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London Film Festival program launch

The programme for the 54th BFI London Film Festival, launched today by Artistic Director Sandra Hebron, showcases an array of highly anticipated films by both established and emerging talent from around the world. A particularly strong feature this year is the selection of British films including the previously announced Opening and Closing Night Galas. Over 16 days the festival will screen a total of 197 features and 112 shorts, including 11 World, 23 International and 33 European premieres, many presented by cast members and filmmakers, alongside a stellar line-up of special events. The 54th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, will run from
13 - 28 October.
Opening the festival is Mark Romanek’s NEVER LET ME GO, starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, whilst Danny Boyle's 127 HOURS, starring James Franco will close the festival, with key talent in attendance for both. In between are THE KING'S SPEECH, with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter; Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, with Natalie Portman; Mike Leigh's ANOTHER YEAR; NEDS, directed by Peter Mullan; THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening; and Cannes Palme D'Or winner, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES. Other highlights include CONVICTION, starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell; Alejandro González Iñárritu's BIUTIFUL starring Javier Bardem; WEST IS WEST, the follow up to East is East; Xavier Beauvois’ OF GODS AND MEN; and Julian Schnabel's MIRAL with Freida Pinto. In THE FIRST GRADER an 84 year old Kenyan finally starts school, and AFRICA UNITED features a group of youngsters who trek across Africa to reach the World Cup. THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE, a BFI Archive restoration, is this year's Archive Gala, featuring a live performance of a new score by Simon Fisher Turner.
London’s West End will see a selection of some of the strongest films of the year. Anton Corbijn (Control) presents THE AMERICAN, starring George Clooney; CARLOS is Olivier Assayas's epic biopic of the infamous Venezuelan terrorist; Jean-Luc Godard continues to challenge cinemagoers with FILM SOCIALISME; ROBINSON IN RUINS marks Patrick Keiller's long awaited return, and is narrated by Vanessa Redgrave. Other highlights include Diego Luna's directorial debut ABEL; Kelly Reichardt's MEEK'S CUTOFF with Michelle Williams and Paul Dano; LE QUATTRO VOLTE, an intriguing quasi-documentary set in an Italian village; LOOSE CANNONS, an Italian coming-out comedy; and RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE a Finnish fantasy thriller... about Father Christmas. Two of the festival's features set in Africa are A SCREAMING MAN from Chad and BENDA BILILI, a documentary about the meteoric rise of a band of street musicians from Congo. The UK is represented by Ken Loach (ROUTE IRISH), Joanna Hogg (ARCHIPELAGO), Richard Ayoade (SUBMARINE) and Lucy Walker (WASTE LAND). Amongst the many internationally renowned filmmakers included are Jan Švankmajer (SURVIVING LIFE), Takashi Miike (13 ASSASSINS) and John Sayles (AMIGO).
Amongst the finest new films from the UK are several which deal with real life subjects. In THE ARBOR, Clio Barnard explores the legacy of writer Andrea Dunbar (whose works
include Rita, Sue and Bob Too); Hannah Rothschild shadowed her subject for a crucial year in MANDELSON: THE REAL PM?; and FIRE IN BABYLON celebrates the golden age of West Indian cricket. Festival alumni Kim Longinotto focuses on India in PINK SARIS, whilst Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing makes her feature debut with SELF MADE. Both add to the strong representation of women filmmakers this year. Carol Morley offers a resonant and involving character study with EDGE; IN OUR NAME is an urgent and provocative feature depicting the issues one soldier faces when she returns from war in Iraq; and Marc Evans' striking PATAGONIA features Duffy in her first acting role.
The French cinema scene is represented by a range of filmmakers, new and established. Amongst those whose films are screening are new discoveries such as Katell Quillévéré (LOVE LIKE POISON), up and coming talents including award winning director Antony Cordier (HAPPY FEW), Guillaume Canet, who brings his second feature after Tell No One, LITTLE WHITE LIES (featuring Marion Cotillard) and the established force that is Catherine Breillat (THE SLEEPING BEAUTY). Screen icons featured in this year’s line-up include Isabelle Huppert (SPECIAL TREATMENT and COPACABANA), Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani (MAMMUTH) and Kristin Scott Thomas in Lola Doillon's IN YOUR HANDS. Isabelle Czajka returns to the festival with LIVING ON LOVE ALONE, the follow up to her debut The Year After.
