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Phil Ilson
The Halloween Society

Also at this time, the Time Out alternative film listings were starting to bulge with film nights other than Exploding Cinema, Halloween and Peeping Toms – Omsk, My Eyes My Eyes, Shaolin, Cinergy, Films That Make You Go Hmmm, Uncut, KinoKulture, [sic], Scooter, Renegade Arts; all strange names, but all advertising short film screenings and live cabaret. It was Steven Eastwood of Omsk who made the call – he was attending most of the events, and saw that all these individuals may have been checking out each other’s nights, but had never made contact with each other. He set up a meeting with all of us at Back/Space in Clink Street near London Bridge, an open access multi-media web design company who were developing Exploding’s move to the web, and out of these discussions it was decided to stage an alternative London film festival to showcase the underground. Halloween had actually approached the main London Film Festival to do an event, as we’d already collaborated with the BBC British Short Film Festival. However, the LFF’s then-Director Sheila Whitaker had no interest in collaboration, so this alternative film festival - now dubbed Volcano to symbolise an explosion from the underground - was mooted to take place during the same dates as the 1996 London Film Festival. We hijacked the LFF press launch at the Odeon Leicester Square handing out flyers, with some Volcano members actually dressed as volcanoes! This culminated in a two page Time Out feature, a launch event in artists’ studios in Spitalfields, and sold out events for all the film groups including Omsk’s squatted bank show in Shoreditch.

Front and rear of first Volcano festival flyers.
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