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The ten best things to do at the BFI London Film Festival (that are totally free)

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Time Out Film

As some budgets might not permit more than one screening, and given the fact that the BFI London Film Festival can sell out faster than a new iPhone, it might seem like the festival is out of your reach. However, there are tonnes of free events, screenings and activities on offer so you can always feel part of the action. Here’s just some of the stuff you can do at the festival for free. 

1. Best for... kids

Animation Imagination!
Have Disney and DreamWorks got your kids busy planning their careers already? Take them along to the family animation workshop where pros will show them the ropes.
Saturday Oct 5, BFI Southbank, 10.30am

Alexandra Palace

2. Best for... classical music fans

BBC Radio 3 Sounds of Cinema: What’s The Score With Dickens?
The LFF hosts a special edition of BBC Radio 3’s weekly film music programme exploring the world of Dickens on film, with music from the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Ben Palmer, in the faded grandeur of the Ally Pally Theatre.
Friday Oct 4, Alexandra Palace Theatre, 8pm

3. Best for... budding film critics

Film Criticism Read-along
Eager to discover – or be – the next Pauline Kael? Find out where to get the best criticism from those who do it for a living. 
Sunday Oct 6, BFI Reuben Library, BFI Southbank, 11am

4. Best for… horror fans

Cult In The Canon
There’s a wealth of horror at LFF the year, and programmers and podcasters are lining up to comment on the latest developments in the scene. Join them to muse on what draws filmmakers to the genre.
Sunday Oct 6, The Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 12pm

5. Best for...trivia fiends

Little White Lies Movie Quiz
Test your film knowledge with the experts from Little White Lies. Topics include heroic heroines, famous final lines and award-winning directors – and yes, there are prizes.
Wed Oct 9, The Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 8pm

BFI Reuben Library

6. Best for… Instagrammers

The Culture: A Discussion
Has the careful editing of our lives through social-media made directors out of all of us? So asks this thought-provoking panel from filmmakers included in ‘The Culture’ shorts programme. Maybe switch your phone off for this one.
Sun Oct 13, The BFI Reuben Library, BFI Southbank, 4pm

7. Best for...feminists

Sex & Power: The Visual Language of Oppression with Nina Menkes
Indie filmmaker Nina Menkes analyses a series of film clips and delves into the way cinema infiltrates our consciousness and contributes to the epidemic of sexual assault. A timely talk.
Sun Oct 13, The BFI Reuben Library, BFI Southbank, 2pm

8. Best for... party people

DJ Nights
On Friday and Saturday nights, the BFI Bar & Kitchen becomes a club night connected to films in the Festival. ‘White Riot’ and ‘Black Bus Stop’ are among those inspiring hand-picked spinners.
BFI Southbank, 9pm

9. Best for... budding filmmakers

NETWORK@LFF Shorts Screening Programme
Twelve new UK-based writers, directors and producers have undergone at intensive talent development programme – see a selection of shorts from them in two sessions over the weekend.
Sat Oct 5 and Sun Oct 6, The Studio, BFI Southbank. 12pm

10. Best for... jazz fans

Pitchblack Playback: Miles Davis ‘Kind Of Blue’
Hear the best-selling jazz album of all-time at Pitchblack Playback’s free immersive listening session in the dark. Other artists in the series include Fela Kuti.
Sun Oct 13, The Studio, BFI Southbank, 4.30pm

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