Centenary focus for Imperial War Museum's 2014 short film awards

Posted on centenarynews.com on 24 October 2014
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Films drawing on the Imperial War Museum's First World War archives are given prominent billing in IWM's Short Film Festival, which opened on October 23rd 2014.

After a three-year break, the event has been relaunched with the reopening of IWM London after major redevelopment of its galleries for the Centenary of the 1914-18 war.

The Museum describes the festival as a 'showcase of imaginative, edgy and challenging films inspired by IWM's collections and the cause, course and consequences of war.'

Films specifically inspired by the First World War will be screened across the remembrance weekend of 8/9th November 2014.

Director-General Diane Lees said the Museum's founders had been 'prescient' in 1917 when they decided that the relatively new medium of film should form part of the record of events still taking place on the battlefield.

Subjects at the festival range from Zeppelin air raids, to the 'frequently overlooked' Mesopotamian campaign, the brooding landscapes of the Somme and the railway carriage in which the Armistice was signed in 1918.

The motives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassin are explored in 'The Last Words of Garvrilo Princip,' a dramatised encounter between a psychiatrist and the Serb student in his prison cell towards the end of the war.

The dying Princip defends his actions in 1914, saying: "We spoke out against tyranny. Future generations will see the truth." His words haunt many of the events portrayed across the entire range of the festival. 

35 finalists

Thirty five films by both amateur and professional film-makers have been selected for screening during the three-week festival, 11 of them focussing on the 1914-18 conflict. The rest of the programme ranges from the Second World War right up to the current fighting in Syria and Ukraine.

For the Centenary year of 2014, a special award has been added for films addressing the First World War. Films will also be judged in the Best Documentary and Best Creative Response categories, and there's a chance for the public to have their say in the audience vote.

The winners will be announced on December 1st 2014 at an awards ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in London. 

Festival Director Matt Lee said: "We've been astounded not only by the volume of entries but also by the quality and creativity shown. Since the First World War, film has played a fundamental part in the story conflict across the world.

"The depth and breadth of the IWM Short Film Festival programme demonstrates the power and potency of this medium."

The IWM Short Film Festival runs until November 10th 2014.  Screenings are free at the Imperial War Museum, London. There are also a number of talks with museum and film industry experts. Full details of the programme can be found here.

Information & images supplied by the Imperial War Museum, London

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News