On the morning of September 1st 2015, the British Film Institute announced the full line up for this year’s BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express.
Spread over 12 days and 16 venues across the English capital, the BFI London Film Festival is the UK’s biggest film festival, as well as one of the longest-running film festivals in the world, and this year’s line up doesn’t disappoint.
The programme was presented by festival director Clair Stewart and comprises of: 241 feature films, from 57 countries, including fiction and documentary films, and 182 live action and animated shorts, various competitions including ‘First Feature’ and ‘Documentary Competition’, along with the ‘Official Competition’, and a whole host of interviews, talks, and Q&A sessions from leading British and international filmmakers, as well as cast and crew members.
Amongst the 423 films scheduled are: 16 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 40 European Premieres and 11 Archive films, 5 of which are Restoration World Premieres.
The opening and closing night films had already been announced earlier in the summer, with two hugely anticipated films filling the slot. Suffragette from BAFTA nominated director Sarah Gaveon will open the festival on October 7th with its European Premier at the Odeon Leicester Square, while Danny Boyle’s latest offering Steve Jobs will close the event on October 18th.
While the festival is bookended by two biopics telling tales of some of the most important and influential people of the 20th Century, the spectacles in-between cover a wide range of stories, styles and languages. Films that are touching, thought provoking and tackling numerous issues surrounding modern day living, as well as pictures that are upfront, in your face and boundary pushing.
The out-of-competition films are divided into 9 ‘strand programmes’, all centred around their own theme and headlined with their own gala: Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic, Family and Experimental. The strand approach is designed to help try and open the festival up to new audiences, making it easier for newcomers to negotiate the programme and find films to suit their tastes, as well as helping viewers to explore new genres and find new emerging talents.
The 48 films entered for competition are divided into four competitions: the ‘Official Competition’ which recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, and to which the winner is awarded the ‘Best Film Award’; the ‘First Feature Competition’ is exactly what it says on the tin, a competition recognising new and emerging filmmakers and their directorial debuts – the ‘Sutherland Award’ is presented to the winner of this competition; The ‘Documentary Competition’ presents the ‘Grierson Award’ to the best of a selection of films with integrity, originality, and cultural and-or social significance. 2015 also sees the inaugural year of the ‘Short Film Award’, with 12 short films having been chosen for their unique approach and a confident treatment of their theme and story.
The ‘Treasures’ section of the festival features 19 classic films from cinema’s archives; some have been digitally restored, some revived from their boxes to be introduced to a new generation of cinema goers. The ‘Treasures’ programme includes: Black Girl (Ousmane Sembène, 1966) restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Old Czech Legends (Jiří Trnka, 1952) which is a digitally restored version of Trnka’s puppet feature telling fables of people from the Czech Republic’s past restored from its original nitrate negative in Prague by the National Film Archive, and Luchino Visconti’s 1960 masterpiece Rocco and His Brothers(Rocco e i suoi fratelli), restored by Cineteca di Bologia.
Further details including the full programme and information on tickets can be found on the BFI’s website (x)