There’s some brilliant looking music stuff at the Short Film Festival starting this week

Don't say January in London is cold and boring

Each year the London Short Film Festival programmes 10 days of screenings and events. It happens in a handful of venues around the capital – Moth Club, Hackney Picturehouse, ICA – and gives independent and experimental filmmakers a chance to exhibit their work. There’s also a bunch of decent looking workshops and sessions. It’s a good thing, and rightfully has a respected reputation. Anyway, this January, among all the other topical areas they’re covering, the organisers are putting on some particularly smart looking music shorts. Sure, there’s some Bowie plans around the first anniversary of his death (which will be brilliant) but lots of less-obvious highlights besides. Like this:

Opening night: Long live the new flesh
Friday 6 Jan, 1930

For the moment Savages are concentrating on a few individual projects. Jehnny Beth said as much when we spoke to her in December. Fay Milton and Ayse Hassan from the band kick the whole festival off by performing as part of the Moog Sound Lab. They’ll basically be playing with a wonderland of vintage analogue synths. Martin Dubka will also perform. It comes accompanied by 16mm visual projections by David Leister (Kino Club) & Bea Haut (Analogue Recurring).

A black rock symposium: From Bad Brains to Big Joanie
Friday 13 Jan, 1900
Moth Club

A night that investigates the evolution of black identity in punk and rock music through the past four decades. It’ll kick off with Richard Oretsky’s hour-long Bad Brains Live at CBGB’s 1982 documentary [pictured above]. The incendiary footage was lost for 25 years before it was recovered, dusted off and turned into this chaotic concert film. After that, there’s a discussion featuring Pauline Black (Selecter), Debbie Smith (Echobelly, Curve, Snowpony) and Rachel Aggs (Shopping, Sacred Paws) hosted by Chardine Taylor Stone (activist, and member of Big Joanie). That’s followed by a live show from Big Joanie.

Bands that DIY together, stay together
Wednesday 11 Jan, 1900
Moth Club

Not everyone has the readies to make budget-busting Drake videos. This night is a celebration of those artists who’ve created compelling music videos with, well, very little. A 50-minute programme revisits the fine work of the likes of Pixies and Skepta. It’s £11 in, which also gets you into a talk and live show from The Rhythm Method who’ll show their new homemade video.

White trash girls, gun girls and riot grrls
Saturday 14 Jan, 1700

A night of riot grrl influenced and inspired material. A total of seven shorts created in the ’90s will get aired, including including Jill Reiter’s piece In Search of Margo-Go from 1994 and Damsel Jam made by Sarah Miles in 1992. Mia Bays hosts a panel after the screenings which’ll include thoughts from Gina Birch from The Raincoats. Nice touch, too: everyone who attends gets a specially created zine. There’s another great night celebrating riot grrl later in the run, as well, where Ana da Silva (founder of The Raincoats) and Sacred Paws will perform live.

Fashion adventures in the sonic landscape
Sunday 15 Jan, 1700

One of the final events of this year’s festival. Olivia Rose – the photographer behind the visuals for last year’s excellent book This Is Grime – will exhibit her work alongside live projections and a soundtrack from Domino Records. In a night of interactive audio-visual performance, artists Harriet Fleuriot and Sarah Cockings will showcase their project Plasma Vista with Luke Fraser providing live music.

David Bowie: Sound and vision
Tuesday 10 Jan, 1830
Picturehouse central

What’s probably the most in-demand night of the festival, given it’s timely nature. Three of Bowie’s famous performances will be screened. The Image (1967), Cracked Actor (1975) and Jazzin’ For Blue Jean (1984). It’s followed by a Q+A with two of the film’s directors Michael Armstrong and Alan Yentob, plus Eve Ferret who played alongside Bowie in Jazzin’ For Blue Jean.