2023 BFI London Film Festival Presents: Expanded

BFI LFF Expanded
Haunted Hotel. Image courtesy of the artist Guy Maddin.

This year’s 67th London Film Festival celebrated the moving image in all its forms with the LFF Expanded programme, a diverse range of immersive and thought-provoking AI and VR experiences.

The exhibition encourages audiences to explore and go beyond their imagination and question the illusion of reality, as they take in the diversity of storytelling from artists, filmmakers and creatives teams including Pierre-Alain Giraud, Stéphane Foenkinos, Tania de Montaigne, Darren Emerson, Karen Palmer, CyberRäuber, Steye Hallema, and more. See some of our highlights below:

Colored – UK premiere

6 to 22 October (closed 16 October) | Bargehouse | 32 minutes | Lead artist(s): Pierre-Alain Giraud, Stéphane Foenkinos, Tania de Montaigne

Inspired by Tania de Montaigne’s biographical essay, ‘Colored’ tells the poignant narrative of the remarkable journey of 15-year-old Claudette Colvin who challenged segregation laws in 1950s America. With holographic imagery and enveloping soundscapes to transport us back in time to a pivotal and clandestine chapter in US civil rights history, the courageous Colvin, a young Black girl, took a stand by refusing to yield her bus seat to a white passenger. As the story unfolds we find ourselves fully immersed in this transformative experience, from the confines of the bus to the solemn courtroom where Colvin faced her sentence. This compelling work thoughtfully sheds light on the pervasive issues of everyday prejudice and racism and is undoubtedly a must-see.

Big Picture Film Club starting the experience for ‘Colored’.

Murals – UK premiere

6 to 22 October (closed 16 October) | Bargehouse | 9 minutes | Lead artist(s): Alex Topaller, Daniel Shapiro, Artem Ivanenko

We followed a trail of Banksy’s artwork juxtaposed with imagery of the fallout from the war in Ukraine in ‘Murals’. By blending advanced 3D scanning techniques with a symphony of light and sound, the team skillfully documented the war-torn homes and architectural landmarks in Ukraine. They seamlessly incorporated CG scans of Banksy’s art into these scenes to emphasize the resilience of daily life amid devastation, carrying a powerful message that even in the face of destruction, hope persists, and a brighter future will emerge from the ruins.

Excerpt of Murals

Letters from Drancy — UK premiere

6 to 22 October (closed 16 October) | Bargehouse | 22 minutes | Lead artist(s): Darren Emerson.

An enthralling narrative of sorrow, yearning, and the unyielding strength of love, “Letters from Drancy” sensitively portrays life amidst the harrowing backdrop of the Holocaust. This VR documentary follows Marion Deichmann on her brave childhood odyssey across the borders of Northern Europe, recounting her heart-wrenching separation from her mother, her escape from persecution with the aid of the French Resistance, and her vivid recollections of the D-Day bombings. Marion’s tale embodies the themes of loss and longing but also radiates with the enduring power of love—a poignant testimony to the bravery of those who embraced humanity’s compassion in the face of relentless hatred.

Hanging postcards installation

Forager – UK premiere

6 to 22 October (closed 16 October) | Bargehouse | 8 minutes | Lead artist(s): Winslow Porter, Elie Zananiri

Unique volumetric time-lapse technology unveils a lesser-known world, brimming with wonder in some of nature’s most intriguing mysteries, delving deep into the enchanting realm of fungi. ‘Forager’ explores what is beneath the earth’s surface – a vast network of microscopic mycelium highways, spanning over a million miles that remains hidden from our view. This sensory documentary wonderfully engages our senses of sight, sound, touch, and scent to unveil the full life cycle of fungi, from the humble spores to the complex mycelium networks and the eventual stages of decay. 

BPFC’s Presh Williams experiencing the Forager virtual interaction installation

Consensus Gentium — winner of SXSW 2023 award for innovation XR experience 

6 to 22 October (closed 16 October) | Bargehouse | 25 minutes | Lead artist(s): Karen Palmer

“If everyone believes it, it must be true.” Right? 

Designed to ignite conversations about data privacy, racial equity, unconscious biases, and the profound influence of technology. ‘Consensus Gentium’ challenges storytelling at its core. With an interactive storytelling experience delving into the heart of critical issues such as race, technological bias, and social justice, your emotions respond to the smartphone film, which seamlessly incorporates cutting-edge facial detection and AI, immersing you in an interactive, thought-provoking journey. 

BPFC’s Presh Williams experiencing Consensus live

These and many more are running till 22nd October, for more info and how to book tickets visit BFI’s website.

Also Read: How Film Changed Me: On BFI Flare

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