The Times bfi London Film Festival (Oct 19-Nov 3) unveiled its fullline-up today and pledged to follow on last year's long-term strategy to expandindustry services.
The festival announced a programme of 180 feature films, opening withFerndando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener and closing withGeorge Clooney's Venice hit Good Night, and Good Luck.
Whether through specialisedindustry events or regular screenings and talks, artistic director SandraHebron hopes that the festival continues its dialogue with the industry. "Ithink it's absolutely crucial," she said. "We would have no festival if wedidn't have a healthy relationship with the industry."
Among the industry-oriented initiatives are more industry screenings, aweek-long skills and development course entitled Discover Digital, aco-production case-study forum on October 25, the bfi Black World: New Horizonsseminar for producers, various panels, a film schools day, and the festival'songoing Scene Insiders collaboration with the Script Factory.
At the 2004 festival, there were 147 registered buyers and sellers and760 industry delegates. Festival producer Helen De Witt expects an increasethis year of around 10 percent, but notes that London's industry programmescan't accommodate "unlimited numbers." She estimated that 80% of industrydelegates are UK-based, while the majority of film-makers attending LFF arefrom outside the UK.
De Witt said: "We're always first and foremost a fest for our audiences,that's important for us. But you can't have one side without the other." Sheadded that the increased industry programmes were "about completing the picturerather than a shift of emphasis."
Last year there were seven acquisitions deals made during LFF, andorganisers expect there to be some buying activity again this year. Industryscreenings for films without UK distribution will be held for 39 films thisyear, up from last year's 32.
Artistic director Sandra Hebron told ScreenDaily.com, "It's not our job to be a market, but we want to giveexposure to films that might otherwise be overlooked."
As for its large filmprogramme, LFF will offer three world premieres: Richard Jobson's A Woman inWinter, Cristiano Bortone's Red Like the Sky (Rosso Come Il Cielo),and Serge Le Peron's I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed (J'ai vu tue Ben Barka).
The rest of the line-up, which has several awards but is largelynon-competitive, features 33 Europeanpremieres and 120 UK premieres.
Gala presentations will beJames Mangold's Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, Julian Fellowes'directorial debut Separate Lies, Shane Black's murder mystery KissKiss Bang Bang, Terry Gilliam's fantastical The Brothers Grimm,Australian western The Proposition, Cannes winner L'Enfant fromthe Dardenne Brothers, Michael Haneke's thriller Hidden (Cache), and hitdocumentary The March of the Penguins.
Hebron saidthat the opening and closing films were obviously socially relevant at themoment, but that each was also "very interesting and imaginative from acinematic point of view."
She added thatthe rest of the programme's tone could be perceived as being tied into thosethemes, but added that the festival's programme wasn't devoted to a singletheme, instead reflecting "what kind offilmmaking is being produced at the moment, and what audiences are interestedin seeing. If filmmakers are dealing with subjects that have a certainresonance that's going to be reflected."
Of the internationalofferings, Hebron said that films from Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil,Bosnia, and Croatia were notable inclusions in the mix.
Further high-profile filmswill screen as part of the Film on the Square strand, including ThomFitzgerald's 3 Needles, Steven Soderbergh's Bubble, MichaelWinterbottom's A Cock and Bull Story, Fatih Akin's Crossing theBridge: The Sound Of Istanbul, Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mister
The New British Cinemasection, made up of eight features, includes Dominic Savage's Love + Hate, Kim Longinotto's Sisters in Law, Stephen Woolley's Stoned, and Rupert Murray's UnknownWhite Male.
TheFrench Revolutions section, sponsored by TV5, features 16 selections includingAnne Fountaine's Entre Ses Mains, Laurent Cantet's Heading South(Vers le Sud), Karin Albou's Little Jerusalem, and Lucille Chaufour'sViolent Days.
TheCinema Europa strand includes Martin Sulik's The City of the Sun (SlunecniStat), Mercedes Alvarez's
World Cinema offeringsinclude Margaret Brown's Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, WisitSasanatieng's Citizen Dog (Ma Nakorn), Marcos Prado's Estamira,Hal Hartley's The Girl From Monday, Li Sahohong's Stolen Life (Sheng Si Jie), Lee Yoon-Ki's This Charming Girl, MarkDornford-May's U-Carmen Ekhayelitsha, and Tsai Ming-Liang's The Wayward Cloud.
The Experimenta programmewill show works by James Benning, William Greaves, Fred Kelemen, Liu Jaiyin,and Shin Jane. The LFF programme also includes restored classics, short films,animations, screenings in Trafalgar Square, and educational events.
Expected guests include Gwyneth Paltrow, Gael Garcia Bernal, TerryGilliam, Shane Black, Kirsten Dunst, Cameron Crowe, Fernando Meirelles, JohnMadden, the Dardenne Brothers, and others.