London SadFest: A festival of sad films 3-5 March 2017

Elephant Man

SadFest 2017

3-5 March 2017

Genesis Cinema, London

SadFest website

Our friends are starting a new festival in London and it’s all about sadness. Here’s what they say:

London SadFest 2017: The Saddest Weekend You’ll Spend in London – Ever.
(And You’ll Love it!)

London SadFest is a unique film festival that celebrates and explores the world of sad films, music and poetry.

Blue Monday is the name given to the saddest day of the year. Some people say it is the last Monday in January, others argue that it’s actually later in February when winter is at its bitterest and the disappointments of Valentine’s Day have really started to sink in.

One thing though is for sure, the saddest weekend in London this year will be the first weekend in March, because that’s when the London SadFest 2017 will be taking place at the Genesis Cinema in Mile End.

Festival organiser Steve Todd says, “this is a festival for anybody that loves really sad and heart-breaking films. We’ve got a great line up of beautiful films and some really interesting speakers, live music performances and some sad poetry too. But above all, it is a place where you can come and cry your heart in out in great company!”

Why would anybody want to go to see so many sad films in one weekend?

Recent research by Prof. Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford University, suggests that people might actually feel good after watching sad films. Higher endorphin levels leave people feeling more socially connected and stronger to deal with psychological pain.

“We seem to be scared of sadness as a society, we’re always running away from it. I think we need to stop running and instead face up to and even embrace sadness. It’s a big part of being human and I think it’s at the heart of our feelings of compassion.”, says Steve Todd.

Can a festival of sad films really be called a ‘festival’?

The organisers think so, “we’re hoping the talks and Q&A after the screenings as well as the live performance track and after show-events will really create a strong feeling of coming together as festival community. The celebration aspect is just as important as the sadness.”

The festival kicks off with a launch event on Friday 3rd March, showing “The Elephant Man” by David Lynch, chosen as the world’s most influential director by film critics. It is an extraordinarily beautiful and sad film and is set in the Whitechapel area where the festival is taking place. Dr Åsa Jansson from Queen Mary’s Centre for the History of Emotions will be giving a talk after the film with a Q&A, followed by a drinks reception and live music performances.

The festival runs until Sunday evening along with a full track of live music performances, poetry, talks and spoken word performances. The films include: Ken Loach’s “Kes”, a sad classic and number 7 in the BFI top 100 British Films list; Wong Kar Wai’s melancholy delight from 2000: “In the Mood For Love”; “Sophie’s Choice” with an amazing performance from Meryl Streep and Lee Daniels’ powerfully moving “Precious” from 2009.

Every ticket sold will also include a donation to the Samaritans charity to support their amazing work.


The festival consists of 5 sad films spread over three days along with performances of sad music and poetry in the bar area upstairs. Most of the films will be followed by a talk from a guest speaker. (More information on the talks and bar area performances coming soon).

Friday 3rd March – Launch Event
6pm – 10pm

The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980) Running Time: 118 minutes. Starting at 6pm.
Introduction: Steve Todd, Festival Organiser + a representative form the Central London Samaritans.
Guest Speaker: Dr Åsa Jansson, Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London.
Followed by drinks reception and live performances in the bar area.

Saturday 4th March – “Love, Friendship and Vulnerability”
2pm – 10pm

2pm – Performances start in the bar area.
3.30pm – Kes (Ken Loach, 1969) Running Time: 112 minutes.
Guest Speaker: Sarbjit Samra
6pm – In The Mood For Love(Wong Kar Wai, 2000) Running Time: 96 minutes
8.30pm – 10pm Performances continue the bar area.

Sunday 5th March – “Tragic Decisions and Historical Forces”
2pm – 8.30pm

2pm – Performances start in the bar area.
3pm – Sophie’s Choice (Alan J. Pakula, 1983) Running Time: 144 minutes.
Guest Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Wallace
6pm – Precious (Lee Daniels, 2009) Running Time: 110 minutes
Guest speaker: Marcia Harris

Buy tickets for London SadFest 2017 – Sad Film Festival
Live Performances

The following performers and speakers have already confirmed for the live performance and spoken word track in the bar area of the cinema:

Music: Ana Zed and Lou Welby, Emmanuel Speaks, David Callahan (solo performance), Garden City Projects, Robert Paul, Kaya (Science of the Lamps), Joseph Paice, Chris Hodgkinson, Nappa

Poetry: Jeff Hilson, Brian Docherty

Performance: Dan Horrigan

Talks: “The Tyranny of Happiness and the Medicalisation of Misery”, Dr Angela Byrne; “Mad, Bad, Sad and Dangerous”, Raza Griffiths.

DJ Evil Elvis will be playing sad old songs from the 50s on his dancette record player.

