Watch the season trailer
The BFI today unveils Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, a three-month celebration of film and television’s original blockbuster genre.
Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder will include over 1,000 screenings of classic films and television programmes at over 200 locations across the UK, from outdoor events at iconic British sites to screenings in multiplexes, local cinemas and community venues, in one of the largest and most ambitious sci-fi seasons ever created.
Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder will be the BFI’s biggest season to date. It includes a three-month programme at BFI Southbank, from 20 October until 31 December 2014, and very special events, guests and screenings right across the UK. Classic sci-fi titles will be released into UK cinemas and on DVD and Blu-ray. There will be an extensive education programme, 50+ films available online through BFI Player, a BFI Sci-Fi Compendium, nine new BFI Film Classics published with Palgrave Macmillan, exciting new partnerships, special guests and commentators, all of which will celebrate cinema’s most spectacular and visionary genre, exploring how the fear and wonder at its heart continues to inspire and enthral.
Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI said:
Sci-fi has come to define the cinematic experience for audiences everywhere. We will celebrate the originality, the craftsmanship and the vision behind some of the most important film and television ever made. Its calling card is visual spectacle, but at its heart sci-fi is the genre for big ideas, revealing our hopes and fears for tomorrow’s world. We have only glimpsed its full potential.
Credit: Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved
- Nationwide reach: With over 1,000 screenings at over 200 venues, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder can be enjoyed across the UK. There will be more than 576 sci-fi screenings and events offered through the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN), screening at least 419 titles at 124 locations nationwide, plus 134 titles shown across 260 screening slots at BFI Southbank.
- Flagship events: Spectacular sci-fi screenings will take place at some of the UK’s most iconic locations, including the BFI Sci-Fi Weekend at The British Museum, Bletchley Park, the Eden Project, Jodrell Bank Observatory, and the square in H.G. Wells’ home town of Midhurst, West Sussex.
- BFI distribution: Re-released by the BFI, Ridley Scott’s director’s cut of dystopian masterpiece Blade Runner will be back on the big screen in cinemas across the UK in early 2015. The BFI will celebrate its previously announced nationwide re-release of Stanley Kubrick’s visionary 2001: A Space Odyssey (28 November) with a host of special guests, including the film’s stars Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea.
- Exclusive BFI DVD and Blu-ray releases will include the long-awaited seven-disc DVD box set of BBC TV series Out of the Unknown (1965–1971), and the DVD premiere of Nigel Kneale’s 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, starring the great Peter Cushing.
- BFI National Archive: The BFI National Archive will present four meticulously restored classic sci-fi titles at BFI Southbank and on BFI Player during the season, with shimmering new prints of the first ever British sci-fi feature film, A Message from Mars (1913), as well as the classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) and short film The Pirates of 1920 (1911). There will be an exhibition of Sci-Fi treasures from the archive throughout the season, including the original costume designs, photographs, posters and publicity material for films including Metropolis (1927), Things to Come (1936), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Blade Runner (1982) and Brazil (1985) – and the original continuity script from Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977).
- Collaboration with the BBC: The BFI is working closely with the BBC to open new opportunities for television, radio and cinema audiences to explore science fiction throughout the season. Historian Dominic Sandbrook will explore science fiction in its many forms in a new, landmark four-part series: Tomorrow’s Worlds. Airing on BBC Two to coincide with the season, a specially edited feature version will preview at BFI Southbank. BFI Southbank will host the London premiere of the first episode of the eighth series of BBC One’s highly anticipated Doctor Who, with the 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi in attendance, on 7 August, following its world premiere in Cardiff earlier that day, with both events presented as part of Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder.
- Previews, premieres and events: The season also includes an exclusive preview of the highly anticipated The Hunger Games: Mockingjay at BFI Southbank and the world premiere of Filmed in Supermarionation, the definitive documentary about the iconic and world-leading puppetry and animation techniques devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and their team of puppeteers in a Slough warehouse in the 1960s. DJ Yoda goes to the sci-fi movies in a very special Sonic Cinema event, and Sonic Cinema will spend a weekend delving Inside Afrofuturism, embarking on a cinematic trip into the vast, genre-bending universe of black science fiction, technoculture and magic realism.
