After a Royal summer filled with sporting achievement, London is now gearing up for another worldly occupation, this time in a celebration of cinema for the 56th BFI London Film Festival.
Launching today (and ending on 21 October), the festival will screen a total of 225 fiction and documentary features, including 12 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres and 35 European Premieres as well as screenings of 111 live action and animated shorts.
With so may screenings and events to cram into 12 days it’s no surprise that Clare Stewart (BFI’s new Head of Exhibition and Festival Director) has expanded the festival from its traditional Leicester Square cinemas – Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leicester Square and Empire – and the BFI Southbank to include four additional new venues across the capital.
As an East End girl I’m excited to see Hackney Picturehouse, Everyman Screen on the Green, Rich Mix and the Renoir join the bevvy of independently minded London venues ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Ritzy Brixton and Ciné Lumière in hosting some fantastic features, in what promises to be a true celluloid takeover of The Big Smoke.
But interestingly enough, one kooky Hollywood couple will be looking to score a double hit with their respective films, that just so happen to be opening and closing this year’s festivities.
The European Premiere of Tim Burton’s 3D animation Frankenweenie will launch London Film Festival, whilst Helena Bonham Carter stars in Mike Newell’s adaptation of Great Expectations that will close.
This year’s entries will be divided into categories clustered around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family.
But the films I’m most looking forward to seeing are Ben Affleck’s Argo, Mt Whitecross’ Spike Island, Celeste and Jesse Forever starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, Zaytoun, Wasteland, End of Watch and… well I could go on forever!
Over the next few weeks I’m going to try my best to see as many of these films as possible and hopefully bump into one or two of the many stars and filmmakers gracing the London Film Festival with their presence.
And with this long list of guests expected to attend:
Alex Gibney, Alice Englert, Alice Lowe, Allison Abbate, Barnaby Southcombe, Ben Affleck, Ben Wheatley, Benh Zeitlin, Benjamin Renner, Billy Connolly, Brandon Cronenberg, Cate Shortland, Catherine O’Hara, Charlie Paul, Charlie Watts, Charlotte Rampling, Chris O’Dowd, Cristian Mungiu, David Walliams, David Nicholls, David Wasco, Deepa Mehta, Dustin Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Elle Fanning, François Ozon, Gabriel Byrne, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Neil, Jacques Audiard, Jake Schreier, Jeremy Irvine, Julian Roman Pölsler, Keith Richards, Liz Garbus, Marion Cotillard, Martin McDonagh, Martina Gedeck, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Matthias Schoenaerts, Melvil Poupaud, Michael Haneke, Michael Palin, Mick Jagger, Mike Newell, Nick Murphy, Paolo Taviani, Pablo Larraín, Paul Andrew Williams, Pauline Collins, Quvenzhanée Wallis, Ronnie Wood, Rufus Norris, Sally EI Hosaini, Sally Potter, Salman Rushdie, Rodney Ascher, Sandy Reynolds Wasco, Saskia Rosendahl, Slavoj ?i?ek, Sophie Fiennes, Steve Oram, Suzanne Cléement,Tamzin Outhwaite,Terry Jones, Thomas Bidegain, Tim Burton, Tom Courtenay, Winona Ryder.
I think my chances are looking pretty good.
FESTIVAL INFORMATION AND TICKET BOOKING
Tickets are on sale to the public now
Telephone Bookings: 0207 928 3232 between 09.30 – 20.30
Online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff (no booking or postal fee)
In person: BFI Southbank Office: 11.30 – 20.30
BFI Members receive priority booking : join at www.bfi.org.uk/join
nb. Tickets are available to be purchased on the day about 30 minutes prior to the screening at Festival venues