Wow – we made it to our 20th anniversary!! Who would have thought it?
From very humble beginnings – our first festival in 2004 screened at the now-defunct Rupert Street Cinema in Piccadilly – to LIAF 2023, 10 days at 4 venues across London and online for a worldwide audience, we have survived! Over 20 years we’ve received more than 30,000 entries, screened more than 6,000 films, and had some of the most talented animators in the world come and hang out with us. And we’ve had a ball on the way.
It’s time to blow our own trumpet a little. As well as being the largest, longest-running festival of its kind in the UK in terms of films and programmes screened, we have a substantial touring component and we run satellite events all year-round. We’ve screened at festivals, cinemas, theatres, libraries and colleges all around the world and in the UK and have spread the word that independent animation is the coolest, most mind-blowing artform around. Long may this be and we hope to continue to screen the best of the world’s animation to you, our wonderful audience, for as long as you want it.
Tonight we’ll be celebrating our 20th birthday in style with an opening night two-part lineup. We’ll be kicking off with an advance screening of a collection of films from across the 2023 festival line-up. There are 86 films screening in competition over the next 10 days in the international competition programmes, selected from over 2,400 entries, and tonight we’ll be unveiling a specially selected handful of some that we consider to be the cream of the crop.
Part two of our opening night is a tribute programme dedicated to the work of master animator Paul Bush who sadly passed away earlier this year.
There would be very few in the world of independent animation that have not encountered the work of British master animator Paul Bush. His recent death in a motorcycle accident in Wales was a jolt and has left a gap in our community that cannot be filled. Beyond being the loveliest and most gentle of souls, Paul was one of those incredibly rare breed of animators who roamed freely and with a truly experimental heart across a broad spectrum of animation techniques – routinely setting new standards in them all and inspiring others to try their hand.
Recent LIAF audiences will remember his masterful ‘object replacement films’ (particularly Ride and The Five Minute Museum) but those of us with more miles on the clock are still in awe of his earlier ‘scratch’ animations (especially His Comedy and Still Life with Small Cup). Beyond the screen Paul was a relaxed and captivating speaker and teacher, whether in the classroom or on a festival stage. It’s also fair to say that he was great company and across various encounters covering the better part of 20+ years, there was never a dull moment in his presence. LIAF pays tribute to this truly remarkable, utterly gifted, endlessly inquisitive artist and teacher with a screening of some of his playfully philosophical films and a panel discussion with several friends and colleagues who will take to the stage after the screening to discuss Paul’s work.
An advance screening of a specially selected handful of films from across the 2023 festival line-up.
His Comedy – Paul Bush, UK
The poet Dante is taken by Virgil through the gates of the city of desolation and into the centre of hell. What he sees is not simply an apocalyptic vision of the punishment that awaits sinners after death but also the very real horrors committed by human hands on earth.
1994 8’10 min
Still Life with Small Cup – Paul Bush, UK
A radical reworking of an etching by the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, brought to life by engraving frame by frame directly into the photographic emulsion of colour filmstock.
1995 4’00 min
Furniture Poetry – Paul Bush, UK
The film-maker accepts the challenge of the philosopher and changes not only a table but also chairs, shoes, jugs, teapots and almost everything else lying around his house.
1999 5’15 min
Secret Love – Paul Bush, UK
A music clip for Percy Grainger’s extraordinary orchestration of a gory Nordic folk song – Father and daughter who wreak havoc on each other and everyone around.
2002 3’30 min
While Darwin Sleeps – Paul Bush, UK
3,000 multi-coloured and glowing insects star in this mescaline vision dreamt by Charles Darwin.
2004 5’10 min
Paul Bush Talks – Paul Bush, UK
Paul Bush tries to talk about the making of While Darwin Sleeps and his aspirations for cinema but all the time the film itself tries to take over and in the end completely overwhelms him.
2006 2’10 min
Lay Bare – Paul Bush, UK
A composite portrait of the human body, revealing it as it is only rarely seen in our most intimate relationships – erotic and comic, beautiful and vulnerable.
2012 6’00 min
The Five Minute Museum – Paul Bush, UK
A history of man-made objects from stone age to the age of plastics, photographed at museums in the UK and Switzerland.
2015 6’35 min
Stupidity Soliloquy – Paul Bush, UK
The making of The Five Minute Museum and the importance of stupidity in the creative process.
2015 2’00 min
Elegy – Paul Bush, Switzerland/UK
A film of stone and light – just stone and light.
2017 6’00 min
Ride – Paul Bush, Portugal
A masterful stop-frame homage to the iconic motorcycle design and culture of the 1950s and 60s.
2018 5’40 min
The Making of Orgiastic Hyper-Plastic – Paul Bush, UK
An introduction about the making of Paul’s last short film.
2020 3’40 min
Orgiastic Hyper-Plastic – Paul Bush, UK/Denmark
An elegy to a love affair that has gone sour, a fond farewell to that most beautiful material that has enslaved our planet – plastic.
2020 6’50 min
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