- BFI books: The season will see the publication of the definitive BFI Sci-Fi Compendium, with contributions from world authorities on sci-fi, authors including: Lauren Beukes, directors such as Gareth Edwards and Edgar Wright, plus Sci-Fi visionary Douglas Trumbull. It will also be marked by the publication of a set of new special edition BFI Film Classics, published by Palgrave Macmillan, exploring nine key Sci-Fi films and written by high-profile film critics and academics, including Mark Kermode, Roger Luckhurst and Kim Newman.
- Your Sci-Fi: The BFI is launching sci-fi polls aimed at audiences of all ages. First is a quest to find favourite science-fiction film and television characters for poll, be they man or machine, hero, heroine or villain, and with Into Film there will be a UK-wide poll of science teachers by young people asking them to name which Sci-Fi film inspired them.
BFI Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder will include:
The major BFI Southbank programme, will launch on 20 October and run until 31 December 2014. Sci-Fi is presented across three themes that identify the unique characteristics and concerns of this remarkably diverse genre: Tomorrow’s World, Altered States and Contact!
Tomorrow’s World hurls us into the future where technology has changed everything. How do we distinguish the speculative fiction of our nearest futures and the science fiction of our fantasies? Visions of the future and futures passed will include Fritz Lang’s seminal Metropolis (1927), William Cameron Menzies’ Things to Come (1936), Joseph Losey’s The Damned (1961), Jean-Luc Godard‘s New Wave offering Alphaville (1965), Franklin J. Schaffner’s The Planet of the Apes (1968), George Miller’s Mad Max II: Road Warrior (1981), Terry Gilliam’s surreal masterpiece Brazil (1985) and the dystopian vision from Margaret Atwood’s novel in Volker Schlöndorff’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1990).
Altered States takes us inside the science fiction of the mind and body on adventures in ‘inner-space’. Mad scientists, mutants, man-machines and mind-bending trips will be taken with films that get under the skin of what it is to be human and into the minds of our monsters including Robert Stevenson’s The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936), John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966), starring Rock Hudson, David Cronenberg’s The Brood (1979), James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984), Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) and Michel Gondry’s emotive Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).
Contact! is made, and things are never quite the same again. Science fiction and humankind’s drive to explore and exploit new frontiers can lead to trouble – and things tend not to be any better when we take visitors from distant worlds. Films which question whether we are alone in the cosmos, and whether the cosmos would be better off without us, will include Wallett Waller’s A Message From Mars (1913), Byron Haskin’s War of the Worlds (1953), Fred Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet (1956), Roy Ward Baker’s Quatermass and the Pit (1967), Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running (1972), Steven Spielberg’s chilling Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); there will be an Extended Run of Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and screenings of Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland, Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), Robert Zemeckis’ Contact (1997) and Gareth Edwards’ Monsters (2010).
Inside Afrofuturism takes a cinematic trip into the vast, genre-bending universe of black science fiction, techno culture and magic realism. Special events include a Sonic Cinema weekend marking the centenary of the birth of the cosmic ambassador Sun-Ra, alongside screenings of John Coney’s Space is the Place (1974), and Shirley Clarke’s Ornette Coleman: Made in America (1985). Further highlights include John Akomfrah’s essential Afrofuturism primer The Last Angel of History (1996), John Sayles’ cult slave-narrative update The Brother from Another Planet, Lizzie Borden’s dystopian punk diorama Born in Flames (1983), Haile Gerima’s time-shifting allegory Sankofa (1993), and Terence Nance’s dazzlingly creative debut An Oversimplification of her Beauty (2013); curated by Ashley Clark.
BFI Southbank’s regular film/music event Sonic Cinema will be presenting a series of special sci-fi themed live experiences. Master of the movie-mash up, DJ Yoda, has been commissioned to create a new show. ‘DJ Yoda Goes to the sci-fi Movies’ which will world premiere in November. Another world premiere will be the eagerly anticipated new album from John Foxx and Steve D’Agostino, entitled Evidence of Time Travel which will be performed live with specially made visuals by Karborn. We are teaming up with Montreal-based digital arts festivals Mutek and Elektra to present a very special series of live audio-visual performances including new work from Roly Porter and Keudo, and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop will perform a specially arranged sci-fi set to celebrate their great contribution to TV sci-fi, playing to clips of some rare archive classics and current favourites and all in 5.1 surround sound in December.