Celebrating the best in new cinema from mainland Europe, highlights include MYSTERIES OF LISBON, a four and a half hour epic from Raúl Ruiz; WOMB, an unusual love story starring Eva Green and Matt Smith; MY JOY, a beautifully shot, dark parable; the surreal and hypnotic THE TEMPTATION OF ST TONY; and SILENT SOULS, an almost mystical road movie. Here, the spotlight also falls on women directors including Pernille Fischer Christensen, whose film A FAMILY picks up on a recurrent theme of families; EVEN THE RAIN, directed by Icíar Bollaín, written by long term Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, and starring Gael Garcia Bernal; DRAQUILA - ITALY TREMBLES by Sabina Guzzanti, a provocative exposé of Silvio Berlusconi; and returning filmmaker Isabelle Stever (BLESSED EVENTS). More debate is provoked in PICCO, the German film exploring the extreme violence experienced in a youth prison.
From around the globe, a diverse selection of fiction features and documentaries are presented. Amongst a host of US indies are SPORK, a wonderfully unexpected take on the high school movie; Geoff Marslett's unique animated film, MARS, an inventive slice of slacker sci-fi; COLD WEATHER, a new spin on the crime genre; and THE TAQWACORES, about Muslim punks in Upstate New York. SMASH HIS CAMERA turns the camera on one of the original paparazzi, Ron Galella. CATFISH raises unsettling issues around social media, whilst LEMMY is the definitive portrait of the legendary Motorhead singer and ultimate rock god. Another revered musical subject features in STRANGE POWERS: STEPHIN MERRITT AND THE MAGNETIC FIELDS. THE TILLMAN STORY examines the controversy surrounding the death of the NFL player turned US soldier in Afghanistan. Other highlights from the rest of the world include MICROPHONE, set in the exuberant underground music scene of the Egyptian capital; AUTUMN, about the conflict in Indian Kashmir; and LEAP YEAR, the Mexico City set feature which won director Michael Rowe the Camera D'Or at Cannes. Amongst the many strong East Asian titles are DEAR DOCTOR, the third feature from Japan's Miwa Nishikawa and Chang Tso-Chi's beautifully observed family piece, WHEN LOVE COMES.
Showcasing the best recent examples of conservation work, and provoking debate in equal measure, titles include digital restorations of Renoir’s BOUDU SAVED FROM DROWNING
and David Lean’s epic THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and the latest project from Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, Edward Yang’s A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY. Missing scenes, incorrect focus problems and technical difficulties have been overcome to bring back to the screen PANDORA’S BOX, starring the iconic Louise Brooks and Mauritz Stiller’s GUNNAR HEDES SAGA. Gritty pre-code films THE MATCH KING and THE MAYOR OF HELL with James Cagney are rediscovered, with light relief provided by screwball comedy TURNABOUT and endearing musical SUNNY SIDE UP. Life in post-war London is captured in three short films restored by the BFI in BOW BELLS AND WATERLOO SUNSETS. Other welcome new restorations include the seminal MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA and Manoel de Oliveira’s RITE OF SPRING, as well as the first feature-length gay documentary WORD IS OUT.
Highlights include feature length works by Sharon Lockhart (DOUBLE TIDE), John Akomfrah (THE NINE MUSES) and Li Hongqi, whose film WINTER VACATION won the Golden Leopard in Locarno. An important aspect of Experimenta is the weekend of artists' film and video on 23-24 October. Eight curated programmes offer the opportunity to experience a range of international work by prominent and emerging moving image artists. This year's survey includes Prolix Satori, a new series of collage animations by Lewis Klahr, making his first UK appearance, and three films by Festival regular Nathaniel Dorsky. Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry is a unique live performance piece by Daniel Barrow. There will be installations by Emily Richardson and Martin Arnold, and David Gatten will present a film shot in the Galapagos Islands at the Natural History Museum.
This year, ten programmes celebrate the short film and animation formats, appealing to a wide ranging audience. New filmmakers from the capital are represented in London Calling whilst animation from all corners of the globe are featured, including those in a delightful programme aimed at children. This section doesn't shy away from controversy with hard-edged stories including THE GOOD NORTH and BURN MY BODY. The spotlight once again focuses on women in the Pretty Girls Make Graves selection. As well as being a place for talent spotting, the section features established names including actors-turned-directors, Sir David Jason and Rupert Friend.
