Lift-Off Film Festival

As Lift-Off Film Festival hits the cities screens, Rachael Jones is looking forward to 15+ hours of cinema …

Founded in 2011, by up and coming independent filmmakers Ben Pohlman and James Alexander, this week sees the inaugural visit of the Lift-Off Film Festival to Liverpool.

After a successful couple of years in London, the founders looked north; choosing Liverpool based on an influential arts and culture scene, and aiming to provide us with an annual independent film festival that showcases both local and international filmmaking talent. In their own words, it’s an event ‘where big dreams and small budgets combine to make dreams come true.’

The week sees five screenings split across three venues; The Box at FACT, Metal at Edge Hill and the Kazimier. It’s clear that some thought has gone into the matchup of space and material – all these venues not only host regular film screenings, but have existing reputations for celebrating originality and creative thinking.

And that’s not all; for those who haven’t had enough of filmmakers being handed shiny naked men already, you can then extend the already borderline-interminable awards season with one that’s guaranteed to be more fun than listening to Seth McFarlane singing about seeing Kate Winslet’s boobs. Head to House on Bold Street on Thursday for a screening of last year’s winners before 2013’s are crowned; plus tunes, food and hobnobbing of course (FYI, we’ll be at the 9pm second screening on Wednesday if anyone fancies a midweek jaunt to the Kazimier).

“Pohlman and Alexander claim a lineup that’s ‘truly eclectic’ – despite our hatred of that particular term we’re prepared to let it slide”

Pohlman and Alexander claim a lineup that’s ‘truly eclectic’ – despite our hatred of that particular term we’re prepared to let it slide in this instance. They’ve curated a programme that includes straight-up dramas/comedies, documentaries, and also live script readings, which we’re assuming sound much more terrifying than they actually are.

Checking out the lineup does lend credence to the organisers’ claim of an all-embracing, film-watching experience: the first night on Monday saw offerings from the United Kingdom, Spain and France, and covered such subjects as a boy who wants to get pregnant, alcoholism, the banality of daily life and what it’s really like to work inside a traffic light. Which, if we’re honest, we’re pretty excited to find out.

Head to tonight and Wednesday’s screenings for such fare as CHANGE THIS jazz clubs, loss, the ins and outs of being a paparazzo and careers in classical music. A 14-minute exploration of the memoirs of Myra Hindley is in there too.

The festival’s authenticity factor is upped further by the aforementioned selection of winners, all of whom receive automatic Official Selections at London, Las-Vegas and Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festivals, as well as professional feedback from the judging panel. Oh yeah, and an IMDB page on which to advertise their wares to the wider world. Not a bad deal,huh?

Lift-Off’s films may be short, but their screenings aren’t; at 2.5 hours a pop, and films lasting anywhere between a few minutes and well over an hour, this is potentially not a festival for the undedicated; however, if you’re looking to do something a little different with your week we can’t think of much better than 15+ hours of cinema. You could go for a rewatch of the extended Lord of The Rings trilogy, but that would probably be infinitely less interesting.

Rachael Jones

The Lift-Off Film Festival runs at various venues this week 25-28 Feb; see for more details

Posted on 26/02/2013 by thedoublenegative