Tag Archives: David Lynch

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.

Working the Blue Rose Case: Signs, Codes, and Mysteries in David Lynch’s Fire Walk With Me

Fire Walk With Me

Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London

Instructor: Maura McHugh

Date: 8 December 2016

Time: 7-10pm

Venue: Horse Hospital

Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

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

Miskatonic website

Fire Walk With Me (1992), directed by David Lynch and co-written with Robert Engels, was created to address unanswered questions in the seminal TV series Twin Peaks (1990-91), but instead it offered more puzzles and dream narratives to confound viewers. Its premiere in Cannes was met with boos and jeers from the audience, but over the years critical opinion of this challenging film has matured and developed. Maura McHugh will explore the symbols and themes that underpin Fire Walk With Me and Twin Peaks, and will offer you a refresher course in its characters and strange happenings in advance of the new series of Twin Peaks which will materialise in 2017.

About the instructor:

Maura McHugh lives in the West of Ireland, and began her career in academia. Her first Masters examined Irish nineteenth century supernatural fiction (making her a life-long Dracula nerd). After a sojourn in IT she later explored her love of cinema through a Diploma in Film Studies followed by a Masters in Screenwriting. Her dark fantasy and horror short stories and non-fiction essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in America and Europe. Her two collections – Twisted Fairy Tales and Twisted Myths – were published in the USA, and she’s written award-winning comic book series, including co-writing Witchfinder with Kim Newman for Dark Horse Comics. Her short story ‘Bone Mother’ is being adapted into a stop-motion short film by See Creature in Canada. She has also served on the juries of international literary, comic book, and film awards. Her web site is http://splinister.com and she tweets as @splinister

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 Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.

The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology: Reviews

The End: cover

Two great reviews of The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology have been published this month:

In the US magazine Cineaste, Mikita Brottman says: “What these essays all share is a certain sensibility – an informed, intelligent, playful, and slightly offbeat tone that is characteristic of Electric Sheep’s articles, reviews, podcasts and blog. This appealing, 250-page volume is beautifully designed. The essays are illustrated not only with stills from various films, but also with fabulous black-and-white illustrations.”

On the Critics’ Circle website, Laurence Boyce writes: “It’s this eclectic nature of both writing styles and design (the book is excellently laid out with some nicely illustrated pieces and a lovely end essay/poem dedicated to Bill Morrison’s Decasia) that make it such a fun and worthwhile [read]. Passionate yet informed about cinema, it makes one hope that The End does not live up to its name and that another volume is one the way.”

From the gutter to the avant-garde, The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology brings together a mind-bendingly eclectic programme of films, authors, artists and directors, including Bill Morrison’s chemical ghosts, the bad girls of 50s exploitation films, apocalyptic evangelical cinema, the human centipede, Spanish zombies, Japanese nihilists, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s lost masterpiece Inferno and Ingmar Bergman’s visions of the end. A must-read for all film lovers and those who like to wander off the beaten cultural track!

To buy the book, go to the Strange Attractor website.

Read ‘Darkness Audible: Sub-bass, tape decay and Lynchian noise’ by Frances Morgan with illustrations by Lisa Claire Magee.

Take a look at some sample pages:

A Feast of Skeletons
Final Cut