This morning in the heart of London UK’s premier international film festival BFI London Film Festival launched it’s programme. Once again it looks like BFI will not disappoint the London cinephiles with a fantastic selection of films already creating a buzz coming off the back of Venice and Telluride festivals.
The Festival will screen a total of 234 fiction and documentary features, including 22 World Premieres, 16 International Premieres, 29 European Premieres and 20 Archive films. There will also be screenings of 134 live action and animated shorts. As well as the line up of a stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, master classes and other special events making it 12 days of celebration for film fans.
As per usual the opening and closing film galas where announced a double bill for Tom Hanks fans with Paul Greengrass Captain Phillips opening the festival and Saving Mr Banks closing the festival, both films expected to Oscar nominated. 2 other special gala films where announced Stephan Frears Philomena starring Judi Dench, Steve Coogan as the LFF American Express Gala and The Epic of Everest announced as the LFF Archive Gala.
If your frustrated that you can’t attend Venice or Toronto Film Festivals this year fear not as the best of the films from those festivals will be making their UK/European premiers at BFI London Film Festival .
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Jason Reitman’s Labor Day and Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman. Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or-winning Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle), and John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings. Other highlights include Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directoral debut Don Jon , Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12.
As you can see the list of films is endless most of all exciting, as per year there is something for everyone and do expect updates on the line up as things will change. If your like some of the People’s Movies and Cinehouse writers a bit too far from London fear not The BFI London Film Festival experience can be enjoyed UK wide with the upcoming launch of the BFI Player, the BFI’s new web VOD service, featuring a Festival digital channel showing regular red carpet action and film maker interviews.
Tickets for the BFI London Film Festival will go on general sale to the public from the 20th September, expect those tickets to sell out fast. Excited? We are! BFI London Film Festival will run from 9th to 20th October,
OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT GALAS
The Festival opens with the European Premiere of Paul Greengrass’ CAPTAIN PHILLIPS a high-stakes thriller based on true story of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates with Tom Hanks playing the eponymous lead role.
The European Premiere of Disney’s SAVING MR. BANKS will close the festival, the film which tells the untold story of how Mary Poppins was brought to the big screen stars Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Continuing the initiative from last year the Closing Night red carpet event and screening will be screened simultaneously to cinemas across the UK.
Among the other highly anticipated Galas are the previously announced American Express Gala of Stephen Frears’ PHILOMENA, the true story of one woman’s search for her lost son, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. The Accenture Gala is the European Premiere of Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt. The American Airlines Gala is Alfonso Cuarón’s 3D sci-fi thriller GRAVITY starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London is the Coen Brothers’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake which is set in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960’s, the film took home the Grand Prix at Cannes earlier in the year. The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European Premiere of Jason Reitman’s literary adaptation LABOR DAY starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The Festival Gala is the European Premiere of Ralph Fiennes’ second directorial feature THE INVISIBLE WOMAN staring Fiennes as Charles Dickens, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander.
The nine programme strands are each headlined with a gala, they are: the Love Gala, Abdellatif Kechiche’s BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR; the Debate Gala, Kelly Reichardt’s NIGHT MOVES; the Dare Gala, Alain Guiraudie’s STRANGER BY THE LAKE; the Laugh Gala, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s DON JON; the Thrill Gala, Ivan Sen’s MYSTERY ROAD; the Cult Gala, Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE; the Journey Gala, Alexander Payne’s road-trip NEBRASKA; the Sonic Gala, Lukas Moodysson’s WE ARE THE BEST!; and the Family Gala is Juan José Campanella’s FOOSBALL 3D. In addition to which the previously announced Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of THE EPIC OF EVEREST.
AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS
Following last year’s successful implementation of new competitive sections, The Best Film Award will again be handed out in Official Competition; the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition and the Grierson Award in Documentary Competition. Each section is open to international and British films.
