Feature: LA Film Festival hits London Simon Fitzjohn October 19, 2011 Features 1951 By Andrew Magee A prestigious Los Angeles film festival brought three award-winning directors to Fulham for a screening at the London Film Academy last night. The Angelus Student Film Festival is an international competition that recognises some of the best young filmmakers around the world. Festival director Monika Moreno presented the selection from a festival which has seen academy award nominations for some of its entrants in the last three years. She said: “We believe in stories that engage with human journeys and we want audiences to be involved in a unique way.” Festival winners are whittled down from over 600 entries each year that are received from 128 different film schools from over 30 different countries. Last night’s screenings included a showing of God of Love, written and directed by Luke Matheny, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The $35,000 film centres on a love struck, lounge-singing darts champion whose prayers are answered when he receives a box of passion-inducing darts. Matheny, 34, said: “It is definitely the biggest student film festival and there are so many more cash awards. “There’s a great team and we are pretty lucky when we get to come to London or go to the Sundance festival.” In stark contrast to Matheny’s 1960s inspired jazz comedy was the evening’s second film, Zac Petrillo’s documentary style drama set in LA. Between the Shadows portrays the gritty life of one of Los Angeles’ 50,000 homeless people, a subject that holds a particular fascination for the New York director. “The homeless world is something that has fascinated me and pained me for a number of years,” he said. “To be able to screen with these incredible examples of student films is very rare. To even be able to be in London for eight days is great.” The night’s final screening was Magellan, directed by Sebastian Davis, winner of the Mole-Richardson Production Excellence Award at the Angelus festival in 2009. It focuses on the unrequited love of a schoolyard crush, a scenario that actually played out on set, with the child actors barely on speaking terms by the end of filming. Davis grew up in West Sussex before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, and praised the festival’s influence on him as a director. “Angelus is fairly remarkable. It’s almost like being accepted into a secret society that absorbs you,” he said. “I have so many friends that I hang out with and travel with because they’re Angelus winners from past years and it really is a wonderful shaping influence on young filmmakers.” The screening was followed by a Q&A from students at the LFA and Joint Principal Anna MacDonald was delighted to welcome the festival to London. “It was splendid. What they are trying to do is exactly what we want to do with our students here on the programme,” she said. “We share the same passion for storytelling and commitment to supporting new and responsible filmmakers.” The Angelus Student Film Festival continues to tour around the capital this week and calls for next year’s entries will open in January.