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Film festivals for Londoners this spring

1st March 2012 Print

Following on from the success of the autumn festival line-up, this spring sees a further three exciting festivals across London celebrating the very best in cinema. Covering all genres from Independent, Bollywood and Asian pictures; the best up and coming films from aspiring new talent to science fiction and beyond, London Asian Film Festival, Screentest and Sci-Fi-London are guaranteed to have something for everyone.

The three film festivals are supported by Film London's Pilot Publicity Fund (PPF), an innovative fund which aims to boost awareness of London's diverse film festivals in order to bring alternative film to new audiences.

Entering its 14th year, the London Asian Film Festival kicks off the season with a fantastic line up of films and events at venues across the capital. The psychological drama MICHAEL starring Naseeruddin Shah opens the festival which will be presented by Meera Syal at BFI Southbank on 16 March with Abhishek Bachchan in attendance, followed by Michael Winterbottom's TRISHNA which screens at the Apollo Piccadilly on 17 March. This year sees a Pakistani film section with a screening of the highly controversial film BOL which will be followed by a Q&A with the lead actress Humaima Malik and the highly regarded director Rubaiyat Hossain will be participating in a Q&A following the screening of her film MEHERJAAN on 19 March.

In this year of the Paralympics, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali will be given an award in recognition of his work on disability in film. Sanjay will also be delivering the Nargis Dutt lecture at the University of Westminster on 22 March and there will be screenings of his critically acclaimed films BLACK and GUZAARISH during the ten day event. The festival closes with a glitzy closing night Awards ceremony at BAFTA.  Films will screen at BFI Southbank, Apollo Piccadilly, Watermans, Richmix, Harrow Arts Centre, Nehru Centre and SOAS.

Hot on its heels is Screentest, the National Student Film Festival dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of aspiring British talent. The festival returns to London South Bank University where a number of workshops and talks with industry professionals and an array of top quality student films will be on show.

With a record 154 films submitted from all over the UK, this year promises to be a highly charged festival for all to see. The festival culminates with an Awards show on 24 March at The Roxy Bar where 14 Awards will be handed out including the new 'Screentest Institute of Excellence Award' in association with the BFI Future Film Festival. This is awarded to the institute that has gone above and beyond to give its students the very best support and exposure at festivals.   Films will screen at London South Bank University, the Roxy and Screen.

Festival Director and London South Bank University student Chris Nunn, who is currently studying for his MA in Digital Film and Video, said: "We're very proud to be hosting this year's Screentest at London South Bank University once again, close by one of the cultural centres of British film on the South Bank. "This year we've once again had a record number of entries, so the 2012 festival promises to be more competitive than ever."

Screentest is supported by the ECU Independent Film Festival in Paris which showcases all of the winning films from Screentest during their festival between the 30th March and 1st April.

Rounding up the season is SCI-FI-LONDON, the London international festival of science fiction and fantastic film. The UK's leading genre event and an internationally recognised launch pad for genre movies, the festival hosts at least a dozen UK premieres.

Highlights of this year's festival include a 48-hour film challenge where participants are given two days to make their very own film and are given just three things to aid them: title; dialogue; props! Previous winners include Gareth Edwards (Monsters). The festival will screen at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus Cinema as well as the BFI Southbank and selected venues within central London.

For more information on specific film festivals and Film London:

Tongues On Fire
(16-24 March 2012)   

(23-25 March 2012)

(1-7 May 2012)

Film London