58 films from 40 countries across 12 days. It’s not your usual BFI London Film Festival this year – the pandemic has put paid to that – but there’s still plenty to get excited about on a line-up that combines screenings (in actual cinemas!) with virtual premieres. The newly announced programme is full of goodies: from Pixar’s latest, ‘Soul’, to Spike Lee’s ‘American Utopia’, to Chloé Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’, to Garrett Bradley’s Sundance-winning doc ‘Time’.
Those four will all play in cinemas across London and around the country, alongside Steve McQueen’s true-life drama ‘Mangrove’, which will open the festival on October 7, and ‘Ammonite’, a romantic drama starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, which brings the curtain down 11 days later.
Other UK premieres that you can catch in cinemas during the fest include Phyllida Lloyd’s feminist drama ‘Herself’, Thomas Vinterberg’s boozy character study ‘Another Round’, the Riz Ahmed-penned rap drama ‘Mogul Mowgli’, Josephine Decker’s literary drama ‘Shirley’, Christian Petzold’s latest ‘Undine’, Harry Macqueen’s ‘Supernova’, Aleem Khan’s drama ‘After Love’ and Tsai Ming-Liang's Taiwanese opus ‘Days’. Some will be available virtually as well.
The London cinemas screening LFF films are Barbican, Ciné Lumière, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, ICA, Prince Charles Cinema and, of course, BFI Southbank.
This year’s LFF prides itself on being the most accessible, affordable and interactive yet. As well as those nationwide screenings, there are Q&As or intros before every screening, access to films via BFI Player, and a free XR – extended reality – strand (for anyone that wasn’t put off by ‘The Lawnmower Man’).
‘I feel like we have accelerated so many of our longer term plans in just a few months, especially our desire to offer audiences across the UK greater access to the LFF,’ says festival director Tricia Tuttle. ‘We all want to be back in cinemas, seeing films on the big screen, together, immersed. But we also want to keep seeing new cinematic storytelling from all parts of the world, hearing different voices and perspectives; this version of LFF delivers on both of those aims.’
For the first time, movie lovers across the country will get to dish out the awards too. Festival viewers can vote for four Audience Awards, including Best Fiction Film and Best Documentary.
It’s worth noting that, while the films themselves will be geo blocked outside the UK, festival talks and other LFF events will be available globally.
The 64th BFI London Film Festival runs from Oct 7-18. Tickets go on sale to BFI members from Sep 16 and the general public on Sep 21. Head here for the line-up in full.
Catch ‘Tenet’ in a cosy winter wonderland this month.
Outdoor cinema is coming to Camden Market this month.