London Film Festival

Our essential guide to 2013's biggest and best UK film festival



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London Film Festival 2013

The London Film Festival is the capital’s flagship film extravaganza, the crown jewels in the movie calendar. The fifty-seventh BFI London Film Festival arrives in the city on Wednesday October 9, bringing the most-talked about films from Summer’s big international film festivals – many of them months ahead of their release dates – and a generous handful of swanky gala premieres. There will also be short films, experimental works, restored classics and plenty of talks, workshops and Q&As with filmmakers and actors.

Wondering how you can make the most of it? Take a look at our London Film Festival FAQs page, or browse the films we're most excited about below.

The London Film Festival's biggest films


Captain Phillips

Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener

Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips, whose ship was taken by pirates in 2009.

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Saving Mr Banks

Director: Lee Hancock
Cast: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson

A film that charts the two weeks of negotiations between Walt Disney and author P L Travers.

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Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Steve Coogan, Judi Dench

An ex-BBC journalist joins an elderly Irish woman to find the child she lost decades before.

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12 Years a Slave

Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender

The story of a free black American, abducted and sold into slavery.

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Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

A catastrophe aboard a space shuttle leaves two astronauts spinning in freefall.

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Inside Llewyn Davis

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan

A few days in the life of a fictional folk musician Llewyn Davis.

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Labor Day

Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Tobey Maguire

The story of a depressed single mother from Massachusetts who offers a lift to a bleeding man.

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Blue is the Warmest Colour

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux

A searingly erotic study of first lesbian love.

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Explore our London Film Festival top picks

Official Competition

This strand rewards the year’s most original and exciting films.

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First Feature Competition

A strand that seeks out new talent in film direction.

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Documentary Competition

This award selects the best in international docs.

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Films that explore love in all its forms.

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A collection of controversial works that will spark discussion.

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Films that confront audiences with striking visions and difficult topics.

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Explore a world of wit, from romcoms to spiky black comedy.

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Think film festivals are just about the art? Think again.

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A fistful of gnarly oddities, this is where the real weird stuff hides out.

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Films from all over the world united by the theme of travel and discovery.

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A strong selection of music films, both dramas and documentaries.

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A strand offering tales of action and intrigue for all the family.

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See more film events in London

Every week, we round up the best film events happening outside London’s multiplexes, from major international film festivals to classic seasons at the BFI, from double bills and all-nighters to one-off screenings and in person Q&As with stars, filmmakers or experts. London also has a thriving DIY film club scene in pubs, restaurants, galleries and pop-up venues, and in the summer months you’ll find a wealth of outdoor screenings in parks and gardens across the city.

See our London film events round up

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London Film Festival FAQs

When is the London Film Festival?

The LFF takes place from October 9-20.

Where is the London Film Festival?

A range of venues host the LFF: Leicester Square’s Vue Odeon will be taking part, along with the BFI Southbank and a variety of other cinemas including the Ritzy in Brixton, the Rio in Dalston, the Hackney Picturehouse and the Ciné Lumière in Kensington.

When can I buy LFF tickets?

Tickets for the London Film Festival go on sale in mid-September for the general public, or a week earlier for BFI members. Book them online or via the BFI’s phone line.

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The best films now showing


Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Rated as: 4/5

Marvel's latest is crammed with wit, charm and action


Welcome to New York

  • Rated as: 4/5

An unflinching spin on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

  • Rated as: 4/5

The sequel to the prequel is a knockout

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