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The Industry events scheduled at London BFI

The 56th BFI London Film Festival in association with American Express today reveals an exciting and comprehensive line up of events, screenings and services for UK and international film professionals.

The Industry Programme, held at BFI Southbank and other London venues, comes hot on the heels of the early October launch of the BFI’s five year plan for supporting British film – Film Forever – and underlines the BFI’s steadfast commitment to supporting the British film industry.

Clare Stewart, the BFI’s Head of Exhibition and Festival Director of the BFI London Film Festival, comments:

The Industry Programme is central to the festival offer, providing real support for the breadth and vitality of the UK film business and tangible opportunities for international colleagues to engage with the UK in smart and inventive ways. With financing opportunities for storytellers making feature films and cutting edge cross-media projects, key services for buyers and sellers to bring exciting new films to UK audiences, training and skills support to aid career progression, and keynotes and conversations from world-leading industry figures, I’m proud to present a programme that speaks to the aspirational, strong and confident industry it is here to serve.

Harvey Weinstein comments:

I am really excited about giving the industry keynote at the London Film Festival this year.  Year after year the festival maintains such a high level of films and filmmakers, and I am really excited to see what the BFI and Clare Stewart are putting together for this year.

The BFI London Film Festival’s Industry Office, generously supported by the Mayor of London and Film London, partners and collaborates with a wide range of film industry businesses and organisations to deliver a varied programme with appeal for professionals working right across the film industry value chain.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, comments:

The BFI London Film Festival brings together international filmmakers and fans to watch an extraordinary variety of films from around the world, many of which they are unlikely to see anywhere else. One of the most exciting showcases of cinema anywhere, the festival also puts the spotlight on an important industry, which supports over 117,000 jobs and delivers billions of pounds for our economy. I am proud we are backing a rich and varied programme that also focuses on business and talent development.

Highlights of the packed programme include: a key note address, supported by Creative Skillset, from producer, Harvey Weinstein; an ‘In Conversation’ event with acclaimed British director, Roger Michell (Hyde Park on Hudson, Notting Hill); an examination of the challenges and opportunities brought by new digital platforms, their impacts on theatrical windows and what this may mean for Europe’s cinemas; a delve into the hearts and minds of British audiences and an exploration of how film culture affects the film industry; a fascinating insight into the complex process of taking a film from script to screen and through to market; and a discussion around one of the most critical issues facing the film industry today – film piracy and ways to tackle the threats it poses.

Key partners in 2012 include Power to the Pixel, Film London, Creative Skillset (Creative Industries’ Sector Skills Council), Media Desk UK, Europa Distribution, National Film &Television School, Women in Film and Television, the British Council, Directors UK, Spotlight, London Film School, Advance Films, Film Export UK, the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, The Independent Cinema Office, Variety magazine, BABYLON and the Film Distributors Association.

The BFI London Film Festival Industry Programme includes:

Keynote from Harvey Weinstein

The keynote address at this year’s Festival, supported by Creative Skillset, is from world-renowned, multi Oscar®-winning producer, Harvey Weinstein, who has to date achieved an astonishing 303 Oscar® nominations and won 75 Academy Awards. Weinstein, a Fellow of the BFI, is a tireless champion of independent filmmaking from across the world and in 2004 received a CBE in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry. He will share insights and anecdotes from his career on Thursday 11 October. 

Dan Simmons, Creative Skillset’s Head of Film, comments:

We are delighted to be able to continue our support of the LFF’s Annual Key note address. This year promises to deliver some thought provoking insights from Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers.  This will be a fantastic opportunity for our writers, producers and directors to hear from a producer who, over the last thirty years, has brought some of the most iconic and occasionally controversial films to cinemas.

Roger Michell In Conversation with Directors UK

Acclaimed British director, Roger Michell, whose latest film Hyde Park on Hudson is the Festival’s Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London, will discuss his work and career in an intimate In Conversation event on Friday 19 October.

