TV fans are in for a treat next month as the Pilot Light TV Festival will come to HOME for the fourth year running.
Promising a wide variety of communal TV experiences, the festival will feature premieres, retrospectives, panel discussions and celebrations of TV classics.
One highlight that promises to be unmissable is an exclusive cinema screening of the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, directed by battle scene supremo Miguel Sapochnik (Battle of the Bastards) and clocking in at 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The screening will be preceded by Game of Thrones: The Final Night, a panel event in which an array of special guests will discuss the show and celebrate some of its most shocking moments. (We still haven’t recovered from the Red Wedding).
10 Years of RuPaul’s Drag Race promises to be another fabulous highlight. Grace Barber-Plentie will host a special guest panel for a retrospective on the show, with specially curated clips courtesy of RuCaps.
The panel will include Season 3 queen Stacy Layne Matthews, RuCaps creator Lee Dawson and art historian Ferren Gipson.
The irrepressible Stacy Layne Matthews will also be on hand to host a Drag Race Birthday Eleganza Extravaganza club night at Gorilla. Previous Pilot Light club nights have included Clubnight of the Conchords and P-AHA-TY!: The Ultimate Celebration of Alan Partridge, so bring your party shoes.
UK premieres at the festival will include My Dinner with Alan: A Sopranos Session, a feature length film in the style of My Dinner With Andre, in which acclaimed US TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz are in conversation at the location of the controversial last scene of The Sopranos.
This will be followed by a Q&A with Matt Zoller Seitz, Alan Sepinwall and director Kristian Fraga.
Festival director Greg Walker admits, “This is the one I’ve nerded out about the most. It’s a really, really great film, with Matt and Alan talking about television, psychiatry, gangsterism, their 20 year friendship and the fact that they met during the TV round for the paper which Tony Soprano picks up at the end of the title sequence in The Sopranos.”
The festival will also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of ground-breaking all-female sketch show Smack the Pony. Creator Victoria Pile and writer and star Fiona Allen will be on hand for a special event, looking back on the show and its legacy in British comedy and sharing their favourite pony-smacking memories.
The variety of events on offer is extremely impressive, especially considering they’re all packed into just four days.
Other highlights include Hey Duggee: Behind The Scenes, with designer Ross Phillips discussing his award-winning pre-school animation show, and a selection of web series and TV pilots from around the world.
“These shows represent the absolute best in independent television,” says Greg.
“And we’re very happy to announce that all of our screenings this year will be free, because everyone deserves to see these great shows and we want to make sure that everyone who wants to see them can see them and there’s no barriers there.”
One especially exciting event is The Art of the TV Title Sequence. “This was selfish, at first, because we just wanted to see title sequences on the big screen,” Greg enthuses.
“It will be opening up with some of our favourite title sequences, and then we’ll have the award-winning head designers from Momoco, who did Luther, Peaky Blinders and Hannibal, and Peter Anderson Studio, who did The Missing, Dr Foster, Sherlock, Doctor Who – they’ll both be doing presentations, which show behind the scenes on what goes into a title sequence, and then a Q&A afterwards.”
This year also sees the return of the Pilot Light In-Memoriam strand, dedicated to celebrating and mourning outstanding series that were cancelled too soon.
The focus this year is on British sitcom 15 Storeys High and the festival will be screening episodes of the show, alongside a Q&A with writer/star Sean Lock and other members of the creative team.
As an extra bonus, Greg adds, “They’ve promised they’ll be bringing along some never before seen outtakes and behind the scenes stuff, which will be really cool.”
The festival will also be presenting its annual Pilot Light Excellence in Television Award to producer Henry Normal, founder of Baby Cow Productions, which produced the likes of Alan Partridge, Gavin and Stacey, The Mighty Boosh and Red Dwarf.
In addition, the festival will host a number of workshops, podcasts, awards, competitions and panel events.
We’ve already got our eye on The Ethics of True Crime, a panel discussion exploring the global explosion of true crime in TV and other mediums.
The 4th edition of the Pilot Light TV Festival runs from 16th-19th May at HOME.