The sophomore Official Competition line-up, recognising inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, includes the following:
- · Catherine Breillat’s Abuse of Weakness
- · Richard Ayoade’s The Double
- · Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida
- · Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s Like Father, Like Son
- · Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox
- · Jahmil X.T Qubeka’s Of Good Report
- · Peter Landesman’s Parkland
- · Ahmad Abdalla’s Rags & Tatters
- · Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant
- · David Mackenzie’s Starred Up
- · Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm
- · John Curran’s Tracks
- · Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
Titles in consideration for the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition recognising an original and imaginative directorial debut are:
- · Chika Anadu’s B for Boy
- · Daniel Patrick Carbone’s Hide Your Smiling Faces
- · Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo
- · John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings
- · Alphan Eseli’s The Long Way Home
- · Michalis Konstantatos’ Luton
- · Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s Salvo
- · Chloé Robichaud’s Sarah Prefers to Run
- · Rob Brown’s Sixteen
- · Vivian Qu’s Trap Street
- · Fernando Franco’s Wounded
- · Tom Shoval’s Youth
The Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition category recognises documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance. This year the Festival is screening:
- · Jessica Oreck’s Aatsinki: The Story of Artic Cowboys
- · Alex Gibney’s The Armstrong Lie
- · Frederick Wiseman’s At Berkeley
- · Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer
- · Mark Cousins’ Here Be Dragons
- · Nicolas Philibert’s La Maison de la Radio
- · Greg Barker’s Manhunt
- · Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture
- · Paul-Julien Robert’s My Fathers, My Mother and Me
- · Vitaly Mansky’s Pipeline
- · Matt Wolf’s Teenage
- · Kitty Green’s Ukraine is Not a Brothel
BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER
Closing the Awards section is the prize for Best British Newcomer which highlights new British talent and is presented to an emerging writer, actor, producer or director. This year’s nominees are:
1. Conner Chapman – actor The Selfish Giant
2. Shaun Thomas – actor The Selfish Giant
3. Destiny Ekaragha – director Gone Too Far!
4. Rob Brown – director Sixteen
5. Jack Fishburn & Muireann Price – producers Love Me Till Monday
6. Jonathan Asser – screenwriter Starred Up
STRANDS / PATHWAYS
The Festival programme is again organised into focused categories that are clustered around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family – an approach designed to help Festival goers find the films that mean the most to them and to open up entry points for new audiences.
Indestructible or just plain destructive, LOVE in all its guises brings both hope and despair. The Love Gala is the UK Premiere of Abdellatif Kechiche’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR, starring Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, who were awarded the coveted prize jointly with their director.
Other titles in this section include: Anne Fontaine’s ADORE starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright based on the Doris Lessing novella and adapted by Christopher Hampton; James Ponsoldt’s THE SPECTACULAR NOW starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley; Sebastián Lelio’s GLORIA for which Paulina Garcia won the Silver Bear Best Actress award at Berlin; Rebecca Zlotowski’s GRAND CENTRAL starring Léa Seydoux and Tahar Rahim;Asghar Farhadi’s THE PAST for which actress Bérénice Bejo won the Award for Best Actress at Cannes; and CHILD’S POSE for which Călin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear at Berlin.
DEBATE presents vital cinematic dispatches about the pressing concerns of our time. This year’s Debate Gala is Kelly Reichhardt’s NIGHT MOVES which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as radical environmental activists whose act of eco-terror plunges them into a moral maelstrom.
Other highlights in this section include Nicholas Wrathall’s documentary GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA; Andrzej Wajda’s biopic of dockworker, Solidarity founder, and eventual Polish president WAŁĘSA. MAN OF HOPE; Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi’s CLOSED CURTAIN which was shot in secret at Panahi’s seafront residence; Mohammad Rasoulof’s MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN; Merzak Allouache’s THE ROOFTOPS; and LEAVE TO REMAIN directed by Bruce Goodison.
Just what are we capable of? From our potential for cruelty to our capacity for endurance, the films in DARE push the limits of comfort and go further. The Dare Gala is Alain Guiraudie’s STRANGER BY THE LAKE which won the Un Certain Regard Best Director prize in Cannes earlier this year.
