Source: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI

Singer Grace Jones and actress Janelle Monae at the ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ European premiere

In-person attendance figures for the 2022 edition of BFI London Film Festival were 189,200 – a return to pre-pandemic levels that is welcome news for the event after two years of hybrid editions.

The festival also brought in 101,900 online attendees, for a total attendance figure of 291,100.

Those figures are on a par with 2019, when the festival achieved 178,000 in-person attendees in London, with 190,000 including regional screenings.

The record attendance of 315,000 in 2020 was composed largely of online attendees with the majority of the festival operating digitally that year; while in 2021, total attendance was 291,000, of which 139,000 were in-person.

Attendance figures at the nine regional partner cinemas were up 33% on 2021, which could solidify the festival’s commitment to the regions for future editions. Occupancy for the London in-cinema screenings and events was also up, to 87% compared to 84% in 2018 and 83% in 2019.

The festival was the final event as BFI festivals director for Tricia Tuttle, who will stay in her post until early 2023 while her successor is appointed.

“There was a strong feeling of celebration and community across the 66th BFI London Film Festival,” said Tuttle. “This was a reflection of the extraordinary quality of the films, series and immersive works, but also created by the buzz of packed houses seeing these works together, supported by the presence filmmakers and talent from around the world.”

Tuttle also noted the number of standing ovations at the festival, which typically “UK audiences are not quick to give”; and the “big emotional moments” at the Royal Festival Hall Gala venue.

“The Festival exists to help create awareness and space for wider range of internationally and formally diverse work to reach audiences and we hope this is a sign of brighter times to come for independent cinemas everywhere in the coming months,” added Tuttle.

Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage won the best film award in official competition, with Manuela Martelli’s 1976 taking the Sutherland award in the first feature competition.

Across 12 days, the festival screened 167 features including 23 world premieres, seven international premieres and 22 European premieres. 63 countries were represented across the programme, with 41% of the selection made by female and non-binary directors and creators; and 34% from ethnically diverse directors and creators.

The Screen Talks programme returned with talent including Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mia Hansen-Love and Jennifer Lawrence; while over 3,200 industry and press delegates participated in the industry programme, including the Production Finance Market and LFF Works-in-Progress showcase.

The festival closed on October 16 with the European premiere of Netflix whodunnit Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, with director Rian Johnson and a substantial cast including Daniel Craig and Janelle Monae in attendance.