London’s myriad film festivals are starting to muster. To help you keep on top of what’s projecting, we’ve updated our A to Z list of FILM FESTIVALS IN LONDON, and will keep checking websites until all the TBCs are confirmed. Here’s our handy roundup of London’s film festivals in March (ordered by date/duration).
> LAST UPDATED: 26 FEB.
EDGE OF FRAME WEEKEND (02 to 04 MAR)
A three-day celebration of experimental animation, featuring “innovative, visionary and risk-taking work in a packed programme of screenings and discussion”. There are premieres of new films alongside classics and rarely screened historical content. Everything takes place at BFI Southbank, Barbican and Close-Up.
We’re booked for opening day symposium BETWEEN THE FRAMES (02 MAR 13:00, BFI Southbank) and the first full screening programme PERSISTENCE OF VISION (02 MAR 18:15, BFI Southbank), but everything here looks pretty much essential.
WOMEN IN ACTIVISM (03 to 24 MAR)
A programme of screenings curated by Black History Studies “highlighting the variety of work, experiences and excellence of Black Women around the world and through history”. The festival features a mixture of feature films and documentaries alongside engaging post film discussion. We like the look of ANGELA DAVIS: PORTRAIT OF A REVOLUTIONARY (03 MAR 12:30, Ritzy Cinema) and POTO MITAN: HAITIAN WOMEN, PILLARS OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY (22 MAR 19:30, Bernie Grant Arts Centre).
FUTURE MERIDIAN STUDENT SHORT FILM SELECTION (05 MAR 18:30)
The Future Meridian Student Short Competition screens the very best short films made by up-and-coming students from around the globe, “giving you an insight into how the future of cinema is going to be”. Screens at Picturehouse Central.
CINEMA MADE IN ITALY (07 to 11 MAR)
Ciné Lumière teams up with Istituto Luce Cinecittà and the Italian Cultural Institute in London to present the 8th edition of Cinema Made in Italy. We’re promised “a brand-new array of cinematic delights, melding all genres from hilarious romcoms to intense dramas, daffy musicals to period romances, animation films to action thrillers”. Many of the screenings are accompanied by Q&A sessions with the talent behind the screens. We like the look of RAINBOW – A PRIVATE AFFAIR + Q&A with Paolo Taviani (07 MAR 18:30) and STORIES OF LOVE THAT CANNOT BELONG TO THIS WORLD + Q&A with Francesca Comencini (08 MAR 18:15).
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL (07 to 16 MAR)
The HRW Film Festival screens in over 20 cities around the world and encourages new and established filmmakers to address human rights subject matter in their work. Of this year’s London selection, we like the look of THE FORCE (09 MAR 18:15, Barbican) and WHOSE STREETS? (13 MAR 18:10, Barbican), two films offering different perspectives on policing and black community relations in the USA, and THE POETESS (09 MAR 20:45, Barbican), about Hissa Hilal who made headlines as the first woman to reach the finals of the Arab world’s biggest televised poetry competition.
KINOTEKA (07 to 29 MAR)
The annual Polish Film Festival returns for its 16th edition focusing on 100 years of Polish independence and the role of women filmmakers (half of the 10 new Polish features are directed by women). We really like the look of the festival’s collab with KinoVino to screen Krzysztof Kieślowski’s THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE followed by a multi-course dinner created by Flavia Borawska, “a rising star of Polish gastronomy” (23 MAR 19:00, Calvert 22 Foundation).
Watch their beautiful trailer to learn more about this year’s lineup.
BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR (13 to 24 MAR)
Two programmes of short film – take the RED or the BLUE pill – screen at Union Chapel featuring “some of today’s most incredible adventurers, including footage of adrenaline packed action sports and thought-provoking pieces shot from the far flung corners of the globe”. Presented by the Banff Centre.
DYSPLA INTERNATIONAL MOVING IMAGE FESTIVAL (14 to 18 MAR)
The world’s first festival dedicated to screening the visual innovation of dyslexic and neurodivergent story makers screens at The Crypt Gallery. There’s a GALA NIGHT & AWARD CEREMONY (14 MAR 19:00), PANEL DISCUSSION (15 MAR 19:30) and the FILM FESTIVAL (14 to 18 MAR, 13:00 to 20:00) where films run continuously throughout the day.
UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (14 to 25 MAR)
Celebrating 20 years of championing independent South Asian cinema, this year’s festival also commemorates the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which enabled some women in the UK to vote for the first time. We really like the look of NOSTALGIA FOR THE FUTURE + Q&A with Professor Rosie Thomas: a free screening of a doc about “the architecture of the home, modernity and the making of the Indian citizen” (16 MAR 15:00, Regent Street Cinema).
