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Established 1995 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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MEET YOUR EDITOR Bruno Chatelin - Check some of his interviews. Board Member of many filmfestivals and regular partner of a few key film events such as Cannes Market, AFM, Venice Production Bridge, Tallinn Industry and Festival...Check our recent partners.  

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Lurking in London

It may not be easy to take the temperature at any international film festival but when the event is held in London it should be de rigueur, as weather is such a British obsession. Although it has been the balmiest October since 1649, or whenever records began, with 21 degrees C enjoyed in the capital when The Times BFI 50th London Film Festival lengthily opened its doors (I did not attend the Inauguration on the 18th as I was too late in requesting a ticket; I live in hope of an entree to the cloture on 2nd November) and over the weekend, now the rains have fallen in a more typically English way and that may assist ticket sales at its 14 venues dotted across the city. It does not encourage eurostarlets to disport themselves au bord de la Thames, nor does it raise the spirits of the press photographers marshalled to chronicle the arrivals on the soggy red carpet which greets audiences as they exit the duplex Odeon, the higher-profile but distinctly unfestive locale on the south side of Leicester Square in London's soi-disant "glamorous" West End.

London's festival has mushroomed since it was started as a showcase for 16 foreign masterpieces, back in 1957, largely at the instigation of the beloved -much missed and certainly never replaced- film critic of The Sunday Times,Dilys Powell.Now over 300 films, good, bad and experimental, sprawl across a fin de saison celluloid cornucopia that while still technically non-competitive nevertheless incorporates a FIPRESCI Jury (judging a dozen selected features) and aggregates other trophies for documentary, for emerging UK talent, for a debuting director echoing the artistry of Satyajit Ray,as well as the British Film Institute's own Douglas Sutherland award for originality. The film channel TCM also sponsor a prize for shorts. An award bears the name of Alfred Dunhill, yet nothing seems to commemorate dear Dilys,without whom none of them would be here these wet and windy days.

There is however a sort of connection as major sponsor of the event is The Times newspaper, daily brother to Dilys's weekly. Piles of copies of the paper lurk in dispensers in every foyer and audiences attempting to exit are confronted by teams of girls trying to give away free copies...but as these never include any of the supplements, notably, the arts and film insert pages, this seems somewhat churlishly charitable. Nor is there any bunting or other festive decoration vislble outside or inside the cinemas,and dancing is not encouraged in the foyers after premieres.

The London Film Festival still lacks a heart, since in its understandable search for larger,less specialised audiences,it has spread from the National Film Theatre on the South Bank to commercial cinemas in the West End and suburbs and there is still no single central rendezvous point, crucially for professional visitors, sadly for paying punters who might be able to quiz cineastes in the informal surrounds of a semi-public bar or cafe.

In the Delegate Centre, far across the Thames and deep within the NFT itself,there is always tea in daylight hours(though no daylight streams into what I suspect was a part of the long-defunct Museum of the Moving Image)- and tea is another obsession of the British(The 2005 Bradford Film Festival when posting its brochure to lucky press actually enclosed a teabag in the envelope).Often there seem to be more staff(cheery efficient ex-colonials,many of them,others hard-working staff from the PR company,Premier,who took over press duties much to the delight of the UK Critics' Circle) in the Delegate Centre than delegates,even though a refrigerator in one corner is regularly restocked with bottles of a sponsoring Belgian beer.

Press of course are far away across the river at a morning matinee in the Odeon.A bigger buzz seems to be at the Industry Screenings, for buyers and sellers,which for 4 days this week usefully fill the Curzon arthouse miniplex in Soho.Perhaps because at the welcome desk there, a bottle of typically British gin beckons....?



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