‘Factory Farmed’ dir. Gareth Edwards (2008)

Year: 2008
Country: UK
Writer-Director: Gareth Edwards
Producers: Zoe Elliot
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Key Cast: Allen Leech, Jacob Court

10 Questions for Louis Savy, director of the London Sci-Fi Festival 

CB: Many thanks for allowing us to host Factory Farmed, winner of the Sci-Fi London 48 hour film challenge 2008 – were you surprised when this little gem landed on your desk?

LS: As it was the first year of our film challenge, we were not expecting too much.  As expected we had some films that were scrappy and a little unfinished, Gareth’s film on the other hand shone out, it was by far the clear winner when we saw it - production values and the general feel of the movie put it way ahead.  It showed someone with real talent.

CB: Had you had any contact with the filmmaker prior to that?

LS: Gareth has been great in supporting the festival.  He championed the event and helped get Vertigo involved in the subsequent years.  He of course came back and did a great Q&A at the screening we did of Monsters.  Since then he has been warm to our requests and I hope that continues.

CB: When did you launch the challenge, and why?

LS: We launched in 2008.  For two reasons.  Firstly, we wanted to help filmmakers focus on science fiction, helping them see that effects and big budgets can make way for great storytelling and clever production, again FACTORY FARMED did this.

Secondly, we wanted content for our website etc.  We felt that there was a lot of talent out there and wanted to be a catalyst for low budget SF films to be made, giving us great shorts to screen.

CB: Does the industry take an interest?

LS: They do now.  We helped find Gareth Edwards.  Vertigo, The Guardian, Syfy Channel etc all take a great interest. and we have had films in dozens of festivals now.

CB: Do you find the quality improves year on year?

LS: Absolutely.  the last challenge saw us have 171 films, at least 50 were as good as anything I have seen funded by UK screen agencies… all made for free and in TWO days!

CB: Short filmmakers often shy away from sci-fi as a genre because they presume it needs a big budget, but the challenge goes a long way to dispel that.

LS: We hope so, and I think the 500 or so films made in the past 4 years echoes this. The plan was to get people thinking differently about making genre films.

CB: How long has Sci-fi London been alive, and is it growing?

LS: 12 years this May, and each year numbers are up and our reach is wider.  Hope that continues.

CB: Are you impressed with the current state of sci-fi films, are there enough new voices coming through in the genre?

LS: No.  Too many superhero and zombie movies make it into the cinema circuit at the expense of those great indie SF films.  The festival is there to show stuff that will otherwise not be seen.

CB: What can we expect from this year’s festival?  Any highlights to plug?

LS: Nothing specific yet, just take a chance and come see something.  these are great films that just happen to be SF.

CB: What’s next on the (intergalactic) horizon for Louis Savy?

LS: The Film Festival Academy - I am involved in trying to get proper knowledge exchange and collaboration between film festivals, not just genre ones.  I am also going to start producing some films… gulp!