Filmed in Supermarionation (2014) will premiere on 30 September as a curtain-raiser for the season. Stephen La Rivière’s tribute to the pioneering work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, creators of some of the UK’s most successful and iconic sci-fi film and television, will include a panel event with the director and key contributors. The time-defying Primer (2004) will be followed by a Q&A with director Shane Carruth. And some of the greatest ever sci-fi TV programmes will be in the spotlight, including Out of the Unknown, The Quatermass Experiment & Doomwatch, and we will celebrate the cult hit Blake’s Seven at a very special event.
The BFI Sci-Fi Weekend at the British Museum
A trilogy of science fiction classics will screen in the magnificent forecourt of the British Museum over three successive nights to audiences of up to 1200 each evening, from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August. On Thursday 28 August the BFI National Archive will present the London-set classic, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, directed by Val Guest, in a World Premiere of the new restoration. Friday will see us attempt inter-galactic contact with The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie as an alien stranded on Earth on a mission to find water for his own world. The weekend will conclude with a cult classic as we venture to planet Mongo on Saturday 30 August with Flash Gordon, saviour of the universe, in a new digital transfer.
Sci-fi across the UK
Screenings offered through the BFI Film Audience Network
There will be at least 576 BFI FAN sci-fi screenings and events, showing 419 titles across 124 locations, all curated by cinema experts with unsurpassed knowledge of their local audiences. Highlights from across the network are outlined below, with further announcements about BFI FAN sci-fi activity to come.
The BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) spans the length and breadth of the UK and connects cinemas, film archives, education organisations, community groups and others to bring a wide range of films to audiences and help build interest in independent and specialised film. BFI FAN members have boldly taken the sci-fi brief and created mind-blowing programmes of screenings, guests and events to bring classics of the genre to UK audiences in new and exciting ways.
A map of confirmed events, details about ticket bookings and an online search for your closest BFI sci-fi event will be available soon at bfi.org.uk/sci-fi
Derbyshire and the north west
Presented by Film Hub North West Central, led by Cornerhouse Manchester:
Watch the Skies! curated by Abandon Normal Devices at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire
The first ever outdoor cinematic events at one of the world’s largest radio telescopes, Jodrell Bank Observatory, which plays an important role globally in astronomical observations including research into ‘Pulsars’, ‘Cosmology’ and the ‘Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence’ (SETI). Watch the Skies! is curated by Abandon Normal Devices and produced in partnership with Jodrell Bank and Live from Jodrell Bank Transmissions and funded through the BFI Programme Development Fund.
Cornerhouse will present an ambitious all-night screening programme to transport audiences into the weird and wonderful world of science fiction. The programme of six films features a range of sci-fi titles, including well-loved and well-known classics and lesser-seen titles. Guest speakers and presenters will punctuate the event with contextualising film introductions.
East Midlands and east of England
Presented by Film Hub Central East, led by Broadway, Nottingham and Cambridge Film Trust:
Station X at Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
A series of immersive screenings and themed workshops over three days (September 19-21) will explore science fiction war narratives, totalitarian dystopias and fear of the power of science in the deeply historical setting of Britain’s wartime code-breaking huts. With screenings including the world premiere of a new digital print of X The Unknown, as well as The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Things to Come, Brazil and Dr. Strangelove, Bletchley’s famous grounds will feature an alien crash site, a rocket ship launch pad and a soundscape.
Mayhem Film Festival, Nottingham will present a three-day season of film screenings, events and discussion forums on the theme of ‘The Created Woman’, a popular and enduring idea within science fiction. Themes to be explored include: creating the ‘perfect’ woman, creation gone wrong/ the ‘monstrous’ woman, wives and daughters and conjuring the woman. Screenings will include Metropolis, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Stepford Wives and Solaris.
Presented by Film Hub London, led by Film London:
Ada & After: Women Do Science (Fiction), presented by Club Des Femmes in association with the ICA and Hackney Picturehouse will showcase the contribution of women to science and science fiction. The specially curated film programme of features, documentaries and short films will include Conceiving Ada starring Tilda Swinton by Lynn Hershmann-Leeson, an extended discussion with writer/director Maja Borg (We The Others, Future My Love) and Q&A with director Berit Madsen (Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars), accompanied by an interactive workshop on writing feminist science fiction for the screen with writer/director Campbell X and novelist Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring) via a Skype Q&A.
