Take your umbrella: there's a veritable April shower of film festivals set to splash down over the capital this month. As usual, we've picked a highlight from each festival, for those of you too lazy to look yourself. Enjoy!
Shakespeare On Film, BFI, April-May
You can leer at Lear, run to Ran and, erm, watch Hamlet without breaking eggs as the BFI salutes Shaky’s contribution to cinema on the 400th year since his death.
Highlight: Apparently there’ll be bus tours with Ian McKellen of the London locations used in his art Ddco update of Richard III — if you can't get tickets just watch the film.
Alan Clarke Season, BFI, April
This long-coming retrospective showcases the work of a visionary director who dared to take the side of society’s unfortunates and created a semi-documentary style for them that everyone rips off today.
Highlights: Subject to confirmation, there'll be Q&As with Ray Winstone about Scum, and Tim Roth about Made In Britain.
Cheap Cuts Documentary Short Film Festival, 2-3 April
This free festival in Hoxton's Hundred Years Gallery is dedicated to short docs by indie filmmakers from as far away as Mexico, Syria and Iran. There'll be also be free workshops and talks.
Highlight: Don't miss Seven Days A Week about the tireless dedication of a newspaper seller and winner of Londonist's Best London Short Film prize at this year's LSFF.
Kinoteka Polish Film Festival, 7-28 April
Alongside new cinema from Poland, this year's festival (the 14th) sees retrospectives of three seminal directors: Jerzy Skolimowski, Agnieszka Holland and Andrzej Żuławski,
Highlight: Skolimowski will present his latest film 11 Minutes (which runs for 81 minutes, confusingly).
London Book and Screen Week, 11-17 April
There’s a host of screenings in libraries and public buildings as part of this mammoth celebration of page and pixel.
Highlight: Join Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey, Gosford Park and other properties for an evening of chat and gossip about who did what exactly upstairs and downstairs.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul Retrospective, 8-10 April
Tate Modern launches its new cinema programme in its refurbished Starr Cinema with a weekend retrospective of Thai Palme D'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul who made the hallucinogenic Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. This one will kick-off regular screenings of works by artist-filmmakers.
Highlight: There's a screening of Weerasethakul’s latest movie Cemetery of Splendour, about soldiers who suffer from sleeping sickness.
Where Europe Meets Asia: Georgia@25, 16-17 April
Marking 25 years since the restoration of Georgia's independence, this two-dayer at Regent Street Cinema examines the country's turbulent history and cultural determination.
Highlight: A good tip is Moira, which was the country’s Oscar entry and is all about an ex-con who returns to his family on the Black Sea then attempts to do the right thing by becoming a fisherman.
LOCO London Comedy Film Festival, 20 April – 1 May
The fifth installment of this reliably funny showcase features a strong line-up of new local films including: Hot Property, a satire on the housing crisis starring MyAnna Buring; Burn Burn Burn with Downton's Laura Carmichael about cremation and a road trip; The Darkest Universe about a banker on a barge. There are three programmes of shorts, a talk about comedy and brain science; and a showcase of funny films from France labelled Liberté, Égalité, Hilarité.
Highlight: The sci-fi London fantasy Set The Thames On Fire starring Noel Fielding opens the festival.
Frames of Representation, 20-27 April
This festival at the ICA offers new form documentary cinema with a theme of New Periphery aiming to show films and kickstart discussion about people who are excluded and marginalised. Among a strong line-up are Roberto Minervini's The Other Side about drug addicts in Louisiana; Zhao Liang's Behemoth about Inner Mongolia’s industrial belt; and Betzabé Garcia's Kings of Nowhere about a flooded Mexican village.
Highlight: Oscar-winning editor Walter Murch (who cut Apocalypse Now) will give a rare masterclass on the art of editing documentary cinema.
New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival, 22 April – 1 May
There’s a cracking line-up of cult classics and Shakespeare on film at this local and free fiesta. Several screenings are followed by music — with a 70s disco after festival opener Summer of Sam and punk bands following Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill! and a night of Jamaican Films with sound-system after-party.
Highlight: Polanski’s Macbeth in a church should be suitably creepy.
Unrestricted View, 25 April — 1 May
This new festival based in Islington's famous Hen & Chickens pub is punching well above its weight already with two excellent films to bookend the week of indie shorts and features. Set Fire To The Stars with Elijah Wood will kick things off and then the gut-churningly brilliant comedy Men & Chicken starring Mads Mikkelson will close. Films will screen in the space upstairs while the pub will serve as a hub for events, workshops and networking.
Highlight: Among a classy collection of shorts is Indira Varma in Vintage Blood and Catherine Tate in Not Sophie's Choice.
Sounds Of LDN, April
While The Rolling Stones are soaking up all the press with their big new exhibition, there are also a bunch of screenings that celebrate the rest of the capital's messily magnificent music heritage. That includes docs about Led Zeppelin, The Damned, Cockney Rejects and Sex Pistols as part of this festival.
Highlight: Bow down to Bowie with D.A. Pennebaker’s film Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.