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Sci Fi London

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The Arthur C. Clarke Award / Best Short Film / Audience Award

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Sci-Fi-London (The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film, SFL), is a UK-based film festival, dedicated to the science fiction and fantasy genres, which began in 2002.


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About the festival

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Designed to be a festival that “takes a serious look at sci-fi and fantasy, bringing new, classic and rare movies from around the world to the UK”, Sci-Fi-London annually screens world and UK Premieres, seminal cult classics, as well as documentaries, debates and talks.

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Short films are also an important part of the festival programme, screening in front of every movie shown, as well as together in the Blink Of An Eye short film programme. Over its history Sci-Fi-London has also held a number of Short Film competitions, and in 2008 launched the Sci-Fi-London 48hr Film Challenge, in order to encourage filmmakers to create sci-fi short films over a very short period of time.

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In 2006 the festival became the official home of The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the most prestigious award for science fiction literature in Britain, and recognised as one of the most prestigious science fiction awards in the world.

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Since its inception, the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival has also been one of the few places in the UK to consistently screen "All-Nighters" — film marathons which run throughout the night. These have focused on anime, horror, Alien, and Matrix films as well as episodes of the cult American TV series: Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

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The Festival is reliant mostly on a large and varied team of Volunteers, who give up their time and expertise for free, in aid of the various aspects of the running of the Festival. These are mostly recruited in the months leading up to the Festival, through the Festival's website.

Festival dates and location

In its first four years (2002–2005), the Festival resided mainly at the Curzon Soho Cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue (Central London).

The Festival then resided primarily at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus on Lower Regent Street (also Central London), from its fifth year through to its eleventh (2006–2012).

At the same time the festival also moved from screenings in late January/early February, to a slot in late April/early May (usually the May Bank Holiday Weekend), running over a longer, 5-day period.

Since October 2012, the festival has moved to its current location, at the Stratford Picturehouse, running a full 7-day programme.

Since 2008 Sci-Fi-London has also held a second festival in October, called Oktoberfest. This normally takes the form of a shorter festival, held at venues including the Apollo Piccadilly Circus, the Stratford Picturehouse, the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Royal Society.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is awarded every year to the best science fiction novel which received its first British publication during the previous calendar year. The Award is chosen by Jury.

The Award was set up in 1986 and the first winner was announced in 1987. In 2006 Sci-Fi-London hosted the Awards ceremony for the first time.

Festival awards

As well as hosting the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Sci-Fi-London also selects its own recipients for a Best Short Film Award, selected from the short films screened as part of the festival programme, and Best Feature Film.

Since 2003, there has also been an Audience Award for the Best Short Film screened, voted for by the festival audience.

The Douglas Adams Memorial Debate

From 2002 to 2007, and in tribute to "a master storyteller and man of great vision and imagination", the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival hosted the annual Douglas Adams Memorial Debates. These consisted of a lively panel discussion, made up of critics, authors, experts and academics, debating questions raised where science fiction meets science fact.

48hr Film Challenge

With the aim of promoting Film-making, as well as Film-watching, in 2008 SCI-FI-LONDON launched its first 48 Hour Film Challenge.

Registered Teams are given a random Title, Prop/Action, and a line of Dialogue, and two days (a weekend) in which to produce a 3 to 5 minute Short Film.

In 2008 there were 137 registrants, 87 teams taking part, 70 films returned, and over 1,200 people involved. That year the competition was won by a team featuring director Gareth Edwards, who used his entry as a stepping-stone to producing his first feature film: Monsters.

Winners are judged by Jury, which in the past has included directors John Landis, Marc Caro and Vincenzo Natali as judges. In 2011 the jury included directors Gareth Edwards and Edgar Wright, and features a development deal as its star prize.

Focus On

Since 2009 the film festival has dedicated part of its programme to the highlighting of different, and often under appreciated countries and their contribution to the genre. This has taken the form of screenings of current and classic films, shorts, talks and discussions.


The Sci-Fi-London Film Festival is one of the few locations in the United Kingdom to consistently screen All-Nighters – movie marathons, which run throughout the night (with the aid of ice-cream and caffeine drinks).

Oktoberfest and other events

In late 2008 Sci-Fi-London hosted its very first Oktoberfest: a one-day festival featuring new films and all-nighters, held at its regular London venue: the Apollo Piccadilly Circus. A second Oktoberfest was held on 23/24 October 2009, with a third on the 14th-16 October 2010, at The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, the Royal Society and the Apollo Piccadilly Circus.

On occasion Sci-Fi-London has also hosted other events, either outside London, or at other times of the year.

In 2005 Sci-Fi-London took its feature films, short films and all-nighters On Tour, to Edinburgh, Liverpool, York and Exeter, in February and March of that year.

In January 2010 Sci-Fi-London made its very first trip abroad, when the festival traveled to Powai, Mumbai and Ahmedadad, to hold screenings and workshops as Sci-Fi-London-In-India. With many positive responses from all three venues, it is now hoped that further events of this type might be possible in the future.


Not only acting as a first point of reference for the Film Festival itself, the Sci-Fi-London website also provides year-round News, Interviews, Reviews, Podcasts, Listings and Competitions, on a similar range of topics to that of the festival.

The website also features information on past festivals, how to volunteer at the festival, as well as a Mailing List and Message Board/Forum.

SCI-FI-LONDON.COM also operates a free 'webTV' service at SCI-FI-LONDON.TV, featuring films and shorts previously submitted or screened at past festivals.


Sci-Fi-London Wikipedia

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