Day of the Dead Futuro Weekend presented by DSK-PR and Movimientos will celebrate Mexican culture and the Dia de los Muertos tradition, linking these to the themes of Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder. Taking place across key venues in south-east London in early November, the weekend will include screenings of classic Mexican sci-fi films from the 1950s and 60s, with events incorporating art and craft workshops for children, and music and performance at a secret Brixton location.
Presented by Film Hub Northern Ireland, led by Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast:
Created by NI’s premier LGBTQ arts organisation, Outburst Arts, Space camp is a performance and film exhibition that will explore the connections between Sci-fi and ‘the other’ through a one-off ‘spectacular’ event.
We are the Robots at Queen’s Film Theatre marks the upcoming release of Jon Wright’s new film Robot Overlords, which was funded through the BFI Film Fund and shot in Northern Ireland. This season of films will follow the technological evolution of the man-machine from the earliest days of cinema.
Presented by Film Hub Scotland, led by Centre for the Moving Image, Edinburgh; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Eden Court Theatre & Cinema, Inverness; Glasgow Film Theatre; and Regional Screen Scotland:
Glasgow Film has teamed up with Africa in Motion and Film Hub SWWM to shine a light on the emergent cultural aesthetic of African science fiction and Afrofuturism in the season Africa at the Door of the Cosmos. The programme, which will screen at GFT and three further venues across Scotland, features cinematic essays by award-winning artist filmmaker John Akomfrah, a series of African Sci-Fi shorts, and Afrofuturist films curated by Jerry Dammers of the Spatial AKA Orchestra (and founding member of The Specials). Jerry will also play a concert of ‘inter-planetary afro-jazz’ with the Spatial AKA Orchestra at the Arches music venue in Glasgow.
Presented by Film Hub South East, led by Screen Archive South East, Picturehouse in Brighton, Cinecity, and Lighthouse:
An HG Wells & John Wyndham Programme will see a weekend of screenings in Midhurst – home to both these key sci-fi authors – including the classic Village of the Damned (1960) adapted from Wyndham’s Midwich Cuckoos.
A sci-fi programme curated by award-winning artist film and video-maker Ben Rivers will launch in October at Folkestone Triennial 2014 before touring to selected venues across the UK. Titles will include Alain Resnais’ Je t’aime, Je t’aime.
X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963) UK Premiere on Sunday 23 November at the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, when the legendary American avant-garage rock band Pere Ubu present a live underscore to Roger Corman’s 60s Sci-Fi classic.
South-west and West Midlands
Presented by Film Hub South West & West Midlands, led by Watershed, Bristol:
Sci-Fi at The Eden Project: Sci-Fi visionary Douglas Trumbull worked as special effects advisor on films including 2001: A Space Odyssey but only directed one film, 1972’s environmentally-themed Silent Running (1972). The film will screen in the magnificent Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project, presented by Mark Kermode.
AfroFuturism Focus at Watershed: This cross-cutting season of film, art, fashion, comic books and music curated by Dr Edson Burton, as part of Black History Month, offers a range of perspectives on Afrofuturism; from big screen experiences of films such as District 9, Space is the Place and Pumzi to discussions with guests including award-winning creative Jon Daniel (Afro Supa Hero). Expect opportunities to come on board the mothership; whether that’s taking part in a kids Afro- Supa Hero animation workshop or getting your groove on at an otherworldly P Funk party.
Audiences from Penzance to Birmingham will get opportunities to experience Sci-Fi, from Chris Marker under the stars at Bristol’s Planetarium, Terminator 2 like you’ve never heard it before with a beefed-up live soundtrack from Bronnt Industries Kapital to Invasion of the Body Snatchers under the (real) Birmingham stars at mac’s Sundown Cinema: Out of this World.
Presented by Film Hub Wales, led by Chapter, Cardiff:
Following on from a very successful collaboration in 2013, Film Hub Wales, Chapter and CADW (a Welsh Government organisation working to protect the historic environment and heritage sites of Wales, and to promote Welsh history and culture), will bring Sci-Fi films such as ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Thing to historic Welsh sites such as Castell Coch, Caerphilly Castle and Raglan Castle.
Collaboratively created by members across the network, a distinctive regional Sci-Fi programme will also hit cinema screens Wales-wide this Autumn. Watch as Gwyn Hall transforms into ‘Planet Neath’ with Clash of the Re-makes and as Ian McCulloch and Luigi Cozzi beam down for Alien Contamination at Abertoir International Horror Festival!
