Knokke, Belgium. A small mundane coastal town, home to the beau-monde. To compete with Venice and Cannes, the posh casino hosts the second World Festival of Film and the Arts in 1949, organized in part by the Royal Cinematheque of Belgium. To celebrate cinema’s 50 year existence, they put together a side programme showcasing the medium in all its shapes and forms: surrealist film, absolute film, dadaist film, abstract film. The side programme would soon become a festival in its own right called Exprmntl, dedicated to experimental cinema, and would become a mythical gathering of the avant-garde, championing Expanded Cinema and the integration of multimedia arts, music and non-cinema spaces. Exprmntl knew only five editions, in 1949, 1958, 1963, 1967 and 1974 but those five editions became known as the most legendary of all experimental film festivals.
The documentary Exprmntl tells the story of experimental film through the history of this festival, a history which tells us how we came to understand what we watch, a history which questions the very nature of film and how a big part of how we understand our world relies on the very nature of moving images, very much in line and a source of inspiration for LSFF’s own programming.
Part of a weekend programme exploring the interaction of self and space.
No longer content with land, London Short Film Festival is anchored up for a weekender residency aboard the Air Draft, moored alongside Grow Hackney.
A repurposed industrial barge-turned-inflatable theatre, the Air Draft is designed to float atop Hackney’s waterways hosting performance and play. Inspired by architect Jeffrey Shaw’s “floating city” Ant Farm, we’ve programmed two days of live performance and film on both Air Draft and at Grow Hackney, taking the Air Draft’s homage to public art and playfulness further down the rabbit hole of LSFF’s fascination with the pneumatic. A programme of archival documentaries look outwards to the interaction of self and space in the inflatables of community arts collectives such as Action Space.