Philip Ilson: Dare to Fail

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London Short Film Festival co-founder and director, Philip Ilson introduces our tenth edition of the festival which begins on Friday 4 Jan 2013.

We reach the 10 year mark for the London Short Film Festival, itself founded in 2004 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the Halloween Society short film club. Myself and Kate Taylor put together the first Halloween Short Film Festival over four days at the ICA. With a name change to the London Short Film Festival in 2008 and an expansion across London cinemas and venues, the Festival’s growth has been extraordinary and something I’m very proud of. I realise we’ve been going through some difficult financial times for the arts in general, and many festivals of all kinds have been sadly falling by the wayside (such as Rushes Soho Shorts, which folded as we were finalising our programme). We’ve tried our hand at some last minute crowdfunding with some help from our friends at Branchage. But there’s also an element that LSFF has kept going by sheer passion, and a belief in it by all involved, particularly the recent Festival Producers, who I’d like to thank here: Chloë Roddick, these last two years, Carla MacKinnon in 2010, and Cassandra Neal this year. This same passionate belief can be seen in the filmmakers that enter the Festival; with 1200 submissions of UK produced short films (up by 400 from last Festival), and this with virtually zero funding for short film production in the UK. The programming team have selected over 300 to screen, which is the biggest showcase of British produced work here in UK. But any regular visitor to the Festival knows that there’s a lot more on offer. Remaining true to its alternative and multi-media routes in the Halloween Society, there’s a strong programme of cross film & music events, and a look at filmmakers that have been exciting us these last few years. 

There’s also a strong showing of industry themed events from our partners, supported by Skillset to take us beyond the Festival into 2013; watch out for news of regular short film screenings and events beyond the Festival. But I’d like to finish on a quote by John Cassavetes, which was also taken as a slogan by straight-edge hardcore band Minor Threat: “As an artist, I feel that we must try many things, but  above all we must dare to fail”. Daring to fail is not only a mantra for LSFF, but also for the many filmmakers we’ve championed, the films that we accept for screening, and the other artists we bring into the Festival. 

The passion of those we hope we can support comes through from the brilliant work screening and showing across the Festival. We look forward to celebrating that passion with you in January.