Yorkshire and the north east
Presented by Film Hub North (led by Showroom/Workstation in Sheffield), in partnership with Sensoria Festival of Film and Music:
Film Hub North, in partnership with Sensoria Festival of Film and Music will present an outdoor screening of the BAFTA award-winning BBC drama Threads (1984), against the back-drop of Sheffield’s skyline at South Street Park Amphitheatre. Originally shot in Sheffield and written by local author Barry Hines, Threads projects a chilling view of what life would be like after nuclear war.
The BFI is working with the BBC to present an exciting season that will give television, radio and cinema audiences the opportunity to explore science fiction in depth.
Tomorrow’s Worlds, a landmark four-part series in which historian Dominic Sandbrook explores science fiction in its many forms, will be transmitted on BBC Two in the autumn to coincide with the season. A specially edited feature version based on all four episodes will preview at BFI Southbank followed by a panel discussion with Dominic Sandbrook and producer John Das.
BFI Southbank will host a number of previews of upcoming BBC programmes, including the August 7 premiere of the first episode of the highly anticipated eighth series of BBC One’s Doctor Who, entitled Deep Breath. Written by Steven Moffat, produced by Nikki Wilson, and directed by Ben Wheatley, this feature-length episode will see Peter Capaldi launched as the 12th Doctor, one of TV’s most iconic roles, alongside Jenna Coleman as his companion Clara. Cast and crew will be joining us for this very special event. Tickets to this event will be balloted (deadline 20:30 on Sunday 20 July) to ensure the fairest allocation of tickets possible. Find out more on the Doctor Who: Deep Breath page. All applicants will be informed if they’ve been successful by Thursday 24 July. The BFI will also preview Season Three of CBBC’s Wizards Vs Aliens as part of the BFI Sci-Fi family programme.
A number of classic BBC science fiction series will be celebrated at BFI Southbank events, including The Quatermass Experiment and Doomwatch, and the cult BBC TV series Blake’s Seven at which we hope to reunite some cast and crew. More classic BBC titles will be available for the first time as BFI DVD and Blu-ray releases, including the long-awaited seven-disc DVD box set of BBC TV series Out of the Unknown (1965–1971), and the DVD premiere of Nigel Kneale’s 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, starring the great Peter Cushing. A range of BBC presenters and personalities are participating in the BFI’s season, including Professor Brian Cox, BBC Radio 4 presenter, Adam Rutherford and BBC Radio 3 presenter, Matthew Sweet.
The BFI will re-release Ridley Scott’s Director’s Cut of his dystopian masterpiece Blade Runner (1982) to cinemas across the UK in early 2015. Based on science fiction author extraordinaire Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film boasts one of the most astonishingly designed futures ever seen on screen and examines what it means to be human, rather than a machine. When – on the occasion of the BFI’s 75th anniversary – cinema luminaries and film fans were invited to nominate the film they felt should be shown to future generations, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner took first place.
The BFI is also re-releasing Stanley Kubrick’s spectacular, transcendent and epic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which will be seen on big screens across the UK from 28 November. 2001 has been the touchstone for all science fiction film since its original release. With a screenplay co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke and developed concurrently alongside Clarke’s novel of the same name, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Critic Roger Ebert described Kubrick’s masterpiece as ‘a stand-alone monument, a great visionary leap, unsurpassed in its vision of man and the universe’.
The BFI is on a quest to find the best science fiction film and television characters of all time, and we want the British public’s views for our Greatest Sci-Fi Characters of All Time poll. From Mad Max and E.T to Darth Vader and The Doctor, Ripley and Uhura, Captain Scarlet and Cornelius, Maria from Metropolis, or the omnipresent HAL or Akira. The BFI is looking for votes from the public to join nominations from experts, writers, directors and famous fans to find the nation’s favourite characters, be they man or machine, hero, heroine or villain. now.
A dedicated BFI sci-fi app will be released in the autumn free of charge for tablets and mobile devices, delving into some of the most powerful and influential science fiction films ever made.
Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder will be a major presence on BFI Player, with key titles available to all, beginning with Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) available now and continuing with the BFI restoration of Val Guest’s classic The Day The Earth Caught Fire, which will be available on Player on Thursday 28 August to coincide with its screening at the British Museum. Free to view on BFI Player will be the visionary silent short The Fugitive Futurist (Gaston Quiribet, 1924) which imagines how London will look in the future, now with a new score composed and performed by Drake Music, pioneers in the use of assistive technology for musicians with disabilities.
