The Science of Laughter + Panel Discussion

28 April 2016, Barbican Cinema 3, 8.30pm. Tickets: here. In partnership with LOCO London Comedy Film Festival.

This short film programme and panel discussion assembles a range of voices from the fields of film, neuroscience, psychology and comedy to discuss the nature of laughter.

A screening of comedy shorts is followed by a discussion investigating comedy’s therapeutic and social functions and its physiological effects.


Speakers

Prof Sophie Scott is a neuroscientist, comedian and Wellcome Trust senior fellow at University College London, researching the neuroscience of voices, speech, and laughter.

Dr. Caspar Addyman is a lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London and a specialist in baby laughter.  He is also the author of Help Yourself, a novel about a failed stand up comedian.

Jamie Wood is an acclaimed performer combining fine art, theatre, clown and dance. He also works as a Clown Doctor with Theodora Children’s Trust, visiting sick children in hospitals throughout the UK.

Nicola Hill is the general manager for the MediCinemas at Guys and St.Thomas’ hospitals in London. MediCinemas offer patients a cinema experience whilst accommodating wheelchairs and hospital beds and providing medical supervision during screenings.

Panel hosted by interviewer, presenter and occasional stand-up comedian Rachael Castell.


Films

Friend Request Pending (12 mins, Dir. Chris Foggin, Wr: Chris Croucher)

FRP1A short comedy drama about the mature generation dating in our modern social networking world. It’s a tale of love but more importantly life-long friendship

Croissant (2 mins, Dir. Louis Hudson, Wr. Ian Ravenscroft, Louis Hudson)

Croissant-09

Don’t you just hate it when you get food on your face and your entire concept of reality crumbles?

Coalition Fan Girls (3 mins, Wr. & Dir. Charlie Dinkin)    

4587-original-fitandcrop-800x500One Direction, Justin Bieber and…David Cameron??? A startling glimpse into the hidden lives of some of Britain’s most dedicated, driven and obsessive teenage fans. This time: it’s political.

Ducks with Engines (1 min, Wr. & Dir. Big Red Button)

Does what it says in the title. Ducks. With engines. Any questions?

Mr Madila (4 mins, Wr. & Dir. Rory Waudby-Tolley)

523833487_1280x720Mr Madila or The Colour of Nothing documents a series of conversations between the film-maker and a gifted spiritual healer, exploring the inner mind, the fabric of the universe, and the nature of reality itself, through the sacred art of animation. Oooooooh

Let’s Play Nomad X (3 mins, Wr. & Dir. Kristian Andrews)

04During a ‘Let’s Play’ review of his favourite ’90’s computer game, a man tells a story of heartbreak .

 

The Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (2 mins,Wr. & Dir. Georges Méliès)

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An extremely lean man and an extremely fat man are engaged in a wrestling match in this 1900 classic by filmmaking pioneer Georges Méliès.

Kitty, Kitty Romford (3 mins, Dir. Chris & Ben Blaine, Wr. Cariad Lloyd)

maxresdefaultKitty, Kitty Romford is having a tough day, she’s just an ordinary dame, but her boss won’t get off her back and she’s inner monologuing out loud again…

Milk (10 mins, Dir. Ben Mallaby, Wr. Toby Williams, Paul F Taylor)

Timothy and Raymond have run out of milk.

 


Presented with support from a Wellcome Trust People Award.

 

 

 

 

 

Life After Life – event round up

Life after Life was a short film and discussion event presented by Rich Pickings at London Short Film Festival 2016. The event examined the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and how they can affect people’s lives. It featured a programme of short poetic films about life, death and what may or may not lie beyond. These films were a jumping off point for a discussion with two guests with very different approaches to the subject.

Christopher French is Professor of Psychology and Co-coordinator of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. French presented scientific research around NDEs, looking at recurring patterns in people’s accounts and biological explanations for the experiences people report. He particularly focused on the out-of-body elements of the NDE, as this is one of the more measurable and replicable components common to the experience.

Raymond O’Brien experienced a NDE during a cardiac arrest five years ago, an incident that profoundly affected him. Since this time he has experienced huge highs and lows, and the experience has become a core part of his identity and his understanding of the world. O’Brien was generous enough to share his experience and interpretation of it with us, offering a unique insight into the subjective reality of an NDE and life following it.

Watch an edited video of the discussion with Christopher French and Raymond O’Brien:

The programme of short films included animation, documentary and experimental moving image. Real life and fictional accounts of NDEs painted a vivid picture of the fear, regret, acceptance, love and transcendence that a person may experience in the moment of their death. Some of the films which played at the event can be viewed below.

In Crossing Over: The Art of Jeremy Down, an artist takes us on a visceral journey through his brush with death, an unforgettable narrative set against an astonishing landscape.

Annlin Chao’s Phantom on the Cliff is an animated account of a mountaineer struggling to come to terms with the mental and physical scars he is left with following a climbing accident.

In Impact, A Boxer’s Story, a boxer who was almost killed in a car accident describes how his experience and faith gave him the strength to not only recover but to excel as a fighter.

Out of Body, by visual artist Susan Aldsworth, uses recurring themes in recorded accounts of NDEs to paint a vivid picture of what the experience can feel like.

Coda, by Alan Holly, is a captivating, poetic animated tale of a man who confronts death – bargaining and resisting its grip before finally releasing himself into its care.

Danny Agama’s Mother and Void is a compelling artist film in which trees shot from a train window come to resemble blood capillaries as the filmmaker reflects on a childhood near death experience and on the nature of life and death.

Moving The Giants, by The Story Group, is an uplifting documentary following a man who, following a near-fatal illness, finds a strong purpose in his life – to save and replant the mighty Redwoods of California.