ST PATRICK’S DAY FILM FESTIVAL (16 to 18 MAR)
From the same people as the annual Irish Film Festival.
UPDATED 26 FEB: The full programme has now been published and includes two programmes of IRISH SHORTS at London Film School (16 MAR 13:30 & 15:15) and two UK premieres – DAMO & IVOR: THE MOVIE (16 MAR 18:30) and KÍLA: POTA ÓIR + AN BÉAL BOCHT + Q&A with director Anthony White and members of Kíla (18 MAR 18:45) – both at The Prince Charles Cinema.
CHRONIC YOUTH (17 to 18 MAR)
A weekend of films about “girlhood, boyhood and self-hood” from around the world programmed by Barbican’s team of young programmers. There are some excellent new shorts and features but we really like the look of A CHILD IN THE CROWD (18 MAR 18:30): radical writer-director Gérard Blain’s autobiographical portrait of youth during the German occupation of Paris which screens from a rare 35mm print.
RIGHT NOW FILM FESTIVAL (21 to 27 MAR)
From the beginning of vital movements such as Black Lives Matter to the future of welfare and the UK’s very own Brexit, Right Now Film Festival explores the motives and truths behind global systems and unjust balances of power. Head to Dalston’s Rio Cinema for a varied programme of docs from around the world. We like the look of: RAT FILM (21 MAR 18:30); WHOSE STREETS? (23 MAR 18:30); and, FREE LUNCH SOCIETY (26 MAR 18:30).
SOUND SCREEN MUSIC & FILM FESTIVAL (21 to 28 MAR)
Sound Screen Music and Film Festival brings together “the excitement of live gigs alongside some of the best new music documentaries from around the world” and a host of director and artist Q&As. Venues include some of our regulars – ArtHouse Crouch End, Regent Street Cinema and Genesis Cinema – as well as the 100 Club and Koko Camden. We really like the look of a RAY & DAVE DAVIES double + Q&A with director Julien Temple (23 MAR 19:00 & 20:45, Regent Street) and UK premieres of DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM: THE RADIO BIRDMAN STORY (24 MAR 18:00, Regent Street) and THE GO-BETWEENS: RIGHT HERE (24 MAR 20:46, Regent Street).
PLAYBACK FESTIVAL (21 to 25 MAR)
PLAYBACK FESTIVAL 2018 brings together the work of over 300 emerging artists in one interactive exhibition of short experimental films, alongside five days of screenings, live spoken word performances, discussions and practical workshops. All entirely free to attend.
Standout attractions include the EXHIBITION of more than 300 short films from across England (21 to 25 MAR) and sessions on; DIRECTING ANIMATION (23 MAR 11:30); MUSIC VIDEO SHOWCASE (23 MAR 18:15): a POSTER MAKING WORKSHOP with Andrzej Klimowski, “one of the fathers of the Polish Poster design movement” (24 Mar 14:00); and, MENTAL HEALTH ON FILM (14:30).
ESSAY FILM FESTIVAL (21 to 29 MAR)
Now in its fourth year, the Essay Film Festival is held at Birkbeck, the ICA, and the French Institute and explores “the full range of possibilities of this most inventive, inquisitive and challenging of contemporary film practices”.
This year, there’s a special focus on Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul. Take the deep dive with: a free SYMPOSIUM + SCREENINGS (23 MAR 13:00, Birkbeck Cinema); Kaul’s first feature, USKI ROTI (23 MAR 20:15, ICA); a “poetic exploration of the ancient tradition of terracotta pottery and sculpture”, MATI MANAS (24 MAR 14:00, ICA); and, an experimental doc inspired by forms of classical Indian music, DHRUPAD (24 MAR 16:00, ICA).
We also like the look of ★ by Johann Lurf, a “brilliantly edited collage of shots of the night sky, lifted from 550 films from the beginning of cinema history right up to the present day” (29 MAR 20:30, ICA).
BFI FLARE (21 MAR to 01 APR)
FLARE launches the programme for the 32nd edition of London’s LGBT film festival at BFI Southbank this week (21 FEB). We’ll be there hoping to find something juicy to rival last year’s THE UNTAMED. We do know that the opening night will be the UK premiere of MY DAYS OF MERCY (link to IMDb), while closing night will be the European premiere of POSTCARDS FROM LONDON (ditto).
> UPDATE 22 FEB: Read our preview of BFI Flare 2018 here.
What have we missed…?
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*THE SMALL PRINT: As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any mistakes. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version.
Featured image: MATI MANAS (1984) screens at Essay Film Festival 2018.