An ambitious BFI Player collection of 50 classic sci-fi titles, to complement the BFI Southbank season and nationwide screenings, will be available to rent to follow in October.
Digitisation of BFI National Archive titles for BFI Player supported by The Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation
BFI DVD and Blu-ray
Close encounters of the archive kind come to DVD and Blu-ray as part of BFI Sci-Fi. These silver spinning saucers will contain some of the finest, and most wanted, sci-fi titles ever broadcast on terrestrial TV, as well as classics of British cinema.
August sees the first ever release of two celebrated BBC series: The Changes (1973), the unsettling 10-part series, based on Peter Dickinson’s best-selling trilogy; and The Boy from Space, which will contain all 10 of the ‘Look and Read’ episodes from 1980, as well as a newly-edited, feature-length presentation of the filmed drama segments in which a brother and sister discover an alien boy called Peep-Peep. To celebrate the release of this re-mastered Blu-ray there will be a screening of the specially made 70-minute version of the series at BFI Southbank followed by a panel discussion with key figures in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop who provided the original soundtrack.
In September, we take a trip to Outer Space, with a volume of cult Sci-Fi classics from The Children’s Film Foundation, featuring the much-requested The Glitterball (1977), as well as Supersonic Saucer (1956) and Kadoyng (1972).
October sees the long-awaited release of BBC series Out of the Unknown (1965 – 1971), one of Britain’s most important TV series, and the very first to directly involve the talents of high-calibre writers (including John Wyndham, Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard and J.B. Priestly). This 7-DVD box set will feature newly restored versions of the 20 surviving episodes from all four series, as well as episode fragments and reconstructions, audio commentaries, filmed interviews and an extensive documentary, and there will be a special screening and panel discussion at BFI Southbank to mark the release.
Also in October is Out of This World, the ground-breaking ABC series from 1962 which paved the way for Out of the Unknown. Containing the only surviving episode (the recently re-discovered ‘Little Lost Robot’, by Isaac Asimov), as well as reconstructions of other episodes, this DVD grants sci-Fi fans the long-overdue opportunity to experience this historically important series for the first time since its original broadcast.
As if the future didn’t look bright enough already, October will also see the DVD and Blu-ray premiere of the BFI Archive’s digitally re-mastered version of one of British cinema’s most intense sci-fi offerings – The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), which will be available on DVD and on BFI Player day-and-date to coincide with its August screening at the British Museum. In November another piece of TV history finally sees the light of day once again, when Nigel Kneale’s 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, starring the great Peter Cushing, gets its DVD premiere.
All of these BFI DVD and Blu-ray titles will be produced from the best available master materials, and will include extensive extra features and/or contextualising booklets.
BFI National Archive
The BFI National Archive will present four meticulously restored classic sci-Fi titles, with shimmering new prints of the first ever British sci-Fi feature film, A Message from Mars (1913), plus the classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) and short film The Pirates of 1920 (1911).
One of British cinema’s best science fiction films – though rarely seen – is Val Guest’s The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Life in a busy newspaper office is turned upside down in this daring – and surprisingly racy – story of a journalist’s investigation into escalating global freak weather conditions and discovery that nuclear testing around the world has knocked the Earth off its axis. The film is being restored by the BFI National Archive with the generous support of Simon W Hessel.
A Message from Mars is the first feature-length science fiction film produced in Britain, also unseen since its original release. Based on what was possibly the very first play containing a science fiction element – when a man is cured of his selfishness by a visiting Martian – that was written expressly for the theatre and first staged in London, in 1899. Creative imaginations were allowed free reign for the film adaptation with scenes set on Mars both opening and closing the film. The BFI National Archive is restoring the film as close as possible to its original length using tinted material held in the collections and with a tinted nitrate print loaned from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
In the short film The Pirates of 1920, a band of futuristic pirates use an airship-type apparatus to carry out their misdeeds. Inspired by the writings of the French author, Jules Verne, this film is known to have been reissued in 1915 but it may not have been publicly seen since.
