George Clooney and Bill Murray struck a resolutely upbeat note about The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival today (October 14).

Both actors are in town to support the LFF’s opening film, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox.

In remarks that must have left festival organisers purring, Clooney told a packed audience in the Ballroom of the Dorchester Hotel that the LFF was “a fantastic film festival”. Referring to his experiences in London with Good Night and Good Luck, Clooney added: “There is a level of pride here (in London) that is really fun…it (the LFF) is a great place to bring a movie and find out whether it is going to hold up or it is going to last, not just for the opening weekend.”

Murray, meanwhile, waxed lyrical about the skills of the London-based technicians who worked on Fantastic Mr Fox at 3 Mills Studios.

“This film couldn’t have been made any where in the world except in London,” enthused Murray, who voices Badger in the film. “One of the most exciting days I have ever had in the film business is the day I spent with the artisans at 3 Mills. There was more talent in one little factory that I have ever been closeted with.”

The press conference, which attacted 250 print journalists plus 35 broadcast and online crews, was staged as part of the festival’s ongoing attempt to boost its profile, both with the international media and domestically. It follows a £1.88m cash injection from the UK Film Council to be spent over the next three years on boosting the festival’s profile.

No film festival press conference is complete without questions about Clooney’s love life, today’s event saw the actor grilled about his plans to have children. He joked that he intended to “adopt some of Brad Pitt’s”.

Asked about the moral of the film (adapted from Roald Dahl’s much-loved story), Clooney and Wes Anderson suggested it was “a celebration of stealing”.

While some journalists complained about the “vacuous” nature of the questions posed to Clooney, it was clear that the conference generated plenty of media buzz - which was precisely what the LFF organisers were hoping for.