The programme for the 57th BFI London Film Festival was recently announced, with the BFI’s Head of Cinemas and Festivals, Clare Stewart, returning for her second year with a rich and diverse group of international films and events from established and upcoming talent over a 12-day celebration of cinema.
The Festival will screen 234 fiction and documentary features, including 22 World Premieres, 16 International Premieres, 29 European Premieres, and 20 Archive films. There will also be screenings of 134 live-action and animated shorts. A stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, master classes, and other special events. The 57th BFI London Film Festival will run from 9-20 October 2013.
The Festival’s screenings are at venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leicester Square and a new addition this year the Cineworld Haymarket; to central London venues – BFI Southbank; the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, and Ciné Lumière; to local cinemas – Ritzy Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse, Renoir, Everyman Screen on the Green, and Rich Mix. Additional screenings and events will take place at the Curzon Chelsea, BFI London IMAX and Village Underground.
OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT GALAS
The Festival opens with the European Premiere of Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, a high-stakes thriller based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates, with Tom Hanks playing the eponymous lead role. The European premiere of Walt Disney Pictures’ Saving Mr. Banks will close the festival, about the untold story of how Mary Poppins was brought to the big screen. The film stars Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, and Hanks (again) as Walt Disney. Continuing the initiative from last year, the Closing Night red carpet event and screening will be screened simultaneously to cinemas across the UK.
Among the other highly anticipated Galas are the previously announced American Express Gala of Stephen Frears’ Philomena, the true story of one woman’s search for her lost son, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. After storming the Toronto International Film Festival, the European premiere of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt, seems sure to continue its prestige-ploughing journey. The American Airlines Gala is Alfonso Cuarón’s 3D sci-fi thriller Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London is the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake, and set in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s. The film took home the Grand Prix at Cannes earlier in the year. The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European premiere of Jason Reitman’s literary adaptation Labor Day, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The Festival Gala is the European premiere of Ralph Fiennes’ second directorial feature The Invisible Woman, starring Fiennes as Charles Dickens, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Tom Hollander.
The nine programme strands are each headlined with a gala, which are as follows: the Love Gala, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Colour; the Debate Gala, Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves; the Dare Gala, Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake; the Laugh Gala, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon; the Thrill Gala, Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road; the Cult Gala, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive; the Journey Gala, Alexander Payne’s road-trip Nebraska; the Sonic Gala, Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best!; and the Family Gala, Juan José Campanella’s Foosball 3D. In addition to these, the previously announced Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of The Epic of Everest.
With a glittering array of talent programmed to grace the red carpet, confirmed appearances are scheduled by Greengrass, Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barry Ackroyd, John Lee Hancock, Thompson, Alison Owen, Stephen Frears, Dench, Coogan, McQueen, Eijofor, Cuaron, David Heyman, Bullock, the Coens, Mulligan, Isaac, Ralph Fiennes, Abdellatif Kechiche, Lea Seydoux, Adele Excharchopoulos, Alain Guiraudie, Gordon-Levitt, Payne, and Moodysson.
Additional talent attending for films in competition include Catherine Breillat, Isabelle Huppert, Richard Ayoade, Yasmin Paige, Craig Roberts, Noah Taylor, Pawel Pawlikowski, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Ahmad Abdalla, Clio Barnard, David Mackenzie, Jonathan Glazer, Jim Wilson, Jessica Oreck, Frederick Wiseman, Zachary Heinzerling, Mark Cousins, Nicolas Philibert, Greg Barker, Matt Wolf, Daniel Radcliffe, Michalis Konstantatos, Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza, Rob Brown, and Vivian Qu.
The Festival will announce its complete guest line-up in early October.
— John McEntee