Beam in to Sci Fi London Film Festival 2023

Week of movie premieres, panels and events has kicked off at an amazing Camden location

Science Fiction is certainly becoming a reality, as anyone following the recent discourse on use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I) will be aware. Therefore this year’s Sci-Fi London Film Festival is timely, as such films have been predicting A.I dramas for years – The Terminator, we’re looking at you specifically.

The Festival is back for its 23rd edition, 31st May – 6th June 2023.  With 14 feature films, comprising UK and world premieres, and a shorts programme reflecting climate change amidst a dystopia, there will be something to appeal to all. Films will be screening in several London venues including Picturehouse Central,  Rich Mix, The Garden Cinema and the Prince Charles Cinema. As well as watching films there will also be a 48-hour filmmakers’ challenge via a workshop on microbudget filmmaking with the mission to create a film over the weekend.

The return of an interactive fair, known as Hackstock 7.0, is a multi-dimensional event at Rich Mix embracing cyber culture. It includes a comic art fair with a free panel discussion, launching new graphic novel, The Panharmonion Chronicles.

We attended the festival’s opening last night at Picturehouse Central for the UK premiere of the compelling UFO Sweden. The film explores the investigation of alien abduction from the perspective of a fostered teenager, who enlists the assistance of a UFO society to prove that we are not alone. It’s certainly an entertaining film for the family with intriguing performances, some comedy and also scientific elements, with a great ensemble cast.  The themes of family are reminiscent of Interstellar, and there are several X-Files references too in this nostalgic trip. Despite budget constraints, director Victor Danell leans into the visuals and spotlights environmental issues creating unusual weather patterns in our skies. Inez Dahl Torhaug captivates in the lead role of this enjoyable film.

The closing night will see the sold out UK premiere of The Bystanders, a London-based film which held its World Premiere at the 2022 Austin Film Festival. The story follows Pete who is going through a quarter life crisis with no friends and is miserable at work. He is given a new lease of life via an opportunity on his 25th birthday to watch over the day-to-day activities of a human subject. The film’s unusual premise examines that notion of helping someone from afar, or not, as the case may be.

After the premiere screening last night, we joined the official after party festivities held at Italian gastro-diner Spagnoletti, in the heart of King’s Cross. The restaurant was the perfect fit, as it has a fantastical retro futuristic design style, so very fitting for a sci-fi film festival.

Spagnoletti specialises in Southern Italian food, to be enjoyed surrounded by amazing cyber-influenced fittings, lights and engravings featuring scenes from graphic novel The Panharmonion Chronicles by Henry Chebaane, who is also as the visionary behind the eye-popping interior design. 

Members of the cast of UFO Sweden were milling around with drinks, fresh from the post-screening Q&A session, and the whole party in this special setting kept us enthralled into the early hours. Spagnoletti is part of The Megaro Collection, the Festival’s official hotel and hospitality partners, so is set to be the hub for further post-movie visits all week and beyond.

More information about the Sci-Fi London Film Festival and for tickets

Book a table at Spagnoletti, 27 Euston Rd, NW1 2SD

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