Industry Screenings

The industry screenings, which feature 41 titles from the festival programme seeking UK distribution, are held over four days at the Curzon Soho, Monday 15 to Thursday 18 October. The screenings programme includes a number of networking events and the ever-popular Meet the Buyer session for international sales agents and UK buyers on Tuesday 16 October. This year’s screenings and attendant events will be once again overseen by the Festival’s Buyers & Sellers facilitator, Mary Davies.

Meet the BFI Film Fund

The BFI’s five year plan, Film Forever, announced in full at the beginning of October, sets out a host of exciting initiatives to support films and filmmakers across the UK. Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund, Senior Executives Lizzie Francke, Natascha Wharton, Chris Collins and Head of International, Isabel Davis will discuss the BFI’s production and development plans, what these mean and how they will work to support filmmakers in a Q&A session led by Stuart Kemp of The Hollywood Reporter on Friday 12 October.

Power to the Pixel

Back once again at the LFF is Power to the Pixel, with the 6th edition of its hugely popular Cross-Media Forum. More than 100 leading international players working in interactive media, film, television, advertising, talent agencies, publishing, state funding and cross-media will descend on the BFI Southbank from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 October to present, discover and discuss new projects and their market potential at The Conference and The Pixel Pitch.

The Conference brings together international speakers to share their knowledge and experience in developing businesses and projects in all different areas of storytelling, and features a keynote address from award-winning novelist and co-creator of cross-media story worlds around The Dark Knight and Halo franchises, Sean Stewart who is speaking for the first time in the UK on 16 October. 

The Conference is followed by The Pixel Pitch on 17 October, when eight teams selected for this year’s Pixel Market will present their new and exciting work for expert feedback from the twenty-seven entrepreneurs, commissioners and financiers who form the Pixel Pitch Jury. The day will be opened by Michel Reihac, Executive Director, ARTE France Cinéma, who will give the keynote speech, before the Jury decide which of the eight projects in competition should receive the prestigious £6,000 ARTE Pixel Pitch Prize.


Taking place at the Hospital Club from Monday 15 to Friday 19 October is Think-Shoot-Distribute, the Festival’s week-long feature-film talent development programme that will equip 25 selected people working in shorts, TV, theatre, digital media, games, arts or commercials with the skills, industry knowledge, connections, and career and project development support to make the leap from shorts and other forms of media to features. Supported by Creative Skillset, Creative England, Film London, The Hospital and Adobe, with strategic input from the BFI Film Fund.

Film London Production Finance Market

Now in its sixth year, Film London’s popular Production Finance Market (PFM), held in association with the Festival, returns on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 October. The two-day event facilitates face-to-face meetings between producers and financiers from the UK and the international marketplace in a bid to encourage and foster new financing relationships.
‘Facing Windows’ in association with the Media Desk UK and Europa Distribution.

This panel event on Wednesday 17 October will examine film release strategies in the context of radical changes to the distribution and consumption of film as a result of new digital platforms. Chaired by Screen International editor, Wendy Mitchell and featuring speakers including Jakub Duszynski (Gutek Film, Poland, Co-President of Europa Distribution), Sarah Calderon (The Film Agency, Spain), Teun Hilte (Yellow Knife, UK, Under the Milky Way), the panel will explore how day and date releases across multiple platforms may offer opportunities for some European films to reach new audiences, and also whether the windows collapse poses a threat to the whole cinema chain.

Casting Symposium: An Audience with Debbie McWilliams

Presented by Spotlight, the UK’s leading casting resource, on Thursday 18 October is this opportunity to hear one of the UK’s leading Casting Directors discuss her work and the process of casting. Debbie McWilliams has worked on some of the most successful films in recent years, including all the latest Bond movies, An American Werewolf in London, My Beautiful Launderette and Caravaggio. The session will include topics such as: finding Actors, working with Directors, how Actors can effectively promote themselves and recommendations for auditions and self-taping. The discussion will include a Q&A session.

New Horizons for UK Film Festivals?