More poetry and spoken word performers to be announced soon…

Times for the live performances in the bar area will be provided nearer the date.

For full programme details amd to book tickets go to the SadFest website.

Electric Sheep Film Show February 2017

Girl Divers Of Spook Mansion
Girl Divers at Spook Mansion

audioObscure films and Conspiracies: This month Alex Fitch and Virginie Sélavy look at how to track down obscure films and their links with conspiracy theories, while Jasper Sharp discusses examples of cult Japanese Cinema, such as Girl Divers at Spook Mansion, as well as his own documentary The Creeping Garden ahead of his talk at the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies on 16 February 2017. Plus, Alex investigates items in the Resonance fundraising auction including comics by Alan Moore and a limited edition Muppet Wicker Man print.

The Electric Sheep Film Show is broadcast every third Wednesday of the month, 5.30-6.30pm at Resonance FM 104.4. Next date: Wednesday 15 March 2017.

This show was first broadcast on Wednesday 15 February 2017.

Clear Spot – 15 February 2017 (Electric Sheep) by Resonance Fm on Mixcloud

Lost Treasures of Japanese Genre Filmmaking

Mummys Love

Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London

Instructor: Jasper Sharp

Date: 16 February 2017

Time: 7-10pm

Venue: Horse Hospital

Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

Prices: £10 advance / £8 concs / £11 door

Miskatonic website

Very little of Japan’s vast cinematic output has made it onto foreign shores, perhaps not too surprising given that its industry stretches right back to the genesis of the medium and turns out on average about 500 titles a year. Genres such as sci-fi, horror and fantasy have generally been well represented abroad, but the boom in J-horror films in the wake of titles such as The Ring (1998) and Audition (1999) have crowded out discussions about how and when the fantastique first took root in Japanese cinema.

In this illustrated talk Jasper Sharp will explore the out reaches of Japanese fantasy cinema, from the embryonic trick films of ‘The Father of Japanese Film’ Shozo Makino through oddball homegrown sub-genres such as the prewar ‘ghost cat’ (bakeneko or kaibyô) films and the ama cycle of sexy pearl diver films such as Girl Divers at Spook Mansion (1959), some long-lost Japanese takes on the movie monsters of Universal Studios, the pink film-horror of directors like Tetsuji Takechi and Kinya Ogawa and much, much more, all peppered with a liberal amount of clips of some truly bizarre titles that remain either unseen or unseeable to modern audiences outside of the country.

About the instructor:

Jasper Sharp is a writer, curator and filmmaker. He is the co-founder of Midnight, since 2001 the premier online resource in the English-language about Japanese cinema. His book publications include The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film (Stone Bridge, 2003), joint-written with Tom Mes, Behind the Pink Curtain (FAB Press, 2008) and The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Film (Scarecrow 2011). His writing has appeared in publications all over the world, including Sight & Sound, The Guardian, Variety, The Japan Times, Kateigaho and Film International, and he has contributed liner essays, commentaries and interviews to numerous DVD releases. He has curated high profile seasons and retrospectives with organisations including the British Film Institute, Deutches Filmmuseum, Austin Fantastic Fest, Cinematheque Quebecois and Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Between 2010-14, he was the director of Zipangu Fest, established to showcase Japanese independent film in the United Kingdom, and between 2014-2016, the artistic director of Asia House Film Festival. He is the co-director, with Tim Grabham, of The Creeping Garden (2014), a documentary about slime moulds and the people who study and work with them, to be released by Arrow early in 2017, and the author of the book of the film, The Creeping Garden: Irrational Encounters with Plasmodial Slime Moulds (Alchimia Publishing, 2015).

About the Miskatonic Institute:

Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. The school currently has branches in Montreal and London, with Miskatonic London operating under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Electric Sheep Founder/Editor Virginie Sélavy.

All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Season ticket is £35 and will be available shortly. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class.

For full details of the next courses please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email[at]

Little Houses, Big Forests (desire is no light thing)

Siouxzi Connor

Little Houses, Big Forests
By Siouxzi Connor
Repeater Books
88pp. £12.99

We are pleased to announce the publication of Little Houses, Big Forests (desire is no light thing), an anthology of essays, short fiction, novel extracts and film stills – the first containment in one place of the writing and visual work of Electric Sheep contributor Siouxzi Connor. The book is an invitation to get lost within varied landscapes of its pages: middle-of-nowhere Australia, the minds of Susan Sontag and W.G Sebald, and, most prominently, the proverbial forests of all of our childhoods. There are, however, a few thematic paths to trace through these landscapes. Coming-of-age desire, our uneasy sense of self when isolated in nature and female sexuality become the mile-markers. The invitation to get lost is an invitation to come out the other side with the sense that being lost is not necessarily a state to be avoided but one in which we can occasionally luxuriate in.

