Rising Stars Of The 56Th BFI London Film Festival

The 56th BFI London Film Festival is, as usual, overflowing with talent. Here we have compiled a list of the Top Ten Rising Stars that have already impressed critics and received awards at festivals this year. This is a group to keep an eye on, as the brilliant actors and directors make their way to stardom.

London-born Actor and Rapper, Riz Ahmed portrays Changez Khan, a young Pakistani man ambitious to begin his stockbroker career in New York City. Changez plans deteriorate after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. Adapted from Moshin Hamid’s bestseller, The Reluctant Fundamentalist follows the life-changing events of 9/11 from a non-US viewpoint. The fragility of the Western and Islamic worlds is expertly explored by a strong cast, and led, skilfully and emotively, by Riz Ahmed.


James Floyd, known for his versatility as an actor, has played lead roles in Everywhere and Nowhere and Torment. In his most recent film, My Brother the Devil, he plays Rashid, the compelling older brother to Mo (Fady Elsayed), who is involved with a local gang, a bit of drug dealing, and sneaking out of the house to see his girlfriend. Determined to give Mo a better life than his own, Rashid encounters the issues of leaving gang life and the issues caused when Mo wants to become a part of it. Floyd’s performance in My Brother the Devil is being praised by critics globally as a breakout film that will ensure him a successful career in the world of film.


This new adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel, will be debuted at the Closing Night gala of the 56th BFI London Film Festival, and deserves this coveted spot in the line up. Directed by Mike Newell, and starring Helena Bonham Carter, Great Expectations has just that. As the film progresses, the transition from young Pip (Toby Irvine) to the careless, selfish adult Pip is spectacularly done by Jeremy Irvine. Randomly discovered by Steven Speilberg and cast as the lead in last year’s War Horse, Irvine’s career is on the verge of skyrocketing. Despite the impressive director and cast, all eyes will be on Jeremy Irvine in this adaptation of the literary classic.

Tom Shkolnik – THE COMEDIAN  

In this debut feature film for Director and Screenwriter Tom Shkolnik, The Comedian tells the story of Ed (Edward Hoggs) reaching an all time low in his life, as his struggling career as a stand-up comedian is not taking off. This film follows Ed as he enters into a complicated love-triangle with Nathan, a younger man (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), and Elisa, his female flatmate (Elisa Lasowski). Shkolnik’s bold debut film has already won him a nomination for Best British Newcomer, and is the clear sign of a director to keep your eye on.

Scott Graham – SHELL

The distinctive new style of Scott Graham’s debut feature Shell is a powerfully refreshing achievement. Graham, writer and director, tells the story of a repressive relationship between a father(Joseph Mawle) and his daughter (Chloe Pirrie) as they live and work at a remote Scottish Highlands petrol station. A stunning unveiling of the talented director, and the strong interactions between Mawle and Pirrie have made this emotively moving film a must see at this year’s festival.


Film newcomer Jack Reynor, portrays posh Irish teen Richard Karlsen in What Richard Did. The film follows the life of Richard, a popular young sports star, during his summer holidays after his final year at school. The charming lad has a bright future ahead of him, until one mistake alters this future forever. This feature delves into the issues of youth and morality, with Reynor leading the cast with a moving performance, which will surely lead to a promising acting career for the American-born actor.


The debut feature film of Benh Zeitlin Beasts of the Southern Wild has already been celebrated at Sundance and Cannes, and is a hopeful for the upcoming awards season. This low-budget film, expertly directed by Zeitlin, takes place in a magically forgotten place at the edge of the world. The large cast of non-actors portray their parts as residents of the Bathtub with unabridged passion and realism, combined with the genius cinematography of Zeitlin and have created one of the most enchanting and moving films of 2012.


Beasts of the Southern Wild is already on the way to becoming one of the most renowned films of 2012, and most of this fame can be contributed to the brilliant job of the young, non-actor Quvenzhanѐ Wallis. This remarkable little girl was just 6 years old for the filming of her character, Hushpuppy.  The passion, innocence, and emotional performance by this young girl evokes deep emotional reaction by anyone who has seen this magical film. It is safe to say that Beasts of the Southern Wild would not be the excellent film it is, without the contributions of the extraordinary Quvenzhanѐ Wallis.

Gerard Barett – PILGRIM HILL

Gerard Barett’s low-budget debut feature Pilgrim Hill, has already been acclaimed as an incredible achievement for the first-time filmmaker, and should be kept on the radar for this brilliant rising talent.  Following the life of unmarried and poorly educated Jimmy Walsh (Joe Mullins), Director, Producer and Screenwriter Gerard Barett leads the audience into the life of this farmer in rural Ireland. With little to live for, other than his bed-ridden father, it is evident that life has not been easy for Jimmy, and in a turn of events, only worsens.

Antonia Campbell-Hughes & Julian Morris – KELLY + VICTOR

Kelly + Victor follows the meeting of Kelly (Antonia Campbell-Huhges) and Victor (Julian Morris) at a nightclub, and the journey that unfolds as the two experience a love affair unlike anything either has experienced before. While all of their peers are spiralling into illegal lifestyles, the film follows these two young lovers as they are just trying to get by. The performances by this incredible duo beyond doubt stand out; Julian Morris and Antonia Campbell-Hughes are truly remarkable, and will greatly elevate their statuses as rising stars.

The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs from 10-21 October.
Ticket Booking Info: http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff (Box Office now open to the public)