Preview: St Leonards International Film Festival 2019 

Dedicated to celebrating and promoting celluloid-based filmmaking and encouraging the contemporary production of films using such technologies, St. Leonards International Film Festival (SLIFF) features cinema events, experimental screenings (film and sonic arts), community engagement ‘celluloid surgeries’, and artists’ professional development workshops.

In an age of digital-everything and CGI, when you never really know if what you’re seeing on screen ever actually existed in real life, SLIFF 2019 is returning to remind us all what hands-on film making really is. As their manifesto states, SLIFF, which was launched at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery in July 2012, is all about “preserving and sharing the beauty of past film technologies; promoting and encouraging its resilience through filmmakers who still use these technologies today; and most importantly, investing in its longevity and future as a unique and unequalled medium”. Run by Maurizio Vincenzi’s Endwell Productions, SLIFF is another string in the bow of Hastings’ burgeoning film presence – we have two fine independent cinemas, and regular screen-featured festival events like Trash Cannes and Hastings 5-Day Film Challenge. As the organisers state: “We don’t turn our backs on digital; we just do not agree with the current adage that ‘film is dead’; at SLIFF, film is alive and well, and we’ll do whatever we can to keep it healthy and celebrated for many more years to come”.

Its original launch showcased the high profile international success achieved in 2012 by some films produced in and around St Leonards, including the UK premiere of Speak & Spell in St Leonards”, by Mauricio Vincenzi and Darren Morris, aka The Bohemia Club Film Collective. The film was later screened at the Straight 8 Selection at Cannes Lions Festival in June of that year. 

The 12-hour, one day festival will be at Black Market VIP from 11am-11pm, kicking off with Children-Future of Celluloid, with family workshops, a selection of super8 films made by children, and an interactive session of super8 classic cartoons, B-movies and more. In the afternoon, “A Roof of My Own”, a 1964 16mm documentary about the self-built communities that developed in the ‘60s in Lima, Peru, with a Q&A from its maker, local legend John F.C. Turner, will be followed by Local Rescues-Saved From The Tip, a cornucopia of historical local archive footage. Afterwards, there will be a session where anyone is able to bring along their celluloid pieces and have them screened.

In the evening from 7pm Experimental Celluloid – Ain’t We All? is “a session of worldwide premieres of celluloid shorts, some featuring live, improvised scoring”. This will precede From The Way Back To The (Almost) Here And Nöw, a 16mm retrospective of Andrew Kötting’s early works, including some rarely seen gems. Be there or be 1.33:1!

• St. Leonards International Film Festival – 27th January Black Market VIP Venue, George Street Hastings.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.