The new year is now a distant memory and the daily grind of commuting and having to put up with dark and grey winter days can get us down. To remedy this there is Smile for London.
Smile for London is running now until January 28th in London’s underground cross track projection screens from CBS Outdoor. Its objective seems to be to cheer up London’s grumpy commuters!
Top actresses, such as Keira Knigthley, will be seen on the Underground screens. She stars in Maze, a short silent movie showing on video screens at Tube stations – one of 36 being screened during Smile for London. Maze is adapted from a film installation by artist Stuart Pearson Wright. He is cast as an Elizabethan courtier trying to reach his lover, played by Knightley, in a maze.
Twenty-second films will play at stations across London. They include a new animation from Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman, along with submissions from artists Anish Kapoor, Pete Fowler and amateur film-makers.
Jo Kotas, who co-founded the festival with Alex Stevens, said “I was on the platform one Monday morning rush hour and everyone looked pretty grim, so I wanted to do something about it.
“We decided it would be great to get some art on the Underground, and as lots of stations have video screens we came up with idea of a film festival to make Londoners smile. Light-hearted pieces will play in the morning and in the evening we’ll be showing films to provoke thought and inspire.”
Lisa Rokny from CBS Outdoor explains, “Smile for London is an independent initiative created by the Meme Partnership. The initiative is a creative competition / celebration of digital artists. It is not commercially driven and does not feature any branded content by advertisers or agencies. The initiative sits across multiple channels, online, event, exhibition and XTP. CBSO’s involvement is a small element of the campaign, displaying the selected winners content on XTP. The campaign between 17th-28th is just a pilot to test the initiative and its success. In order to continue this, and run it again for 4, 12 or 26 weeks Smile for London would need to secure a Sponsor who could badge the initiative across all channels: Online, Event, Exhibition and XTP.”
The team ran an online contest to create films, as well as approaching established film-makers. Simon Taylor, one of the guest artists, said: “It’s interesting to see a snapshot of what’s going on creatively, so as well as lifting the mood of commuters Smile for London manages to read the pulse of talent in the city.”