LIAF 2012

LIAF has been rescheduled, and it arrives at half term, so it’s harder for some of us to get away and visit and revisit the LIAF feast as it unfolds.  I can only imagine what the long shorts were like, or the creepy Into the Dark screening at the evocative Horse Hospital.  I went to the opening Gala, the Koji Yamamura retrospective and to Best of the Fest.  It’s wonderful to see LIAF settled and supported at the Barbican.  Both splendid directors Nag and Malcolm have worked like dogs for nearly ten years, and their unshowy, thoroughly eclectic festival deserves a good home.

It was great to see Kōji Yamamura here, he’s a really good and very busy artist.  My favourite of the films he showed on Thursday is Mount Head (2002).  It has a brilliant raucous voiceover and a strange twisted, traditional story: the protagonist is so stingy that he doesn’t throw anything away and gorges upon foraged food, so I expect we all have little people living on our heads making merry at the moment.  It was a great pleasure to see The Old Crocodile (2005) on the big screen, the traditional story told by Peter Barakan and Yamamura’s simple graphic artwork make it really enjoyable to watch. My only thought is that the depiction of the Sudanese people at the end is uncomfortable, and perhaps stops the film from being really great.

There was a great mixture of films shown this year in Best of the Fest.  Of all of them I enjoyed Stephen Irwin’s Moxie the most, it was awarded the Best British film. The film been travelling the world, though I havn’t seen it yet. I  love the artful way Irwin uses loops, and  the bold way he cuts his shots together.  Will Anderson from ECA scooped the Best of the Fest, which is fantastic.  His film The Making of Long Bird had a really charming feel to it, though perhaps it didn’t quite merit the long short form, I might have cut it up a bit myself.  It reminded me very much of Jim Le Fevre’s ECA student film The Little Princesses Birthday Party from 1997.  

The Little Princesses Birthday Party by Jim Le Fevre, 1997

It was a treat to see Joseph Pierce’s new film The Pub, his style is really unique and it lends itself to this study of a range of drunken public house visitors.  A live action performance underpins the work, and his actors are always spot on, with generous uncomfortable silences.  The amazing Vladimir Leschiov’s new film Villa Antropoff was good to see there too, though it didn’t have the mystery and calmness contained in his earlier films, and perhaps I missed that.

As a final thought, I noticed that there were no women’s films in either the Best of the Fest audience votes or judges favourites, which was something that cropped up during a panel discussion that I was involved with for Best of the Fest ever a couple of years ago, I wrote a blog entry about that evening.  It’s unsettling to notice that women’s films are becoming less visible, or that there are less of them, or that they are just less popular.  I’d have to do some counting, but a quick scan of the programme reveals that women aren’t making up half of films screened, visitors or judges at the moment.  Perhaps the best thing to do is get on and make my film in time for next year and make sure it’s good.

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