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56th BFI London Film Festival Launch set for October 10 -21,2012

Whether you’re a film aficionado diving straight in or a moviegoer coming to the Festival for the first time – this year’s programme is bursting with films and events that will entertain, confront and delight you. We kick-start the Festival with the European Premiere of Frankenweenie, the gloriously crafted, stop-motion 3D animation from Tim Burton, and close our twelve-day celebration of film with the European Premiere of Mike Newell’s visually ravishing adaptation of Great Expectations. Among our highly anticipated Galas is the World Premiere of Crossfire Hurricane, a documentary celebrating the extraordinary 50-year journey of The Rolling Stones. For the first time this year our Opening Night Gala and our American Express Gala will screen simultaneously across the UK – beaming our red-carpet arrivals and filmmaker introductions into more cinemas for more people to enjoy.
We have also made some significant changes to the structure of the Festival programme. We are enhancing our Festival Awards by introducing competitive sections that give much more prominence to the participating films.
The Best Film Award, the Sutherland Award and the Grierson Award will now be presented to the winning films from three programme sections: Official Competition, First Feature Competition and Documentary Competition.
We are also changing our broad Festival sections, introducing new focused categories – love, debate, dare, laugh, thrill, cult, journeys, sonic, family – making it much easier to navigate and choose from more than 200 feature films in the Festival programme. Most of these sections are also represented by a Gala presentation.
Returning this year is the beloved Treasures section premiering recent archive restorations, along with the superbly curated Experimenta and Shorts programmes. The BFI’s commitment to film heritage is also on show in our Archive Gala, the World Premiere of the restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Manxman, a fitting closure to the BFI’s grand-scale project ‘The Genius of Hitchcock’.
The events programme, featuring our highly anticipated Screen Talks and Masterclasses, expands to include for the first time two popular events from the year-round programme at BFI Southbank – BUG and Sonic Cinema. Finally, if you need some time away from the cinema, we are delighted to be presenting The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition at Southbank and and events with the curator of the V&A’s summer exhibition Hollywood Costume.
Thanks to the Mayor of London, Film London and Creative Skillset, the Festival also comes alive with industry activity from development and financing forums like Power to the Pixel and Production Finance Market through the talent lab Think-Shoot-Distribute to the Buyers and Sellers screenings. We work with a range of Education partners to deliver a compelling programme of education screenings, talks and workshops.
The new 12-day duration of the Festival will give a concentrated burst of film across more boroughs of London than ever before. The important cinema-going axis between the major Leicester Square cinemas (Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leicester Square and Empire) and BFI Southbank will be maintained and the Festival’s reach is extended into four new regional London cinemas: the Hackney Picturehouse, the Renoir in Bloomsbury, Screen on the Green in Islington, and Rich Mix in Shoreditch. We continue to screen at the ICA and expand our use of Curzon Mayfair, the Ritzy in Brixton, and Cine Lumière, Kensington, which will all screen films for the full duration of the Festival.
As Alain Resnais once said, ‘cinema is collaboration’, and I extend my gratitude to the Festival team and contributing BFI staff, along with our Festival partners and the many organisations and individuals who have worked so hard to bring the world of film to London this October. See you at the movies.
Clare Stewart
 BFI Head of Exhibition
 Festival Director, BFI London Film Festival
2012 is a landmark year in so many ways – and it’s certainly been exceptional for Londoners. The incredible events taking place in the capital have brought energy and excitement on an unprecedented scale and we are fortunate to be staging this year’s BFI London Film Festival amid this explosion of creativity, excellence and openness. All of us have enjoyed the democracy of the Olympics and it is striking how audiences from almost every country in the world became equal partners in making the Games such a resounding success and were able to participate on so many levels. It mirrors a tenet embedded in the DNA of our Festival which places audiences at its heart in a direct relationship with hundreds of filmmakers from across the globe. This potent combination will do so much more than just keep the momentum going, and I could not imagine a more fabulous start to the Festival. The public appetite for film has never been stronger and this year’s programme should not disappoint. The films are rich, varied, intense and unpredictable with a riot of different voices, new perspectives and original stories to tell. From the brave to the colloquial, from the shocking to the funny, there is something for every one of us in this showcase of the very best cinema in the world. So for ten days in October, come and celebrate this creativity with us.

Amanda Nevill
Chief Executive, BFI
Watch here the video of the press launch.
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