Our fourth Oktoberfest has come to close, with two major changes; it moved to November and it moved to Stratford in East London, hence the name change. As we race towards the end of 2012 and possibly the end of the world, and with venue of the world's biggest sporting event within spitting distance, it was a gift for us to theme the festival as Post Apocolympic (not that easy to say). And this was reflected in the films we showed, although this was more down to coincidence and good fortune than clever planning. Although we would like to think there was some intelligence in the choices from our side.
Although it may seem a long way out from central London, especially if you live in west or south London, it is incredibly well served by public transport, thanks to the Olympics. Its location certainly didn't stop millions of people from coming from all over the world to watch sports, and it didn't seem to deter the sci-fi fans either.
For all those that turned up there was an extra treat as we were supplied with freshly cooked pukka tucker from Jamie's Ministry of Food Stratford, before seeing a preview of the claustrophobic Aussie sci-fi thriller, Crawlspace, which is due out some time in the new year.
Saturday and we had a long Q&A with David Wingrove, author of the Chung Keo novels, which, naturally, have a futuristic, post apocalyptic story. This was quite informal and led by our literary editor and Clarke Awards juror, Rob Grant. For those interested in old-school gaming (with boards not bytes), Esvidium were running some pretty intense sessions of Star Trek Catan, which proved popular with visitors. As did the new Microsoft Surface tablets, for those of a more digital persuasion.
As we continuously point out, we like to support both short film and encourage new British sci-fi filmmaking talent, which was the reason for starting the 48 Hour Film Challenge. Although we had some exceptional films in the first year, including Gareth Edwards' Factory Farmed, the overall quality of the films has grown exponentially. We showed a selection of some of the best from the last four years, and, more importantly, announced that Guillermo Del Toro has agreed to be on the jury for next year's challenge. There are lots of other exciting developments in the pipeline, so if you want to give your filmmaking career a boost (like Gareth Edwards) then get into sleep deprivation training. April isn't that far away.
It was fitting that the guys running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to make a post-apocalyptic comedy The Fitzroy should be at the festival trying to drum up support, not only because their film is British and post-apocalyptic, but also because they met at the 48 Hour Film Challenge. Please support their campaign.We interviewed them here.
It was soon time for a change of shift as the hardcore all-nighter crews arrived for anime and MST3K and the sensible folk headed for the last Tubes and trains and their own comfortable beds. However, those that made it through the night were treated to breakfast at Asper's Casino and were given the chance to be bitten by the gambling bug.
More family viewing in the afternoon, but not necessarily for all the family, with Nuclear Family, which was the pilot for a new TV show that looks like it may become an online series, and if they can keep Ray Wise in it, it is bound to become a hit. This was followed by a revisiting of Kafka's classic novella Metamorphosis. The festival finished with the French dystopian film Carré Blanc.
At the end of the festival, the general consensus was the new venue is great and we look forward to being there in May for SCI-FI-LONDON 12, with lots of great films and events. So we have to thank Stratford Picturehouse for putting up with us, our sponsors, all our volunteers who were marvellous as usual, and the filmmakers and distributors that supplied the films without which it wouldn't be much of a festival.
Until May (or April if you are doing the 48 Hour Challenge).