The 50th anniversary of The London Film School starts with season at the National Film Theatre (NFT) which will include the screening of the Norwegian box office hit 'Cool & Crazy', a documentary following the male-voice choir of Berlevag, above the Arctic Circle, as they prepare for a Russian tour.
The London Film School, over 50 years of operation, has trained thousands of directors, cinematographers, editors and other film professionals now working across the globe. A 50th anniversary retrospective season at the NFT in June will honour just a few of them - including Mike Leigh, Michael Mann, Horace Ove, Alain Tanner, Franc Roddam, Ann Hui, Harley Cokeliss, João Cesar Monteiro, Les Blair, Yim Ho, Knut Erik Jensen ('Cool & Crazy') and Don Boyd - as well as screening some of the award winning shorts produced in recent years - including 'Standing Still' by Norwegian director Lilja Ingolfsdottir.
The London Film School began life as ´The London School of Film Technique´, set up around the belief that the future health of film making in Britain could be promoted by properly designed formal training for people entering the industry, then run on a traditional apprenticeship basis. Since there was little sign of any official action to carry out these plans, a group of enthusiasts decided to take the classic British way and constitute such a school. The approach to the LSFT, through a gaunt passage and up winding brick stairs to a handful of rooms over shops in Electric Avenue, Brixton, was likened by an intrepid visitor to a set from "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari".
Fifty years later the school has survived bankruptcy in the 80s and student revolt in the 80s and 90s, as well as the rapid developments of the digital age to become a thriving, multinational school, based in a converted warehouse in Covent Garden. And although Skillset Screen Academy status and validation of its degrees by London Metropolitan University brings official recognition and additional resources, LFS remains what is has always been - a fiercely independent, non-profit organisation, an intimate community of filmmakers.
Cool and Crazy (Heftig & Begeistret)
Tue 27 June 8.40 NFT2; Thu 29 June 6.20 NFT2
Knut Erik Jensen from Finmark, a 70s graduate, was among many Norwegians, including Marius Holst, to do the LFS programme. Jensen made a poetic film about his hometown and worked as a cinematographer and assistant director until the prize-winning Burnt by Frost got him festival attention in 1997. This immensely enjoyable feature documentary follows the male-voice choir of Berlevag, above the Arctic Circle, as they prepare for a Russian tour.
Norway 2000 I Dir Knut Erik Jensen I 105 mins I J-Cert 15.
+ Standing Still (Lilja Ingolfsdottir, 2001, 9 mins): When you join a queue, do you know where it will lead you?
The NFT is open to all. NFT members are automatically members of the British Film Institute and entitled to a discount on all tickets. NFT Box Office tel: 020 7928 3232. Unless otherwise stated tickets are £8.60, concs. £6.25.