This year, LSFF collaborated with the London College of Communication (LCC) BA Film and Screen Studies cohort and lecturer Ed Webb-Ingall to commission students to write reviews of some of our festival strands. Several students on the course also volunteered at the festival, to whom we are eternally grateful for all of their hard work.
London Short Film Festival’s new shorts programme Anthropocene’s Deities, curated by Emma Bouraba, presents eight short films about the natural and spiritual connection in cultural and shamanistic systems.
This program allows us to see nature more closely, so to speak, from the inside, within the spiritual framework. Besides what the ecosystem promises us, how does our bond with it differ in situations? How do we communicate with the other beings in our lives? We confront the feeling that beliefs and our spiritual state have much to learn from nature while at the same time inviting us into its serenity.
The films combine the aesthetics of the environment and naive details about the similarities with animals from fish to bees, birds to grasshoppers. In flowing visions, they represent (The Grasshopper Sleep Here) a peaceful view from close nature to little lives, (Starlings) a rejection and a welcoming for the sound of the birds in a profound meaning, (A Sip of Water) a mystical animation about Korean shamans and spiritual hope, (Life Liberation) a search for escape and a portrayal of outsiderness with a fish, (Divination) coming to the end of a shamanistic life, (Kalsubai) an ethnographic lens to nature and the deity, (Summer of Bees) consistent work and love for the bees.
Starlings (Simon Allen, 2021)
Meditative and solemnly secluded, Simon Allen’s Starlings is a beautiful illustration of how in modern times we have isolated ourselves from the natural world around us and in doing so often lose a chance to experience its beauty and companionship. The use of sound throughout the piece, most noticeably the garden's artificially produced silence, is haunting. However, what stands out most prominently is its redemptive ending, indicating how it is never too late for us to become more present and compassionate with the world outside of ourselves.