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Snapshots from Leeds International Film Festival 2021

Sunday 21 November 2021, by Abla Kandalaft, Alma, Tom L.J.

Every year, the Leeds International Film Festival offers a carefully curated, diverse and exhaustive programme of feature films, retrospectives, shorts, music videos and more. Three members of the team were there. One of us was also part of the Jury for British and Yorkshire shorts! Here are some highlights away from the main feature competition programme.

Alien on Stage by Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer

A very amateur dramatics group of Dorset Bus Drivers spent a year creating a serious stage adaptation of the sci-fi, horror film, Alien. With wobbly sets, awkward acting and special effects requiring more luck than judgement.

The directors knew they had gold on their hands in the form of this hugely entertaining production. We as the viewers - and presumably as the audience of the actual live show - are never quite sure whether or not the cast and crew are in on the joke, which makes for some moments of awkward, guilt-ridden viewing, which mostly gives way to sheer enthusiasm and genuine big laughs. Kudos to the crew who in all earnestness put so much care and attention in recreating scenes from the film.

Music Video Awards

Here are our top 3 from the Leeds selection for you to enjoy!

Mary Ocher - For All We Know, directed by Yann Les Jours

Hak Baker - Irrelevant Elephant, directed by Jon E Price

Blake Mills - Money Is the One True God, directed by Lachlan Turczan

Blake Mills | Money Is The One True God from Lachlan Turczan on Vimeo.

Shorts and Animation

Aside from our delight at rewatching Joanna Quinn’s Affairs of the Art, a Clermont favourite, our collective special mentions go to the mesmerising What Resonates in Silence directed by Marine Blin, the calming and soothing Pearl Diver by Norwegian film student Margrethe Danielsen, the funny, touching and well paced dark comedy An Irish Goodbye by Tom Berkeley and Ross White, short doc Hanging On by Alfie Barker, a glimpse at the human cost of gentrification and eviction, a creative, imaginative and personal take on much explored (but still relevant) issues in documentary.

We also liked Dan Thorburn’s sombre, arresting and beautifully acted Salt Water Town and documentary maker Sema Basharan’s The Branches are Hope; The Roots are Memory, an uplifting, poetic and very concrete look at the abstract concepts of peace and faith in the city of Bradford, also the well-deserved winner of the Yorkshire shorts competition. You can find Q&As with the latter two directors here and here.

We didn’t have time to watch or cover everything, there were so many more gems to catch. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions you’d like to put to the Leeds team or the directors.

Any message or comments?

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