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Pick of the science pics at the London Film Festival 2014

17 Sep, 2014

Audiences with an appetite for films inspired by science will have their thirst well and truly quenched by this year’s BFI London Film Festival which opens on 8th October with the Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game. We are delighted that three Wellcome Trust-supported films are part of the festival, which sees thirty films in the programme that explore the wider cultural, social and personal contexts of science. Subjects include autism, transgender bodies, ageing, disability, mental health and more. With so much to choose from, we asked Meroë Candy, Film and Drama Development Manager at the Trust, to give us some recommendations of what to watch out for…

Bjork: Biophilia Live

The culmination of Bjork’s science and art odyssey, Biophilia Live is an indescribable experience. On one level it is a film of her final performance of the Biophilia tour at London’s Alexandra Palace, on another it is a grand, experimental art piece which intertwines found and archive scientific footage with live music to re-connect its audience with our place in the natural world.

In a masterful piece of understatement, co-director, Nick Fenton says “Let’s not get too excited. It is only a concert film with some volcanoes and a few viruses; thunder and lightning; plankton and planets. Not forgetting Björk, the jellyfish, David Attenborough and the beautiful sounds of the choir Nobili.”

Bjork worked with Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton to encapsulate the soul of the Biophilia project on screen who consulted with Dr Adam Rutherford and Wellcome Images in the sourcing of imagery. Peter Strickland has another ‘science-inspired’ film in the festival The Duke of Burgundy about the sexual power dynamic between two lepidopterists.

Biophilia Live is the Sonic Gala premiere film and will screen on October 9th and 10th, 2014.


Image credit: Paul Stephenson

Image credit: Paul Stephenson

Agyness Deyn plays Lily, a young woman who experiences regular epileptic seizures, in the film Electricity, written by Joe Fisher and directed by Bryn Higgins.

Lily embarks on a search to find her estranged brother – a journey which pushes her to her limits physically and emotionally. Festival programmer Kate Taylor says “Visualising Lily’s physical experience in ambitiously cinematic ways, Electricity speaks of the experience of living a constantly medicated life, and how far people go to gain or lose control.”

Both lead actor and director worked with Dr Gonzalo Alarcon to ensure the film portrays a unique and authentic experience of living with epilepsy.

Electricity will screen on October 14th and 18th, 2014 and will be released by Soda Pictures on 5th December.

Abandoned Goods

Abandoned goods 'a camping hospital', AaH, p40

Short essay film Abandoned Goods, directed by Pia Borg and Edward Lawrenson and produced by Fly Film, documents the artworks created by people detained in Netherne psychiatric hospital between 1946 and 1981. Today around 5,500 pieces survive, assembled together as the Adamson Collection, one of the major bodies of British ‘asylum art’ – examples of which are held in the Wellcome Library. The film has already been awarded the Golden Pardino for the Best International Short Film at Locarno Film Festival.

Abandoned Goods will be screened on October 13th. 

Other films to look out for at the festival include The Falling, which is inspired by historical accounts of collective hysteria; The Tribe, a Ukrainian film about a boarding school for deaf young people which contains no spoken language, only sign language; X + Y, the story of a maths genius with autism; and The Possibilities are Endless, about pop star Edwyn Collins’s recovery from stroke.

Tickets for these films, and other London Film Festival screenings, go on sale to the public on the 18th September. You can find out more about the Wellcome Trust’s work to support film and drama here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Sampson permalink
    9 Oct, 2014 3:17 pm

    You’ve missed off Future Shock!

    Weekly British sci-fi comic 2000AD’s far-reaching influence on pop culture is explored in this documentary – a film for those who are already fans, and those who don’t know they are yet. Not only did 2000AD introduce seminal creators such as Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman) to the comics world, it also spawned two Judge Dredd films and has been a launch pad for artists and writers such as documentary contributors Pat Mills, John Wagner, Dave Gibbons, Kevin O’Neill, Neil Gaiman and Brian Bolland.

  2. Kate Weir permalink
    15 Oct, 2014 4:38 pm

    You’ve also forgot to mention that the film Electricity is an adaptation of the amazing novel by Ray Robinson. Go to: for more info.

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