cemetery. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, has a population of 20 million, space is thus limited and this is why many thousand’s of families have taken to squatting and even living in the city’s cemeteries.

Evening screenings

Tomorrow evening (28 Nov) the shorts & feature awards screenings of the festival will take place at the Curzon Soho. The programme starts at 9pm and finishes at 11.30pm.

Here’s what to expect:

Killing Anna (29 minute, Australia) Documentary.
After his long term girlfriend asked him to move out. The filmmaker finds himself wishing that she had instead died in a tragic accident. In order to investigate his attitudes towards loss and grief he organises and performs a funeral service as if her death was real…and films the entire process.


Shooting Freetown (29 minutes, UK) Documentary.
A decade since Sierra Leone’s devastating civil war, from the ashes rises a new dawn of creativity in audio-visual media. Inspired by Jean Rouch’s ‘shared anthropology’ and ‘ethno-fiction’, Shooting Freetown follows three people forging their way in the film and music industry in the nation’s capital, facing the constant struggles with vision and resourcefulness.

Without (87 minutes, USA) London Lift-Off Best Feature Narrative Award 2012.
On a remote wooded island, a young woman becomes caretaker to an elderly man in a vegetative state. She has no cell signal, no Internet. Only a year removed from high school and forced to meet the needs of a man who cannot respond, Joslyn vacillates between finding solace in his company and feeling fear and suspicion towards him.

On Thursday evening (9pm-11.30pm) at the Curzon there’s another selection of docs to see:

Women of Fukushima (27 minutes, Japan) Documentary.
Six Japanese women offer brutally honest views on the state of the clean-up, the cover-ups and untruths since the nuclear accident in Fukushima, and how it has affected their lives, homes and families.

Holding the Line (25 minutes, UK/Libya) Documentary.
Solo filmmaker Patrick Wells spent three weeks living on the front line with the Martyr’s Brigade, a group of Libyan rebel fighters defending their besieged home city of Misrata. ‘Holding the Line’ is the result, an intimate portrait of citizen soldiers at war. 

Der Schneekönig (72 minutes, Germany) Feature Documentary.
In the late 80s, Miehling supplied Hamburg’s in-crowd with cocaine, buying directly from Colombian drug cartels. His world was divided into two halves: one with money, fast cars and women, and the other with torture, death and imprisonment. “Blacky”, as they call him, bathed in 400 bottles of champagne while his most important Dutch partner was doused with gasoline and set on fire.

For more information on the festival and to buy tickets, please visit the Lift-Off Film Festival website by clicking here.


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One Response to "Documentaries at the London Lift-Off Film Festival 2012"

  1. Paul Huchings says:

    Yesterday’s screenings were excellent. Some real talent out there, such a shame that money is the only thing that now stands in their way. Wonderful programme!!