It may not have as deserted as 28 DAYS LATER, but a sunny Easter Monday in London is pretty quiet compared with its usual hustle and bustle and traffic congestion, no doubt a complete contrast to this coming Friday's activities. Despite the holidays there were still plenty of people willing to shun the warm spring sunshine for the neon coloured dungeons of the Apollo Cinema for some quality indie sci-fi.
The afternoon began with a mixed bag based around Dystopian TV. First up was humorous reading of a new episode of Kaldor City where Iago (Paul Darrow) reveals "the truth" about his origins to an interrogator (Patricia Merrick). This was followed by the unaired pilot of Irwin Allen's 1960s' cult TV series Time Tunnel. If Irwin Allen's TV shows rock your nostalgia boat all the way to the bottom of the sea, then you should check out our FREE Irwin Allen Allnighter on Thursday.
Once back in the present it was time for the World Premiere of the documentary WE ARE ALL CYLONS, which looks at some of the themes of arguably the best sci-fi TV series ever made, Battlestar Galactica. Director Ilana Rein spoke to fans and some of the shows stars to get their views on its philosophy and appeal. After the screening Ilana was joined by Andrew Mark Sewell and Ben Aaronovitch, who are responsible for the reboot of Blake's 7 as a radio series. SFL's podcast maestro Alex Fitch led the discussion on dystopian TV, which inevitably led to politics and religion, which was a lot more civilised than some of the dystopian societies they were discussing.
Elsewhere in the cinema was the first of our Blink of an Eye Shorts programmes. Shorts have always been very strong at SFL and we get hundreds of submissions from around the world every year. Of course, we are doing our own part in encouraging sci-fi shorts with our 48 Hour Film Challenge, which produced some amazing films this year (see the final shortlist at http://t.co/PolI2Ys). The judges three finalists were announced online last night (in no particular order) as SIT IN SILENCE, NO ESCAPE, THE INTENTION OF MILES and the winner will be announced on Wednesday 27th before the screening of RECREATOR.
Onedotzero guest programmed another collection of short films with a robot theme, because we do like robots at SFL. Our specially commissioned stage adaptation of Rossum's Universal Robots (where the word originated) will be performed at the British Library in July (http://boxoffice.bl.uk for tickets). While one group of people were watching robots another group were being treated to the bizarre world Beyond the Black Rainbow. This is one of those films that festivals like SCI-FI-LONDON have to support because they are unlikely to be shown anywhere else. A simple fairy tale of a young girl escaping from her captors, but with darker sci-fi overtones. Stunning visuals and sound design it is almost impossible to categorise (we introduced a genre "wtf" on our iphone app to cover such films). While the audience remained almost mesmerised throughout the screening, debate ensued afterwards. If a film can't elicit a response then it is not really doing its job.