The programme for the 54th BFI London Film Festival also includes 11 world premieres, 23 international premieres and 33 European premieres.
British films were firmly in the spotlight as the programme for the 54th BFI London Film Festival (13 to 28 October) was announced today at the Odeon Leicester Square.
Despite the current upheaval in public film financing in the UK since the announcement of the axing of the UK Film Council, LFF organisers are pinpointing this year’s British crop as one of the strongest ever.
The Festival is opening and closing with British films - Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, in contrast to the previous two LFFs which kicked off on a more international note with Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Ron Howard’s Frost Nixon.
“It is an indication of the vibrancy of the film culture,” Amanda Nevill, Director of the BFI, said of the the British selection.
Festival Director Sandra Hebron likewise highlighted the strength of the British programme, citing everything from mainstream films like Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech to more experimental work like Patrick Keiller’s Robinson In Ruins
“Out of some form of crisis can come great film creativity,” she said, comparing the current renaissance in British cinema to that which occurred in Argentina during its period of economic turbulence in 2001.
One high-profile British title which eluded the festival’s grasp was Rowan Joffe’s Brighton Rock. (Distributors Optimum are reportedly planning a UK premiere on the South Coast, which is why they have bypassed the LFF.)
The London Film Festival is running on a budget of around £6.1 million. The selection includes 11 World, 23 International and 33 European Premieres.
A host of films of the best films from Venice and Cannes will be screening at the LFF, among them Palme D’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods And Men and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
Aronofsky, Peter Mullan (Neds) and Olivier Assayas (Carlos) will all be in town giving talks or masterclasses.
At this morning’s launch, LFF organisers were striking a resolutely upbeat note. “However callous it may appear, this is no time to mourn the old order,” Nevill stated as she called for continued public investment in film.
Like other public organisations, the BFI is facing swingeing cuts, potentially of up to 30%. Its extra funding from the UK Film Council’s Festival Fund will run out next year. Nonetheless, Nevill said that the BFI will fight to protect the size and funding of the LFF.
Announcements about the composition of the juries for this year’s festival and who will be giving the keynote address are expected at the end of September.
The 11 world premieres are:
The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople, dir Chris Hall, Mike Kerry (UK)
Edge, dir Carol Morley (UK)
Fire In Babylon, dir Stevan Riley (UK)
Guilty Pleasures, dir Julie Moggan (UK)
In Our Name, dir Brian Welsh (UK)
Mandelson: The Real PM?, dir Hannah Rothschild (UK)
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story, dir Danny O’Connor (UK)
In Your Hands (Contre Toi), dir Lola Doillon (France)
I Am Sindhutai Sapkal, dir Ananth Mahadevan (India)
Relentless, dir Andy Amadi Okoroafor (Nigeria)
Stray Bullet, dir Georges Hachem (Lebanon)