22 July 2024
Young woman looks angry her name is saoirse ronan

The BFI have just announced Steve McQueen‘s World War II drama Blitz starring Saoirse Ronan is to open 2024 BFI London Film Festival.

The 68th edition of the festival is set to take place with the opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of the Apple Original Film. Which is also produced and written by Academy Award and BAFTA winner McQueen.

Blitz follows the epic journey of George (Elliott Heffernan), a 9-year-old boy in World War II London whose mother Rita (Saoirse Ronan) sends him to safety in the English countryside. George, defiant and determined to return home to Rita and his grandfather Gerald (Paul Weller) in East London, ensues on an adventure, only to find himself in immense peril, while a distraught Rita searches for her missing son.

Next to Saoirse Ronan, the film stars newcomer Elliott Heffernan. Along with Harris Dickinson, Benjamin Clementine, Kathy Burke, Paul Weller, Stephen Graham, Leigh Gill, Mica Ricketts, CJ Beckford, Alex Jennings, Joshua McGuire, Hayley Squires, Erin Kellyman, and Sally Messham rounding out the cast.

This film marks the London born director’s 3 opening gala with Widows (2018) and Mangrove (2020) the other two. This is a tale of resilience and humanity in the face of adversity, with the city of London forming the tapestry of the film. Steve McQueen does have a long running relationship with the festival with Hunger, 12 Years A Slave, Shame, Lovers Rock and Occupied City also featured at the festival. McQueen was awarded the BFI’s highest honour, the BFI Fellowship, at the BFI London Film Festival in 2016 for his outstanding contribution to film and moving image culture.

Steve McQueen, commented: “BLITZ is a movie about Londoners. It honours the spirit of what and how Londoners endured during the blitz, but also explores the true representation of people in London, while at its core is the story of a working-class family desperate to be reunited during times of war,” said McQueen. “I could not be more thrilled that the BFI London Film Festival have invited us to open this year’s festival, and to celebrate the World Premiere of ‘Blitz’ in my hometown.”

BFI London Film Festival Director, Kristy Matheson, also commented: “BLITZ is a film of incredible scale. Steve McQueen infuses the film with nuance at every turn; the depth of character and texture of the city are all peerless and make this subject feel completely new. It’s an astounding production that will leave audiences in awe of the Director, his cast, and creative collaborators. We are honoured to share this film with audiences in London and across the UK and can think of no better way to open the 2024 BFI London Film Festival.”

McQueen’s Lammas Park produces alongside Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films, Arnon Milchan, Yariv Milchan and Michael Schaefer for New Regency, with producers Anita Overland and Adam Somner. McQueen reunites with production designer Adam Stockhausen (“12 Years a Slave,” “Widows”), costume designer Jacqueline Durran (“Small Axe”), and composer Hans Zimmer (“12 Years a Slave”), with cinematographer Yorick Le Saux (“Little Women”) and make up designer Naomi Donne (“No Time To Die”).

Blitz will premiere in select cinemas on 1st November, prior to streaming globally on Apple TV+ on 22nd November. The 68th BFI London Film Festival with take place between 9th and 20th October.

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