Special Collections exhibition
Fashioning the Future: Sci-Fi and Costume, 25 September 2014 – 4 January 2015
This display at BFI Southbank will look at a century of sci-fi on screen and the influence of its innovative aesthetic, through original costume designs, photographs, posters and publicity material for films including Metropolis (1927), Things to Come (1936), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Blade Runner (1982) and Brazil (1985) and the original continuity script from Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977). From scientists to spacesuits, androids to aliens, costume and make-up have always played key roles in imagining tomorrow’s world or life outside our solar system. Costumes can be a spectacular element in sci-fi, with futuristic fabrics and designs being both influenced by contemporary culture, fashion and technology, and in turn providing inspiration to audiences and the fashion industry itself.
A diverse range of screenings, events and sci-fi related activities will be tailored to suit younger audiences of every school age and for adults with an explorer’s thirst for knowledge. The BFI is working closely with Into Film*, the film education charity that puts film at the heart of the educational and personal development of children and young people aged 5-19, to offer a dynamic programme of sci-fi educational activity online and across the UK. This programme includes: a Film Club promotion of specially-selected sci-fi titles to screen in 1000s of schools; a UK-wide poll of Science teachers by young people asking them to name which sci-fi film inspired them; a series of immersive cinemas events for 11-16 year olds based on The Village of the Damned (1960) and supported by the Wellcome Trust; and the BFI’s Top Ten list of sci-fi ‘discovery’ titles to be shown across the country at the Into Film Festival in November, including A Grand Day Out, Attack the Block and Silent Running.
An extensive new collection celebrating British TV’s contribution to sci-fi will be available to view free in BFI Mediatheques around the UK from late October 2014, featuring over 40 titles dating back to the 1950s. Most are not screening in the BFI Southbank season and many are not available on DVD. A special sci-fi selection for younger audiences will be available from December.
Titles will include Peter Watkins’ legendary docu-drama, The War Game (1965); rarely seen TV play, A.D.A.M. (1973); and an episode of cult BBC children’s game show, The Adventure Game (1986).
BFI Mediatheques can be found at nine venues around the UK and entry is free of charge.
The brave new worlds of sci-fi film and television will be explored through the fourth BFI Compendium Sci-fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, a lavishly illustrated survey of onscreen sci-fi from the silent era to the present, and from special-effects laden, big-screen epics to low-budget cult favourites. Through a wide range of accessible, thought-provoking essays, some of the world experts in the fields of science fiction cinema and television explore the full breadth of this most fascinating and thrilling genre. In addition, some of the key sci-fi directors and writers in the world today reveal their own personal sci-fi favourites – including Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) writing about Star Wars. The collection will be published in October to coincide with the BFI Southbank season.
October 2014 will also see the publication of a set of new special edition BFI Film Classics, published by Palgrave Macmillan, offering fascinating explorations of nine pivotal sci-fi films. Written by high- profile film critics and academics, including Mark Kermode (Silent Running), Roger Luckhurst (Alien) and Kim Newman (Quatermass and the Pit), each book features a beautifully illustrated jacket and film stills throughout. The full title/author list: Akira by Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc; Brazil by Paul McAuley; Dr. Strangelove by Peter Kramer; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Andrew Butler; Solaris by Mark Bould; The War of the Worlds by Barry Forshaw.
Partners and support:
Abandon Normal Devices Arthur C. Clarke Awards Ashley Clark
BFI Film Academy
The Blade Runner Partnership Bletchley Park
Cohen Media Group
Czech National Archive
Entertainment One UK
The Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation
Simon W Hessel
Film Hub Central East
Film Hub London
Film Hub NI
Film Hub North
Film Hub North West Central
Film Hub Scotland
Film Hub South East
Film Hub South West & West Midlands Film Hub Wales
Irish Film Institute
Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics Stephen La Rivière
Les Grands Films Classiques
Library of Congress
Live From Jodrell Bank: The Transmissions
Loncon3 World Science Fiction Convention Lucasfilm
Network Distributing Ltd
Park Circus Films
Pinewood Post Production
Quebec Government Office in UK
SCI FI LONDON
Sony, Studiocanal, ITV
The British Museum
The Design Council
The Eden Project
The Kubrick Archive
The Museum of Modern Art
ThunderbirdsTM and © ITC Entertainment Group Limited
Twentieth Century Fox
UCLA Film and Television Archive
Universal Pictures USA
Walt Disney Motion Pictures Inc
Warner Bros. The Wellcome Trust