UK COMPETITION: The Devil's In The Details

Friday 22nd January 2021 


A compendium of speculative futures, dream logics and waking nightmares.


These films mix fantasy and reality to strong effect, from the tough streets and tricksy megachurches of Lagos, to the otherworlds of Somerset's Wookey Hole Caves, alongside animation transporting us into the theme park from hell.


Featuring new work by artist filmmakers Ben Rivers (Two Years At Sea) and Screen Star of Tomorrow Akinola Davies, and animated performance from Emmy The GreatProgrammed by Philip Ilson. 70'

Please note, the films Lizard and Look Then Below can only be accessed by UK audiences at the request of their filmmakers.


Save 25% with a pass to all five UK Competition virtual screenings, or buy a full online Competition pass (all 10 programmes of UK and international award-qualifying short cinema) for just £25.

Sunday 17th January at 6.00pm

This event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Friday 22nd January at 7.00pm


£4 | £15 UK Competition pass | £25 Competition pass



Renee Zhan



United Kingdom

A woman who can't stand the passing of time turns herself into a black hole until, after a thousand unchanging years pass by, the Singularity wakes inside her. A 2D stop motion opera about the beauty of transience and letting go.

“An operatic musical. A beautiful drawn and modelled animation. A musing on a thousand years of evolution, the universe and the seasons. This original piece of work from animator Renee Zhan is ambitious and an ultimate success on all levels, giving us an emotional window into the passing of time and its baggage. Singer-songwriter Emmy the Great, who emerged from London’s indie scene in the mid 2000s, takes on the singing role of Singularity who wants to turn herself into a black hole. She is joined by mezzo-soprano Loré Ruth Lixenberg (Jerry Springer: The Opera), and comedian Arthur Smith (Red Dwarf) for a visceral experience of anxiety with the visible hand-worked touch of its creator.”
— Philip Ilson


Laura Carreira



United Kingdom

Anna, an agency worker, wanders through the supermarket trying to find affordable necessities. As her groceries edge towards the checkout, her agency calls; she has lost her shift. A vignette of the vulnerable conditions of a temporary worker and the dangerously thin line separating employment and poverty, security and tumult.

“After taking her dog for a walk one morning, a young woman heads to a supermarket to do some shopping. She rummages through shelves and surveys the reduced section for discounted items to put in her basket, but when she gets to the checkout, she gets an unexpected phone call from her temp agency about her upcoming shifts. Written and directed by Laura Carreira, and with a lead performance from Anna Russell-Martin who says as much with her glances as she does with her words, The Shift highlights the precarity that temporary workers find themselves in on a daily basis and just how easy it is to cross the fine line between job security and unemployment.”
— Dan Guthrie


Ben Parsons



United Kingdom

Part erotic lyric video, part theme park from hell. Debunking the white middle class American amusement park, this work of both hyperreal and hyper-satured text, animation and sound soon transforms it into a place of nightmares.

“Churning through queasily rendered 3D graphics, Ben Parson’s Scream If You Wanna Go Faster is a downward plummet of excess and gay desire. Taking the form of a lyric video, its text hinting at deeper trauma, Parson’s film encapsulates the Dantesque horror of online expression. As visually and sonically overwhelming as it is, no element here is left to chance: Parsons meticulously choreographs an online nightmare where information and truth are fractured, and the sound of applause could just as much herald your own downfall.”
— Tom Grimshaw


Ben Rivers



United Kingdom

The film conjures up futuristic beings from an eerie smoke-filled landscape and the depths of the earth. The netherworld of chambers, carved out over deep time, once held remnants of lost civilisations and now foretell a future subterranean world occupied by a species evolved from our environmentally challenged world.

“This is a stunningly beautiful film to look at. Digital animation, hand processed 16mm, superimposition, solarisation: all seamlessly edited to create an abstract landscape of the solid rock faces of deep caves and the green foliage of its surrounding woods and jungle. Rivers has been screening work at LSFF since the very beginnings of the festival, with his filmic musings on English wilderness and collaborations with other LSFF regular Andrew Kötting. Since then, he’s captured landscapes across the globe, from Nagasaki to Lanzarote, but here returns to Somerset to the cinematic uncanny of the Wookey Hole Caves, evoking the ‘70s dystopias and post-human speculations of John Boorman’s Zardoz and Saul Bass's Phase IV.”
— Philip Ilson


Akinola Davies



United Kingdom

An eight year old girl with an ability to sense danger gets ejected from Sunday school service. She unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a Mega Church in Lagos.

“London-based, Nigeria-raised filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr. returns to the Lagos of his childhood, steering us through a deeply religious and matriarchal society through the eyes and imaginings of its protagonist: an eight year old girl with otherworldly intuition. A personal and at times autobiographical story of exploration, we discover the workings and underbelly of a mega-church as she floats unseen like a ghost through the congregation, past the dodgy money-laundering happenings in the back rooms, and into the surrounding streets before a violent reality brings her back.”
— Philip Ilson

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