BFI announces epic sci-fi season 'Days of Fear and Wonder' for October 2014 - January 2015

The mothership is clearly about to land. Today the BFI announced details of its long-awaited TV and FIlm Sci-fi celebration, which will run from October to January with several preview events beforehand. 'Days of Fear and Wonder' looks to be planet-sized in scope and depth, surpassing even the recent Gothic season which ran three months.

Starting things off will be a August preview of the new Doctor Who season premier episode, with new Time Lord number 12 Peter Capaldi due to appear for a Q&A after. This event is so anticipated (if you have you not witnessed the lust of the Whovians, it is a thing to behold) that even BFI members can only get access via a ballot for tickets by July 20th.

TV Preview: Doctor Who: Deep Breath + panel discussion and Q&A with cast and production

Thursday 7 August, 6:30 PM. Tickets and details here.

Another warm up to the main feast will be the BFI's Sci-Fi weekend at the British Museum from 28-30 August, which features outdoor screenings of three sci-fi classics The Day the Earth Caught Fire, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Flash Gordon.

Sci-Fi weekend at the British Museum

Tickers and details

The Day the Earth Caught Fire Aug 28, 2014 8:15 PM

The Man Who Fell to Earth Aug 29, 2014 8:15 PM

Flash Gordon Aug 30, 2014 8:15 PM

The Scifi season proper will be broken down into three strands,  a three-part programme of film and TV presentations investigating the genre through three themes: Tomorrow’s World, Altered States and Contact!

There are so many highlights on the BFI site for this season, its impossible to list them all here and the entire programme schedule has not yet been published. Strikingly, the event is aimed at reaching beyond the BFI, and beyond London even. The British Museum, Bletchley Park, the Eden Project, Jodrell Bank Observatory, and the square in HG Wells’ home town of Midhurst, West Sussex are all involved. 

Personal Highlights based on what is known so far would have to be :

  • Stanley Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey will be re-released in cinemas, as will Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. The BFI press release states about 2001 : "This landmark film will return to cinema screens across the UK on 28 November when the BFI, as part of its 2014 Science Fiction blockbuster project, releases a magnificent digital transfer from Warner Bros." The BFI will celebrate the nationwide re-release of 2001 with an event featuring special guests, including the film’s stars Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea.
  • Afrofuturism explores black scifi cinema, and features John Sayles’ cult slave-narrative update The Brother from Another Planet; and Lizzie Borden’s dystopian punk diorama Born in Flames (1983). Good to see the BFI branching out and avoiding just playing the hits.
  • It won't just be films: The BFI's Sonic Cinema strand will be presenting a series of special Sci-Fi themed live experiences, including master of the movie mash up DJ Yoda who has been commissioned to create a new show. ‘DJ Yoda Goes to the Sci-Fi Movies’. 
  • The season also includes an exclusive preview of the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay at BFI Southbank and the world premiere of Filmed in Supermarionation, a documentary about the puppetry and animation techniques devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and their team of puppeteers in a Slough warehouse in the 1960s
  • The BFI National Archive will present four meticulously restored classic Sci-Fi titles at BFI Southbank and on BFI Player during the season, with 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).

 Go to the BFI site for more details:

The BFi press release intro gives some idea of the scope of it all:

"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 1000 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.":



Owen Van Spall

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