To complement the film screenings as ever there will be a full programme of inspiring and thought provoking events. This year's Screen Talks feature directors Darren Aronofsky and Mark Romanek. Peter Mullan and Olivier Assayas will lead Masterclasses. Other highlights include music supervisor Randall Poster’s Film School of Rock; a forum about adapting books for the screen; and a special screening of Christy Turlington Burns' directorial debut about maternal health, NO WOMAN, NO CRY presented in association with Festival has once again partnered with Time Out to bring a series of free events based around panel discussions with filmmakers. In a year noted for the wealth of films from the UK, filmmakers come together to discuss their work in British Cinema: Breaking with Convention.
Following last year's inaugural ceremony, the BFI London Film Festival Awards return for a second year to celebrate the finest films within the Festival and to recognise the achievements of filmmakers, both new and established. This year's Awards will take place on 27 October at Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke's, before a panel of judges composed of figures from across the international film community. The full Awards shortlists will be announced on 28 September.
As well as many of the names already highlighted, we expect to welcome guests including Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Hilary Swank, Natalie Portman, Helena Bonham Carter, Naomie Harris, Julian Schnabel, Lisa Cholodenko, Pablo Trapero, Gillian Wearing, Kim Longinotto, Joanna Hogg, Ferzan Ozpetek, Richard Ayoade, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Christy Turlington Burns.
54th BFI London Film Festival Press Office: +44 (0)20 7292 8330
Claire Gascoyne Account Director
Nicki Foster Head of Print Press
Becky Palmer Head of Broadcast
Sanam Jehanfard Head of Online
Simone Devlin Press Accreditation
Kate Pomerant Press Screenings Manager
Annabel Hutton: International Press
For film images please go to
Opening and Closing Night Enquiries
Freud Communications: +44 (0)20 3003 6300
Sal James/Ross Gerrie (Accreditation)
Bianca Boey (Ticket requests)
BFI Press Enquiries
Press Office +44 (0)20 7957 4833
Tickets go on sale to the public on Monday 27 September
Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 09:30-20:30
Online: (no booking or postal fee)
In Person: BFI Southbank Box Office: 11:30-20:30
BFI Members receive priority booking; join at
nb. Tickets are available to be purchased on the day
from 30 minutes prior to the screening at Festival venues.
We are delighted to welcome American Express for their first year as Principal Sponsor.
We also welcome back the UK Film Council as principal funder, in addition to Mayor of London, Film London, London Development Agency and Skillset who also re-join us as main funding contributors.
The Festival is delighted to welcome new Main Sponsor, Windows 7. Returning Main sponsor MOFILM is in its 2nd year of partnership with the Festival. We are equally proud to continue to work with American Airlines, the Festival’s long-standing official airline. The Festival is pleased to be working with Jameson Irish Whiskey who will this year be sponsoring a Gala for the first time. TV5Monde will return to sponsor the French Revolutions strand for their 6th consecutive year. New partner Discovery will sponsor the Archive Gala.
Many thanks to the Festival’s generous in-kind Sponsors: returning Official Hotel The May Fair; returning Official Festival Car Supplier Renault; returning photography sponsor Getty Images; cinema advertising partner Digital Cinema Media; returning cinema partner Vue; Official Festival beer sponsor Stella Artois 4%; and official make up brand MAC Cosmetics . Additionally, we would like to thank Soho House, Odeon, Midnite Express, Official water sponsor Icelandic Glacial, Green & Black’s Organic chocolate, The Picture Production Company, CBS Outdoor, The Hospital Club, Impact Distribution and the Curzon Cinemas for their continued support.
The Festival is proud of maintaining a great working relationship with their valued Broadcast Partner BBC London. Thanks also goes to returning Media Partners Empire, Time Out, Sight & Sound, Variety, Screen, Hollywood Reporter and LOVEFiLM for continuing to provide invaluable media support, and a big welcome to new Media Partner Evening Standard.
The Festival would also like to give a huge thanks to Christie’s Digital Projection, Newman Displays and Mubi.
Finally, the Festival would like to thank the many embassies and cultural institutes who support the Festival by helping to bring in filmmakers to present their work.
