A report by Samiksha Periwal
The London-Lift Off Film Festival is one of the most prominent platforms for independent screenwriters and filmmakers to showcase their talents by engaging in a wide network of services ranging from filmmaker roundtables, screenings of award-winning films, Question and Answers, workshops for beginners, production support and a lot more. The screening of this festival starts from Monday 6th December 2021 to 3rd January 2022 including a host of activities and events for artists and the audiences. This platform enables young and aspiring individuals to have an all-encompassing experience through interactions and live-screenings aimed at a major film market. They are looking for filmmakers and screenwriters who are either at the very beginning of their careers, looking for external support and guidance in the field of film-making and also for experienced professionals looking forward to expand their vision and ideas about the same. The submissions to this festival are absolutely free in terms of cost as well as film genres. The genres and categories of films vary from documentaries, political thrillers, comedy sci-fi and other feature films. They accept short film submissions that usually have a strong message to put across for their viewers. Independent filmmakers from across the globe participate in this festival connecting the UK and other international markets nurturing upcoming film artists. The aim here is to maximize audience viewership and provide an experimental platform for indie creatives to put across fresh content, screening exclusively with their partners Vimeo OnDemand. This is what James Arden, one of the experts in the field had to say about the festival, “In such a crazy year, it was great to see London Lift-Off step up and create a proper community feel online for the festival. Well done to the team and thanks for supporting our film!”
The Lift-Off Network provides a collection of tools for facilitating the development of filmmakers and screenwriters. It broadly includes festival screening feedbacks, education in terms of workshops and networking opportunities. Participants are invited to focus groups for interacting with other emerging filmmakers where they can access a larger film market representation. This enables talents to present their projects to major film markets across the globe. They also provide opportunities for funding productions, supporting distributions and introducing effective career strategies through online-workshops and lectures by experienced experts. The facility of workshops covers lectures covering several important topics such as building a filmmaking brand, looking for producers, strategies for crowd funding, creative ideas for a genre based content and effective tips on creating film with a perfect short-film story structure. These sessions are detailed, providing in-depth information on the above-mentioned topics acting as a proper beginner’s guide for interested film enthusiasts. Mr. Tom McNie, UK filmmaker who is screening in this very program with his new short film, in the genre of drama comedy called “Seeing Green” has also appreciated this festival and talked about it’s importance in these times of distress, He said, “An outstanding online festival, much better able to cope with the limitations of the pandemic than other online festivals. Lots of communication and interaction and great tools to network with other filmmakers.” Similarly, a lot of filmmakers and experts in the field of cinema have spoken very highly of the festival as well as the opportunity that it has given to enthusiasts from across the globe after a depressing pandemic-stricken year.
The submissions in this festival are judged by two separate routes; at first, this network’s internal jury categorizes the films into initial program votes and scores on the basis of a series of in-depth parameters and promotes in into the network round. The second route takes a classic audience choice where each and every paying attendee is asked to give a breakdown of each of the films which includes their personal first and second film out of all submissions. Once they get these scores, the finest films are sent further for the network round where members of Lift-Off and jury rescore these short-listed films on their individual merits to give the final judgement. This platform values their audiences as they believe that ‘A film is not realized until it is connected with its audience’. It is often considered that this step is vital for every creative’s journey to build a connect with the audience and voice their ideas effectively.
The schedules of the live screening exclusively for Lift-Off Professional and Intermediate Members of the current year’s London Lift-Off Film Festival began from 11th December. Here, all the above-mentioned members were invited for a close-up cinema screening aimed at facilitating collaboration and networking opportunities for the participating talents and experienced professionals. On the same day, a dedicated screening for a handful award-winning films from the previous year’s Season Awards and London Lift-Off 2020 also took place for the audiences.
The online short films are divided further into three categories: Judges’ Select Shorts, Trend Setter Shorts and New Voice Shorts. The first category comprises of films that are highlighted as daring and at times experimental in terms of the freshness of content, by the jury, which come from the exceptional minds of creatives involved in the process of filmmaking. The second includes an outstanding collection of films by filmmakers who are attempting to carve out their paths within the industry. As the name suggests, these films are trendsetters that impact a larger audience and pave the way for specific genres in these careers. The last category features content from a wide variety of forms and genres. The first-time shorts as they are called, bring to the viewers, works from budding and daring voices trying to set their foots firm in the industry by putting forth their ideas through their content. Since short films are attracting larger audiences, more and more filmmakers are taking interest in this field, viewers are getting a variety of forms and genres and the spectrum of issues covered through these films is also increasing. This new culture is providing creative minds a platform for expressing their concerns and voicing their ideologies for the public. Lift-Off Networks and their film festivals are facilitating this growth by nurturing inquisitive minds and providing them an international platform to showcase their talent.
This festival also categorizes online features into two categories. The first being the Jury’s Select Features, an agglomeration of different and unique films including experimental and art-house content. The second being, Trendsetter features that include a host of feature films from newer artists to festival veterans encompassing all genres and themes. Features are the most common yet intricate category of films that require a lot of background work on the part of the filmmakers. These films attract viewers who are true fans of pure content-based cinema and who appreciate the art of film-making in a whole sense. Lift-Off encourages such talents and focuses to give the best possible content to their viewers.
The three best films short-listed in this festival have been highlighted in the press release. ‘Radio Vanille’, ‘Leopard’ and ‘OsWorld’ are the one listed in the press release. They are intriguing short films with new concepts that attempt to impact the audiences and bring about a change in the conventional set genres of filmmaking. Yet another interesting award-winning film from the Lift-Off Global Network is ‘Dark Social Activism’. It is a complicated and multi-layered story about a man who struggles with a social system that pushes him towards doing something which he thinks is the only option left for him. The director and writer of this film, Ged Hunter has intricately captured the character’s emotions and the climax leaves the audience stunned. These kinds of new-age cinema highly interest the audience and the thrill is worth the watch. Many other award-winning films, including documentaries are listed in the network’s YouTube channel. These films are unique in their own sense and would definitely interest audiences across the globe with different kinds of content. Content created here come out of creative minds from different backgrounds that prove to be relatable for viewers sitting in different parts of the globe. Film enthusiasts also have a lot to learn from this platform with expert training and skill development opportunities.
Overall, the London Lift-Off Film Festival brings to you inspiring and entertaining independent films from emerging artists on a worldwide scale with the primary focus on providing an experiential platform for indie creatives, connecting audiences with artists of the world of cinema and development of new voices to kick-start their careers at one of the best platforms in the world providing opportunities to learn, practice and connect with the industry as well as expert professionals working in this field for years. It is a breeding ground for new talents and nurturing space for veterans, easy to participate with no-cost submissions and exclusively streamed on Vimeo OnDemand as well as the official YouTube Channel of Lift-Off Global Networks. Witness the excellence of filmmaking from 6th December 2021 to 3rd January 2022 only on London Lift-Off Film Festival.
Samiksha Periwal hails from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.