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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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London Festival opened with the (late) " Last King of Scotland"

The 50th edition of the Festival had a fitting Ugandian opening last night in Odeon Leicester Square with The Last King of Scotland playing an hour and half late due to a delayed Forrest Whitaker.

Oscar-winning documentary director Kevin Macdonald received a remarkable response from the audience for his debut fiction feature, and was joined on stage by cast members, including Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy and Gillian Anderson.

A naive young doctor arrives in 1970’s Uganda – hoping for fun, sun and to lend a helping hand -- he finds himself instead on a shocking ride into the darkest realm on earth: the human heart. This is the story of THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, a powerful thriller that recreates on screen the world of Uganda under the mad dictatorship of Idi Amin. Deftly mixing fact and fiction and startlingly resonant with today’s world, the film features a tour de force performance from Forest Whitaker as Amin and carves two unforgettable portraits: one of a charismatic but psychopathic ruler who ravaged his country and the other,,of a witness to history who finally finds the courage to make a stand.

It all begins as handsome Scottish physician Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), fresh out of med school, jets off to Uganda, looking for excitement, romance and the joy of helping a country that truly needs his medical skills. Soon after his arrival, Garrigan is called to the scene of a bizarre accident: Idi Amin, the country’s newly installed leader, has smashed his Maserati into a hapless cow. Boldly taking the chaotic situation under control, Garrigan impresses Amin as brazenly forthright. Already obsessed with Scottish history and culture, Amin takes an instant liking to Garrigan and soon offers him the unlikely job of becoming his personal physician.

It’s an offer so incredible, the doctor cannot refuse – and thus is started his odyssey into the inner circle of one of Africa’s most horrific reigns of terror. At first, Garrigan is seduced by Amin’s famously charming personality and ambitious plans for Uganda, not to mention the ruler’s passion for fast cars, beautiful women and glamorous parties. As time goes on, seduced by his own desire for power,, Garrigan becomes the dictator’s confidante, consultant and right hand man, witnessing increasingly unsettling events -- kidnappings, assassinations and unspeakable atrocities in which he himself may be complicit. Trapped in the moral abyss of Amin’s murderous megalomania, Garrigan nearly loses his soul. But when he finally dares to try to stop the insanity, he winds up in a desperate fight for survival.



The Festival Marketing Executive talks a little about the frantic final build-up to Opening Night festivities.

"For the half hour of red carpet footage you see on BBC London News, hours of activity take place in Leicester Square in preparation, making sure all goes smoothly and looks lovely for the world's press photographers and broadcasters.

In the morning, branding was installed on top of the Odeon, and inside the building. Westminster council arrived at about 3pm to put up the crash barriers - for crowd control and to protect the public. Then the red carpet was installed, and an air of excitement began to fill Leicester Square, as people started to assemble in anticipation behind the barriers.

Meanwhile, the Festival Marketing team and our trusty band of volunteers got busy attaching branding to all barriers, so the film and the Festival get maximum exposure from any photographs taken, and so that everyone assembled understands what the event is about. This must have been the first year in living memory that it didn't rain on Opening Night, which was a relief - last year we all got soaked putting up the barrier branding!

Then we relaxed and watched our VIP guests parade down the red carpet - seeing the crowd's reaction to the lovely Cilla Black was wonderful. Once everyone was safely in the cinema, we ran around manically with scissors cutting all the branding down, a pattern we'll be repeating every day for the next 15 days! "


What's screening in London today:
Free Floating
Full of quirky humour, this new film from the director of Koktebel follows the absurd adventures of a Russian youth in a succession of dead end jobs.

The Wedding Director
Famous Italian film director flees Rome for peace in Sicily, only to find himself entangled in the preparations for a posh wedding and besotted with the bride-to-be.

Bug
William Friedkin returns to his roots, and to form, in this intense, low budget adaptation of Tracy Letts' acclaimed off-Broadway play.

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