Panel Borders and other podcasts

Panel Borders and other podcasts

Podcasts, radio shows, writing and more by Alex Fitch

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Sci-Fi London 8

April 11, 2009

Sci-Fi London 8 logo

Sci-Fi London 8 logo

It’s nearly the May Bank Holiday, which means it’s also nearly time for this year’s Sci-Fi London – The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantasy Film

Now in its 8th year, Sci-Fi London has developed into a more wide-ranging science fiction festival than ever before. Sci-Fi London now includes talks on literature, science and comic books that not only sit alongside the film events in the programme, but provide a dialogue with the screenings: TV and radio writers will discuss sci-fi comedy while comic book artist Kevin O’Neill will talk about his drawings on screen and the film based on them, Hardware (1990), which will be shown afterwards.

Image from Hardware, directed by Richard Stanley

Image from Hardware, directed by Richard Stanley

A perennial and popular strand at SFL is the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 all-night screenings, where fans of SF B-movies watch a TV version of those films, with heckling by an onscreen astronaut and two robots. This year’s festival takes that idea into the realm of stand-up comedy, screening one of the films showing in the festival again with a live redub of the soundtrack by improv comedians who include Cariad Lloyd, Gemma WhelanSara Pascoe (Free Agents), Humphrey Ker (Penny Dreadfuls) and Paul Foxcroft. Elsewhere there are different kinds of interaction with SF fans. For the first time in its history, SFL 8 will screen a ‘fan-film’, The Hunt for Gollum, which boasts production values similar to any of the authentic Lord of the Rings films and should keep devotees of the saga happy before the official prequel hits the big screen. In addition, SFL features an on-stage reading of a radio play script, The Brightonomicon, by some of the original cast, allowing the audience to see behind the scenes of something they’d normally only hear. The films at this year’s SFL are a mixture of old and new, Western SF and films from further afield:

The City of Lost Children / La cite des enfants perdus directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet

The City of Lost Children / La cite des enfants perdus directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet

As well as The City of Lost Children (1995), featuring a Q and A with co-director Marc Caro performed by Alex Fitch with translation by Virginie Sélavy, there’s a kids screening of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986), Ever Since the World Ended (2003), and four of the best Star Trek movies from the 1980s, which fans can see for free. World cinema is represented by Turkish comedies G.O.R.A. (2004) and A.R.O.G. (2008), Japanese SF epic Twentieth-Century Boys part 2 and a selection of Israeli short films.

Image from Stingray Sam directed by Cory McAbee

Image from Stingray Sam directed by Cory McAbee

New films and premieres include Bill Plympton’s Idiots and Angels, Stingray Sam (from the director of The American Astronaut, a low-fi American indie favourite of recent years) and new Japanese / American co-produced animé Afro Samurai: Resurrection, featuring the voices of Samuel L. Jackson and Lucy Liu. Perhaps the most obvious example of combining old and new at the festival is Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell 2.0, which is a remix of the original film, replacing all of the backgrounds and some of the characters with new visuals. Whether Oshii’s interference with his own film is on the level of George Lucas’s endless tinkering with Star Wars – making it worse each time – or Ridley Scott’s various re-edits of Blade Runner – all equally as good and as unneeded – remains to be seen.

A longer version of this article first appeared in Electric Sheep Magazine online

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Reality Check: The Invisible art of acting for radio

March 10, 2009 1 Comment

Reality Check:
Reality Check logo
The Invisible art of acting for radio

Rupert Degas at the recording of Cry Babies by Kim Newman, photo by Moira Degas (c) 2008

Rupert Degas at the recording of Cry Babies by Kim Newman, photo by Moira Degas (c) 2009

Alex Fitch talks to actor Rupert Degas about his various roles in genre radio and audio dramas such as playing David Warner’s sidekick “Rizla” in the BBC7 adaptation of Robert Rankin’s The Brightonomicon and playing the father of a cyrogenically preserved child in Kim Newman’s Cry-Babies which was recently broadcast on Radio 4. Alex and Rupert also talk about his roles in Dan Dare, Dirk Gently and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy plus his uncredited role voicing the devil in Exorcist: The Beginning

For more info, please visit the home of this podcast at Sci-Fi London

Links: For more info about BBC radio’s SF season, please click here
bbc.co.uk pages on Kim Newman’s Cry Babies (including “listen again” until 15/03/09) and
Robert Rankin’s The Brightonomicon (including “listen again” until a week after broadcast)
Rupert’s wikipedia and IMDb pages
Buy audio books (including Dan Dare) read by Rupert from orionbooks.co.uk
Buy The Brightonomicon and The Long dark tea-time of the soul from bbcshop.com
The Brightonomicon podcast blog

For more podcasts about radio and audio dramas, please click here

In association with: Sci-Fi London logo

Panel Borders: Comics on the radio

February 9, 2008

Originally broadcast 07/02/08 as part of Strip! on Resonance 104.4 FM

Alex Fitch and Duncan Nott talk to Dirk Maggs about his comic book adaptations Superman – Death & Beyond, Superman on Trial and Batman: Knightfall, how the shows got commissioned and the challenges of bringing a visual art form to a visuals free medium. (more…)

Reality Check: Producing genre shows on the radio

February 9, 2008 2 Comments

Alex Fitch talks to Dirk Maggs about his various genre and science fiction programmes on BBC radio from the recent revival of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy to Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective agency, An American Werewolf in London & Independence Day UK… 

(more…)