About the Author

Siouxzi Connor is an Australian-born writer and experimental filmmaker. Her work, which explores ecology, anthropology and female sexuality, has appeared in galleries, anthologies and cultural journals internationally. A former fellow of the Berlin Institute for Cultural Enquiry, she is based in Berlin with the creative collective uferlos.Berlin Studios.

Watch an interview with Siouxzi Connor about her new book:

Berlinale 2017 Preview

Berlinale 2017
Berlinale 2017

Berlin International Film Festival

9 – 19 February 2017

Berlin, Germany

Berlinale website

The line-up of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival promises a range of excting home-grown films amongst some big hitters and some hidden gems.

With 18 competing films out of 24 titles selected for the Competition strand, the 67th edition of the festival promises to be intriguing, fun and hugely exciting.

Opening with Etienne Comar’s first feature debut Django, this year’s Berlinale starts off moderately it seems, but only to wow critic and audiences alike later in the run with hotly anticipated titles such as Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting follow-up, Trainspotting: T2, and the world premiere of James Mangold’s Logan, the third in the growing ‘Wolverine’ franchise, starring Hugh Jackman.

We are particularly looking forward to the new film by Sabu, Mr. Long and other promising works by exciting new and established filmmakers such as Argentinian-born Chilean film director Sebastián Lelio (Una Mujer Fantástica), Romanian film director Calin Peter Netzer (Ana, Mon Amour), the much underrated Portugese auteur Teresa Villaverda (Colo) and Spanish film director Álex de la Iglesia, whose latest offering El bar will screen ‘out of competition’.

With Andres Veiel ( Beuys), Thomas Arslan (Helle Nächte) and Volker Schlöndorff (Return To Montauk), there are three German directors in Competition this year, while the Austrian actor and comedian Josef Hader will also make his directorial debut at the festival with Wild Mouse.

The Panorama and Forum sections are as always packed with titles from around the world, but the one stand out that seems to anchor all is I Am Not Your Negro from Raoul Peck, about the writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin.

The Berlin Film Festival’s annual retrospective will be devoted to science fiction films. Focusing on two themes – ‘the society of the future’ and ‘the strange and the other’ – the sidebar ‘Future Imperfect. Science · Fiction · Film’ will screen a total of 27 international features, including classics, cult films and largely unknown productions from countries including Japan as well as central and European Europe. Among the titles featured will be Richard Fleischer’s 1973 sci-fi Soylent Green starring Charlton Heston as a New York detective investigating the murder of a company CEO in a world ravaged by over-population and environmental pollution, along with the first big screen adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, George Lucas’ THX 1138, Polish Piotr Szulkin’s nuclear holocaust survival picture O-bi, O-ba: The End of Civilization, Byron Haskin’s The War Of The Worlds and the 1918 Danish silent film A Trip To Mars.

For the third time, the ‘Berlinale Special’ strand will present a selection of TV series in the official programme. Six German and international productions will have their world premieres at the festival this year. Audiences will be able to see the first two episodes of each series.

For more information about the programme and how to book tickets visit the Berlinale website.

Pamela Jahn


Check out the full competition line-up below:

Ana, Mon Amour, Dir. Calin Peter Netzer

Bamui Haebyun-eoseo Honja (On The Beach At Night Alone) Dir. Hong Sangsoo

Beuys Dir. Andres Veiel

Colo Dir. Teresa Villaverde

The Dinner Dir. Oren Moverman

Django Dir. Etienne Comar

El bar (The Bar) Dir. Álex de la Iglesia – Out of competition

Félicité Dir. Alain Gomis

Final Portrait Dir. Stanley Tucci – Out of competition

Hao ji le (Have A Nice Day) Dir. Liu Jian

Helle Nächte (Bright Nights) Dir. Thomas Arslan

Joaquim Dir. Marcelo Gomes

Logan Dir. James Mangold – Out of competition

Mr. Long Dir. Sabu

The Party Dir. Sally Potter

Pokot (Spoor) Dir. Agnieszka Holland

Return To Montauk Dir. Volker Schlöndorff

Sage Femme (Midwife) Dir. Martin Provost – Out of competition

T2 Trainspotting Dir. Danny Boyle – Out of competition

Teströl és Lélekröl (On Body And Soul) Dir. Ildikó Enyedi

Toivon Tuolla Puolen (The Other Side Of Hope) Dir. Aki Kaurismäki

Una Mujer Fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) Dir. Sebastián Lelio

Viceroy’s House Dir. Gurinder Chadha – Out of competition

Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse) Dir. Josef Hader