Still from Riz Ahmed's film Dammi

South London Film Festival set to inspire and entertain

The South London Film Festival returns for its fifth year this weekend in Bromley.

From gritty council estate narratives to visually complex masterpieces, this year’s South London Film Festival (TSLFF) offers a powerful lineup of independent cinema.

Set to unfold over two evenings on 2-3 March at Picturehouse Bromley, the festival promises a captivating showcase of thought-provoking films including 40 finalists, 10 honourable mentions and 15 award-winning motion pictures.

On Saturday, attendees can expect a screening of an array of short films, followed by a Q&A and networking session at the Picturehouse Bromley Bar.

Featuring among the short films will be Last Call directed by Harry Holland and starring his brother Tom Holland as well as Riz Ahmed’s experimental film Dammi.

In keeping with the event’s South London roots, A Warrior’s Dance will also be premiered on the night which tells the story of Tobi, a 14-year-old British-African boy from Peckham, who is passionate about being able to express himself through dance despite his father’s wishes to focus on education.

Continuing on Sunday, a special screening of Cypriot feature film Senior Citizen directed by Marinos Kartikkis will be shown which focuses on themes of isolation, old-age and marginalisation of the elderly. 

Many films showcased at the festival have gone on to win the industry’s most prestigious awards at Raindance, BIFA, BAFTA, and even an Oscar at the Academy Awards picked up by director Aneil Karia’s The Long Goodbye.

This is in keeping with the festival’s rich history of recognising outstanding talent, with previous awardees including Stormzy, Larry Lamb and Kano. 

More than just a showcasing of films or gathering of cinema enthusiasts, founder Kyriakos Georgiou, shared his deep-rooted motivations for starting the festival, emphasising a passion for nurturing emerging creatives.

Georgiou said: “I realised that the educational system catered more to those who are academic, as opposed to those who have creative flair, skills, drive and hunger. 

“I really wanted to provide an opportunity for people to go out there and have a chance at life. Especially those who are creative, it’s a lot harder.”

The festival seeks to inspire budding filmmakers and pave the way for their success in the industry.

Central to this idea is promoting diverse, multicultural creatives who might not otherwise have their work showcased.

Georgiou added: “The whole purpose of what we’re about is encouraging people that if you have a voice, you can share it and not be afraid to do so.

“I think with all of the different messages and voices shown in the films, people will really take away from it and say, you know what, I want to go and tell my story, I want to go and make my film.

“Events like this show that there’s a real diversity of stories that can be told, within our communities. There’s lots of different angles to go from in terms of music and all of the influences.”

TSLFF has joined forces with London Live, BRIT School and Tooting Film Studios to provide opportunities for students and future creatives to get a head start in the industry.

Winners of Best Student Film will also receive £1,000 to spend on courses with partners Raindance.

The goal is for participation in the festival to be transformative for filmmakers, offering them not just a platform to showcase their work but also a springboard for career advancement. 

This weekend is set to be a testament to the power of diverse storytelling and creativity. 

Featured image credit: AMI, Vixens, Riz Ahmed

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