Other highlights in this strand include: Jason Osder’s riveting documentary LET THE FIRE BURN which examines the 1985 stand-off between police and Philadelphia’s radical MOVE collective; Danis Tanović’s AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF AN IRON PICKER which won the Jury Grand Prix and the Silver Bear Best Actor award for Nazif Mujić’s performance in Berlin; Jia Zhangke’s A TOUCH OF SIN which won Best Screenplay at Cannes in the Official Selection In Competition; Biyi Bandele’s HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, adapted from the novel and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton; François Ozon’s JEUNE ET JOLIE; Diego Quemada-Diez’s THE GOLDEN DREAM whose ensemble cast won the A Certain Talent prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes; Joanna Hogg’s London-set third feature EXHIBITION; and James Franco’s AS I LAY DYING adapted from William Faulkner’s 1930 novel.
‘Dying is easy, comedy is hard’ goes the old stand-up adage, but the filmmakers represented in the LAUGHselection seem intent on disproving this theory, adroitly tackling humour in all its guises. DON JON written, directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt has its UK Premiere as the Laugh Gala, the film also stars Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.
Other titles in this strand include Nicole Holofcener’s ENOUGH SAID starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette and the late James Gandolfini; Joe Swanberg’s DRINKING BUDDIES starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston; writer-director Anthony Wilcox’s London-set debut feature HELLO CARTER starring Charlie Cox, Paul Schneider and Jodie Whittaker; Andrew Bujalski’s 80’s set satire COMPUTER CHESS; and the six-part Sky Living TV preview DOLL & EM created by and starring Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer.
The films in THRILL are nerve shredders that take us to the very limits of who we are, who we could be and who we don’t want to be. The Gala presentation for this section is Ivan Sen’s gripping MYSTERY ROAD, a compelling slow burn thriller set in outback Australia against the realities of racial tension and economic inequality starring Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten.
Other highlights in this section include: J C Chandor’s Cannes hit ALL IS LOST starring Robert Redford; Andrew Worsdale’s award-winning DURBAN POISON; Hany Abu-Assad’s OMAR which won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes; Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg’s Oscar and Golden Globe nominated KON-TIKI; Amat Escalante’s HELI for which he won the Award for Best Director at Cannes; Paul Crowder’s history of Formula One motor racing 1; and NORTHWEST directed by Michael Noer set in the infamous Nordvest suburb of Copenhagen.
What is a cult film? A movie that exists outside the mainstream, that deliberately pushes boundaries, or inadvertently creates its own subculture? The Cult Gala is Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin and John Hurt.
Other highlights in this section include: Frank Pavich’s documentary JODOROWSKY’S DUNE which explores the Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doomed attempt to adapt and film Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel in the mid 1970’s; Terry Gilliam’s THE ZERO THEOREM starring Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry and David Thewlis; Adam Wimpenny’s UK-set supernatural thriller BLACKWOOD starring Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles and Russell Tovey; Ari Folman’s mind-bending follow up to ‘Waltz With Bashir’ THE CONGRESS, with Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti; and THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS, Hélène Cattet’s & Bruno Forzani’s homage to giallo cinema.
Road movies, personal quests, journeys of discovery and films that revel in the glory of the path itself, the potential for the films in JOURNEY to transport you is endless. Alexander Payne’s road-trip NEBRASKA, for which Bruce Dern took home the Award for Best Actor at Cannes in the Official Selection In Competition, is the Journey Gala.
Other titles in this strand include: Destin Daniel Cretton’s award-winning SHORT TERM 12 starring Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr and Kaitlyn Dever; Stephen Knight’s real-time thriller LOCKE starring Tom Hardy; Andrew Dosunmu’s Sundance award-winner MOTHER OF GEORGE; Xiaolu Guo’s mediation on the passages that have indelibly marked London’s East End LATE AT NIGHT: VOICES OF ORDINARY MADNESS; and India’s premier arthouse director Buddhadeb Dasgupta returns to the festival with SNIFFER.