On Friday 19 October, the Festival joins the Independent Cinema Office to present the fourth edition of the yearly Film Festivals Forum, exploring changes to the UK’s festival landscape in the wake of the announcement of the BFI’s Five Year Future Plan for supporting British film.

Understanding the Hearts and Minds of UK Audiences

On Tuesday 16 October speakers including Ben Roberts (Director, BFI Film Fund), David Kosse (President of International, Universal Pictures), Andrew MacDonald (DNA Films), Julia Wrigley (Head Film4 Channel) will discuss the findings of the recent BFI report “Opening Our Eyes” to examine the films we watch, the ways we watch them, and what this means for the UK film industry. They will be joined by the report’s co-authors, Mike Kelly and Chris Chandler of Northern Alliance, in a presentation and debate chaired by Michael Gubbins (editor, journalist, consultant and Chair of Film Agency for Wales).

Market Place Live presented by Film London, in association with Creative Skillset and Film Export UK

This unique panel event on Wednesday 10 October will shine a light on the complex process of taking a film from concept to exhibition, helping to demystify the film value chain and the various roles and responsibilities of those within it. Panellists include Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice), (Paul Brett (Prescience – The King’s Speech), Julia Short (The Works – Wild Bill), Chris Moll (Creative England)  and Samantha Horley (The Salt Company – Killing Bono).

Moments Worth Paying For? Tackling UK Film Piracy: A Content Protection Workshop

The Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) and the Industry Trust, the consumer education body for the UK film, TV and video industry, will host an event on Thursday 11 October about tackling UK film piracy. The FDA will give a practical presentation on how to prepare an effective content protection plan, which will be followed by a presentation from the Industry Trust on how the industry is engaging with consumers to raise awareness of the wealth of services available to help audiences watch film, TV and video content via official services. The discussion will include a Q&A session with senior industry figures.

Women in Film & Television Master Class with Luke Randolph

Luke Randolph, the MD of International Film Guarantors and a leading expert in film financing, will share insights and anecdotes from with Alison Small, CEO of The Production Guild and the Chair of Women in Film & Television on Thursday 11 October.

Climbing Inside the Story: The Adventures of a Script Editor

What does a script editor actually do? According to Kate Leys, they climb inside your story, figure out what’s working and what’s not, and untangle it. Kate, one of the industry’s most experienced feature film script editors, will be joined by Briony Hanson, Head of Film at the British Council, to discuss what a script editor does, when to get them involved in a project, what the experience will be like, and how they can take your story from good to great. The event is supported by Woman in Film and Television and takes place on Thursday 11 October.

Meet the Experts

The Festival welcomes the return of this popular annual Industry event in which filmmakers have individual 30 minute session to discuss and road test their new projects with a panel of industry veterans including David Wilkinson (Guerilla Films/Chair, Distrify), Michael Ryan (GFM Films) and Maggie Ellis (Film London).

Script Development and Managing Creativity

The development of a film screenplay is a complex collaborative process, beginning with an initial story and continuing through drafting and financing to the start of the shoot. But what are the best ways of managing this process? What are the tensions between creativity and big business? How do we protect and support creativity and risk-taking? How do we develop new talent? And how do we avoid development hell?

Presented by The London Film Festival and Creative Skillset and chaired by eminent film academic and consultant, Peter Bloore, this event on Thursday 18 October brings together the latest research and a panel of experts (including key UK development funders, commissioners, and development executives) to show how producers and writers nurture their stories through the long development process; and discuss what really happens when a script is written.

Babylon Breakthrough: Inspiration and Inclusion in Tough Times

European film development programme Babylon, now in its sixth year, supports a range of films and filmmakers, including Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil, and has again recruited promising new talent alongside gifted veterans from the widest cultural backgrounds, all with stories to tell. New voices deserve new audiences but is anyone listening? Is inclusion really working? Is low-budget filmmaking an answer in recession-bound Britain? This year’s Babylonians pitch their inspired projects and discuss their production prospects with the industry and a participating public on Sunday 21 October.


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