Tricia Tuttle at the BFI London Film Festival closing ceremony

Source: Getty Images for BFI

Tricia Tuttle at the BFI London Film Festival closing ceremony

The 2022 BFI London Film Festival (LFF) closed with a tribute to departing festivals director Tricia Tuttle from CEO Ben Roberts; and insight on the inspirations for Rian Johnson’s closing film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery from the all-star cast.

Roberts credited Tuttle with leading the festival for the past five editions “through a tough few years, towards the renewed festival that we’ve just enjoyed. Sadly for us, she is taking off her BFI cowgirl boots.”

“We started at the BFI around the same time; I know I speak on behalf of so many colleagues when I say you’re just a fantastic colleague and a really amazing person – and it’s sad that you’re going,” Roberts said to Tuttle, who will remain in her post until early 2023 while the BFI recruits a replacement.

Tuttle was then presented with a bouquet of flowers by Olivia Howe, BFI festivals producer; and an ‘all-access’ festival wristband by Roberts. “Never say we don’t spend money at the BFI,” quipped the chief executive.

The popular festival director joked that she “thought Ben was going to make me sing ‘Islands In The Stream’ with him” as he had during rehearsal.

“The whole festival team and all the filmmakers have really cherished being in spaces with audiences that we’ve been in the last two weeks, sharing incredibly powerful films, series, and immersive work,” said Tuttle.

“I feel it’s been one of the best LFFs yet, and it’s down to the team. I’m incredibly visible, but I can tell you with absolute clarity that I don’t do this by myself. The commitment and the professionalism and the love that goes into this festival from this team is so incredible.”

Roberts began his remarks by celebrating “one of the busiest and buzziest editions of the festival that I can remember.”

“We knew really early on in the week that we were going to surpass our audience expectations for this year,” he said. “We did, and I think that is a much-needed celebration of screen culture; and an affirmation of the importance of festivals.”

Last month the BFI unveiled its 10-year strategy titled Screen Culture 2033, with Roberts saying the institute has “to do more with less” going forwards.

At the LFF closing event, he put out a call for financial support from those in attendance. “We’re a charity; all our charitable work including the National Archive, our education programmes, this festival – it’s expensive,” said Roberts. “So if you’ve had a great festival; if you’ve come to the Southbank; if you’ve been moved by that trailer for the National Archive; you can help in small ways. You can also help in large ways!”

Heart of Glass

The festival closed with the European premiere of Rian Johnson’s Netflix whodunnit Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. “We want you tonight to just follow my lead - loosen your ties a little bit, lean back and have a great time,” said Johnson in introducing the film.

He also guarded against spoilers on several occasions. “To everyone here - we’re seeing this really early; so we don’t know how to do spoilers, we’re all cool in this place!”

Johnson was joined by many of his star-studded cast, including Daniel Craig, Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Leslie Odom Jr., and Madelyn Cline.

The film is the first of at least two Knives Out sequels, following an unprecedented Netflix deal in March 2021, reported to be worth $450m.


Source: Getty Images for BFI

Following the screening, the cast, writer-director and producer Ram Bergman returned to the LFF stage for a Q&A. “It’s bigger because of who and what it’s about,” said Johnson, who credited Agatha Christie for the series’ reinvention. “I wanted to let the audience know that going forward that’s what we’re going to try and do with this - give each one of these its own reason for being, its own identity.”

The film features cameos from late screen legends Angela Lansbury, who died last week aged 96; and Stephen Sondheim, who died in November 2021 aged 91.

Both will receive dedications in the final cut of the credits when the film is released. Glass Onion will be the first Netflix title to play in each of the three major UK cinema chains, with an exclusive theatrical window from November 23-29 – the same dates it will play in the US, plus territories including Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain.

The film will then debut on Netflix worldwide on December 23.

A year on from his final film as James Bond, Craig returns to the role of detective Benoit Blanc, who must crack a case on a remote island where a tech billionaire has gathered a group of friends.

“I was so desperate to get it right, not to do a pastiche of the previous film,” said Craig. With talk of further Knives Out titles beyond the third, Craig added that he would work with Johnson “for the rest of my life.”

Norton plays Miles Bron, Glass Onion’s tech billionaire; and hinted at which real-life technology moguls he studied for inspiration. “We’ve all seen the documentaries on Shelon Husk [Tesla founder Elon Musk], Schmelizabeth Scones [former Theranos chief executive Elizabeth Holmes] and Schadam Ceumann [WeWork founder Adam Neumann],” said Norton. “The tech illuminati are everybody’s favourite target right now, we all want to see them taken down, so it was a great deal of fun.”