This October, the BFI hosts the London Film Festival, a 12-day celebration of film-making from around the world and, for many, the first chance to see some of the year’s most interesting and anticipated pictures.
It might not have quite the same profile as Venice or Cannes, but the LFF has built its own distinct identity through its carefully selected programme and emphasis on the event as one for the public as well as one for the industry.
This year, under the stewardship of new director Clare Stewart, sees a number of high profile films lighting up the screens, including the European premiere of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which will open the festival; and Mike Newell’s highly anticipated take on Great Expectations, which will close it. Other gala films set to excite the crowds include Michael Haneke’s Palm d’Or-winning Amour; Ben Affleck’s third film as director, Argo; Ben Wheatley’s follow-up to last year’s trippy horror Kill List, Sightseers; and Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, Quartet.
Aside from Great Expectations, the LFF will host a number of other London-based films: Orlando director Sally Potter’s new feature Ginger & Rosa, about the friendship between two young girls during the 1960s; Sally El Hosaini’s debut film, My Brother the Devil, set on a Hackney housing estate and concerning the troubled relationship between two brothers; and theatre director Rufus Norris’ Broken, about an 11-year-old girl whose life is dramatically altered when she witnesses a violent event in her North London suburb. London’s film students also get a showcase with Back to School, a selection of shorts from some of the city’s most prestigious universities.
Of course, one of best things about the LFF is just how far-reaching it is, with screenings happening all over the city, not just on the Southbank, but also in the West End and other smaller screens, including Hackney Picturehouse, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on the Green and Curzon Mayfair.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs 10-21 October. BFI members can book now, with tickets going on general release on the 24 September and available from the BFI website.