Walter Pater wrote that ‘All art inspires to the condition of music’, a maxim that resonates in the selection of films and events in SONIC. Lukas Moodysson’s punk rock teen movie WE ARE THE BEST! is the Sonic Gala.
Other titles in the strand include: Doug Hamilton’s BROADWAY IDIOT which chronicles the creation of the Green Day musical American Idiot; Ryan White’s documentary GOOD OL’ FREDA the story of Freda Kelly, secretary to The Beatles; Dori Bernstein’s affectionate documentary MARVIN HAMLISCH: THE WAY HE WAS which chronicles the work and life of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony-winning composer; MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, about American rock-band The National, directed by the lead singer’s younger brother Tom Berninger; Sini Anderson’s THE PUNK SINGER which focuses on Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill frontwoman, feminist, and riot grrrl icon; Philippe Béziat’s BECOMING TRAVIATA; and Morgan Neville’s TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM which shines a spotlight on the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.
The Festival is delighted to include two popular events from the year-round Sonic Cinema programme which celebrates the links between film and music. The celebrated British composer Michael Nyman will give a special performance at the BFI Southbank, playing solo piano from a selection of his film scores and providing accompaniment to some of the 70 films that he himself has shot; offering a unique experience of his visual and musical vision. The BFI also welcome the unique Angolan Kuduro act Buraka Som Sistema to London for a one-off live show at Village Underground. The performance will follow the UK premiere of João Pedro Moreira’s documentary OFF THE BEATEN TRACK which follows the Lisbon based band over a year long journey around the world.
The Festival showcases films for all ages in our FAMILY section, and this year’s Family Gala is FOOSBALL 3D, director Juan José Campanella’s first feature since his Oscar-winning The Secrets in Their Eyes. Other highlights are Alfredo Soderguit’s debut feature ANINA which centres on a young 10 year old girl who is teased about her palindromic name; Ask Hasselbalch’s debut feature ANTBOY based on the children’s book series; Roberta Durrant’s FELIX which won the Audience Award at the Durban International Film Festival; and SIDE BY SIDE, the debut feature of young Brit writer-director Arthur Landon.
An original and innovative line-up of short films and animation that will captivate audiences young and old make up this year’s SHORTS compilation programmes presented across the Festival strands. There is a dedicated section for younger audiences with animated shorts including HEDGEHOGS AND THE CITY, THE FOX WHO FOLLOWED THE SOUND, and two films with meatball protagonists.
The Love Will Conquer All programme examines an assortment of expressions of affection includes THE PHONE CALL will Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent. Shiny Happy Fits of Rage is for shorts which dare to ask questions about how we live today, such as OUR LAD in which a British Muslim solder returns from duty in Afghanistan, and in BEAT, a young man played by Ben Whishaw walks a thin line between euphoria and hopelessness. Laughter is the best medicine, or so we’re told, but at a price in The Best Medicine selection of eight short films. The Bizarre Rideprogramme offers thrills with adrenaline-fuelled adventure, including Maxine Peake in KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES as a husband’s criminal associates take his wife hostage, and a herd of giraffe perform acrobatic feats in an Olympic swimming pool in 5 METERS 80. Freaks ‘n’ Geeks presents shorts that draw on cult genres and personalities from the religious to rock stars and relationships closer to home, including Jonathan Romney’s L’ASSENZA with Stephen Mangan. Everything Good is Happening Somewhere Else offers shorts about new experiences and journeying out of one’s comfort zone. Once again the London Calling section features a selection of shorts from budding filmmakers from across the capital, supported by Film London’s production schemes.