Notes to Editors
About the BFI
The BFI is the nation's cultural organisation for film, keeping the breadth of voices in moving image culture alive and known. Through its venues, festivals, film releases and online, the BFI inspires people to understand and enjoy film culture, ensuring that everyone in the UK can see the broadest range and choice of films, otherwise not provided by commercial cinema. The BFI reaches an audience of over 7.5 million in the UK every year.
The BFI London Film Festival champions creativity, originality, vision and imagination by annually showcasing the best of contemporary world cinema, documentaries, shorts, animation and experimental film. The Festival is a highly regarded and anticipated event in Europe's cultural calendar, attracting leading international filmmakers, industry professionals and the media together with large public audiences to London for a two week celebration of cinema.
Last year’s Festival hosted 193 feature films and 113 short films from 46 countries including 15 world premieres. There were 515 screenings and 553 filmmakers in attendance, drawing the highest ever audience attendance of over 130,000 filmgoers. The Festival opened with the World Premiere of FANTASTIC MR. FOX and closed with the World Premiere of NOWHERE BOY.
This year’s Festival is in the second of a three-year Lottery funding partnership with the UK Film Council.
The BFI is a public body part funded by DCMS through the UK Film Council. For every £1 it receives in grant-in-aid, the BFI raises a further £1.50 through self-generated means.
During the London Fim Festival, BFI Live - the BFI's online channel - will provide behind the scenes interviews and exclusive footage, capturing events and red carpet moments from the West End to the Southbank. Updated daily online with a range of clips to give an inside view of the Festival.
About American Express
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services
company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travellers Cheques, travel and insurance products.
American Express is a headline sponsor of the internationally recognised and respected London Film Festival, and supporter of the BFI's year-round cultural programme. The partnership builds on the company's heritage in film as founding sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival and regular supporter of the Sundance Film Festival, and supports the BFI’s own objective of making a wide choice of British and world cinema available in the UK.
The BFI is also part of American Express' Preferred Seating programme, enabling cardmembers to snap up some of the best seats at the hottest events, often before they go on sale to the general public. Cardmembers can look forward to getting closer to the stars, film-makers and films they love at London Film Festival, with priority tickets and best seats in the house at cinemas, meet-and-greets with celebrities as well as the acclaimed "Screen Epiphanies" events at the BFI.
About the UK Film Council
The UK Film Council – – is the Government's lead agency for film in the UK, supporting the UK film industry, celebrating UK film culture and nurturing UK film talent at home and abroad.
Since its creation in 2000, the UK Film Council has invested over £160m of Lottery funding into more than 900 films which have entertained over 200 million people and helped generate over £700 million at the box office worldwide, generating £5 for every £1 of Lottery money it has invested. Its support develops new filmmakers, funds ambitious new British films and gets a wider choice of films to audiences throughout the UK. It also invests in training British talent, promoting Britain as an international filmmaking location and raising the profile of British films abroad. Since 2000 the UK Film Council has funded such films as Bend it like Beckham, Bright Star, The Constant Gardener, Fish Tank, Gosford Park, Happy-Go-Lucky, In the Loop, The Last King of Scotland, Man on Wire, Nowhere Boy, Red Road, St Trinian’s, This is England, Touching the Void, Vera Drake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Streetdance 3D, the UK's first 3D film. Upcoming films backed by the UK Film Council include Mike Leigh's Another Year, Stephen Frears's Tamara Drewe, Nigel Cole's Made in Dagenham, Joe Cornish's Attack the Block, Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock, Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk about Kevin, Justin Chadwick's The First Grader, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, Peter Mullan's Neds and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights. Current UK Film Council funding initiatives include: maintaining the UK’s place as a production destination for internationally financed films, generating inward investment to the UK of £4.7bn over the past ten years; the world’s first Digital Screen Network, which has invested in 240 digital screens in cinemas across the UK, increasing film choice, bringing the 3D experience to a wider audience, and ensuring the UK has more digital cinemas than any other European country; supporting over 200 film societies and independent regional film venues; UK film festivals, including the BFI London Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival; working with Skillset, the UK skills and training industry body for the creative industries, enabling almost 7,000 people to further their filmmaking careers; giving over 20,000 young people the opportunity to get involved in filmmaking through First Light and Mediabox; bringing FILMCLUB to thousands of schools, introducing new generations of children to the best of British and international cinema. The UK box office has grown by 62% since the UK Film Council was created (in 2009 it reached record levels of £944 million), with British films accounting for 23% of all UK cinema takings over the ten years to 2009.


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