London Film Festival FAQs
Everything you need to know about the 2012 London Film Festival
The London Film Festival rolls into town on October 10 – bringing with it new films from around the globe and a constellation of stars to the red carpet in Leicester Square. The festival prides itself on being open to the public, so what’s the best way to make the most of it?
What is the London Film Festival?
The London Film Festival (LFF) runs for 12 days from October 10 to October 21, and features a lips-smacking selection of feature films and shorts, alongside discussions and masterclasses with leading industry figures. Visiting the film festival is the best chance to get in to see some of the most talked-about films well before their official UK release.
What’s in the festival?
The festival is divided into several categories. ‘Galas’ are best for star-spotting (Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ is the opening gala and Mike Newell’s ‘Great Expectations’, starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter is the closing film).
New LFF director Clare Stewart has beefed up the awards side of things, under the umbrella ‘Competitions’ – with prizes for the best feature film, first feature and documentary. Stewart has also introduced themed sections to the festival: ‘Love’, ‘Debate’, ‘Dare’, ‘Laugh’, ‘Thrill’, ‘Cult’, ‘Journey’ and ‘Sonic’.
Several screen talks will also be taking place this year with prominent industry bods, including Salman Rushdie, who has adapted his novel ‘Midnight’s Children’, and Oscar winning documentary-maker Alex Gibney. Oh, and don’t forget to book early for the ‘Surprise Film’. It’s usually a corker.
How is Time Out involved?
Time Out will be bringing you full coverage of the festival from now until it ends. We will also be hosting a special gala screening of Michael Haneke’s must-see Palme d'Or winner ‘Amour’, a wrenching love story about an elderly Parisian couple.
We will also be working with the festival on a series of events offering an in-depth look at the British films in the festival, including Mat Whitecross’s free-wheeling ‘Spike Island’ and Sally Potter’s 1960s set drama ‘Ginger and Rosa’. These are free events, with seats allocated on a first come first served basis.
Time Out is sponsoring the ‘Debate’ strand of the festival, whose highlights include Thomas Vinterberg’s paedophile-witchhunt drama ‘The Hunt’ and the Italian ‘Big Brother’ satire ‘Reality’(from ‘Gomorrah’ director Matteo Garrone).
How do I get tickets?
Online and telephone bookings for BFI Members open on September 13 with public booking following on September 24. So, if you were thinking of becoming a BFI member, now’s the best time to join (annual membership is £40).
How do I get a ticket at the last minute?
Last minute tickets are released in October. For handy email alerts, go to the BFI’s LFF website, click on the ‘Tickets’ tab and subscribe to their festival email bulletin.
You can also queue outside venues for ‘stand-bys’, which go on sale 30 minutes before each screening. The festival organisers often have tickets available, even for screenings billed as fully booked, so it pays to persevere.
What chance is there of attending the Opening or Closing Galas?
Opening and closing night tickets are the most sought after. There is a BFI Members-only ticket ballot for the Galas (another reason to become a BFI member).
That said, everyone else will also have a chance of getting into the opening or closing galas when any unsold BFI Members’ tickets are released for public sale.
I don’t mind what I see, I just want to feel the buzz.
Some screenings will be less popular than others, so there’s every chance you can get in to see something. Once again, it’s worth registering your email address on the BFI website for regular updates of last minute ticket availability.
Will there be a chance to rub shoulders with a celebrity?
There’s a good chance of seeing someone at least fairly famous at almost any of the screenings, but your best opportunity for celeb-spotting is likely to be at one of the Galas.
Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Marion Cotillard and Jake Gyllenhaal all have films screening, so may well take a turn on the red carpet in Leicester Square.
Which venues are involved?
One of the biggest shake-ups this year is that the festival will go out to more cinemas than ever. In addition to the big Leicester Square cinemas (Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leceister Square and Empire) and BFI Southbank, the festival will also be taking over the Hackney Picturehouse, the Renoir, the Screen on the Green in Islington and the Rich Mix in Shoreditch. It will continue to screen at the ICA, the Curzon Mayfair, the Ritzy in Brixton and Cine Ciné Lumière.
Festival contact details
BFI Southbank, Waterloo, SE1 8XT (020 7928 3232/www.bfi.org.uk/lff).
Waterloo tube/rail. Online/phone bookings from Mon Sept 19 (BFI members), Mon Sept 26 (non-members) or in person 11.00am-8.30pm from Mon Sept 26 (BFI members and public)