This year, the LFF showcase of Experimental Cinema and Artists’ Moving Image, is programmed in an exciting new partnership with LUX and is supported by Arts Council England. An extensive selection of new British work is presented including IT FOR OTHERS by Duncan Campbell, A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS by Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, and TAŞKAFA, STORIES OF THE STREET by Andrea Luka Zimmerman. International works include Shaina Anand’s FROM GULF TO GULF TO GULF from India, and Gym Lumbera’s ANAK ARAW from the Philippines. The colourful, sensual filmmaking scene of the 1980s is celebrated with restorations from the BFI National Archive; and Anthology Film Archives offer a sampler programme of an eclectic array of artists active in New York City from 1975-1990, preserved with the support from the Andy Warhol Foundation. These presentations sit alongside a tribute to the late Japanese moving-image artist Stom Sogo; Jodie Mack performing live to her animated rock opera DUSTY STACKS OF MOM; as well as screenings of Boris Lehman’s epic MY CONVERSATIONS ON FILM.
Many screenings include the opportunity to see filmmakers in conversation, and this year the Festival is pleased to include a series of professional workshops and talks exploring aspects of funding, production and sales as well as those working with film archives.
TREASURES brings recently restored cinematic riches from archives around the world to the Festival in London. This year, the films can be found throughout the programme sections. The previously announced Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of THE EPIC OF EVEREST, the official film record of the legendary 1924 Everest expedition directed by Captain John Noel. The restoration was generously supported by The Eric Anker-Petersen Charity. Screening at the Odeon West End, the film will have a remarkable new score performed live by composer Simon Fisher Turner with a specially created musical ensemble featuring electronic music, found sounds, western and Nepalese instruments and vocals.
There will be a tantalising taste of the BFI’s forthcoming exploration of the dark heart of Gothic film with Jean Cocteu’s LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE (1946), the much loved Gothic fantasy digitally restored to 4K, Thorold Dickenson’s GASLIGHT (1940), digitally remastered by the BFI National Archive with the support of The Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation, and Joan Fontaine in her last big-screen appearance in the Hammer production THE WITCHES (1966).
The latest restorations by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation to screen at the Festival is the wonderful Indian dance spectacular KALPANA (1948) and Lino Brocka’s once-unattainable Philippine masterpiece, MANILLA IN THE CLAWS OF LIGHT (1975).
Other highlights include Orson Wells THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947), Shirley Clarke’s groundbreaking documentary PORTRAIT OF JASON (1967) a revealing interview with African-American cabaret performer Jason Holliday, and Dirk Bogarde’s career-altering performance in VICTIM (1961) which influenced the changes to British laws on homosexuality.
The events programme includes the highly anticipated Screen Talks and Masterclasses, details of which will be announced closer to the Festival. In addition to the Sonic Events, for the first time, the Festival presents a public talk in partnership with Power to the Pixel in which acclaimed artist Stan Douglas will preview his soon-to-be-launched 3D augmented reality app and immersive storyworld CIRCA 1948, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
INDUSTRY & EDUCATION
Highlights of the Industry programme are Think-Shoot-Distribute the Festival’s feature film talent development programme that will equip 25 selected talented filmmakers working in shorts, TV, digital media, games, arts or commercials with the skills, industry knowledge, connections, and career and project development support to make the leap from shorts and other forms of media to features. Also returning this year is the Film London Production Finance Market (PFM), held in association with the BFI London Film Festival, a two-day event that focuses on facilitating face-to-face meetings between producers and financiers from the international marketplace and the UK to encourage and foster new financing relationships. A full programme will be announced closer to the Festival. AndThe Cross-Media Forum 2013, in partnership with Power to the Pixel, which offers opportunities to network with over 400 experts from across the media industry, and includes The Conference: presentations of high-level think pieces and case study; and The Pixel Pitch: an event in which to discover the types of projects commissioners and distributors are eager to finance and support.
The Festival will also offer an exciting Education programme, sponsored by Sir John Cass’s Foundation, including films and events for schools, students and young people. This includes the Young Jury Project supported by the BFI Film Academy, panel discussions featuring a wide range of film industry professionals and a series of special events aimed at film students in higher education.