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BFI London Film Festival programme announced

CINEMATIC CELEBRATION: Clockwise, from left, Muhammad Ali visits the north east in 1977, a still from 'No East or West' (1954), 'Riots and Rumours of Riots' (1981) addressed racial tensions in the 1980s and Tessa Sanderson on screen (1977)

THE 61ST BFI London Film Festival has announced its full programme, featuring a diverse selection of 242 feature films from both established and emerging talent.

Set to revisit the BFI’s landmark Black Star season which celebrated the range, versatility and power of black actors in film, as part of their 12-day celebration of cinema, the festival will illustrate the richness of international filmmaking, with films to delight and entertain audiences, and also films that probe and interrogate issues of significance.

The festival, in partnership with American Express, is the UK’s leading and most prestigious film festival, representing one of the first opportunities for audiences – both the UK public and film industry professionals – to see the very best new films from across the globe, alongside an events programme with some of the world’s most inspiring creative talents.

This year, the festival, which takes place from October 4-15, will host 28 world premieres, nine international premieres and 34 European premieres and will welcome a stellar line-up of cast and crew for many of the films. The 242 feature programmes screening at the festival include: 46 documentaries, six animations, 14 archive restorations and 16 artists' moving image features. The programme also includes 128 short films and 67 countries are represented across short film and features.


Each evening of the festival sees a headline gala presentation at Odeon Leicester Square.

Audiences have the opportunity to hear some of the world's creative leaders through the festival's acclaimed talks series LFF Connects, which features artists working at the intersection of film and other creative industries and screen talks - a series of in-depth interviews with leaders in contemporary cinema. Participants this year include Nitin Sawhney, Julian Rosefeldt, Cate Blanchett, David Fincher, Demis Hassabis, Johan Knattrup Jensen, Ian McEwan and Takashi Miike.

As one of the few film festivals in the world to be staged in a production capital, the festival takes its place as a jewel in the crown of London’s cultural calendar, channelling the excellence of one of the world’s most vibrant cultural cities, and highlighting the enormous wealth of talent working in film today, both behind and in front of the camera.

Alongside the industry programme and awards, the festival proudly acts as a launchpad for new, as well as established voices, and supports filmmakers throughout their career aiming to interrogate how film and filmmaking reflects – and reflects on – our society.

The BFI London Film Festival each year provides a vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas, with films stimulating debate and shining a light on pressing social and political issues.

This year a number of ‘talking points’ will ripple through the festival programme, including:


In the year of the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, the festival presents a powerful LGBT line-up.


Two of the defining themes of our times are explored by filmmakers who are committed to telling powerful and complex stories about borders – both real and psychological.


Following the BFI’s landmark season celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors in film, recent world events give new urgency to questions of opportunity and basic human rights.


Cinema remains one of the most exhilaratingly kinetic and visually potent storytelling forms, and many filmmakers this year impress with the singularity and power of their vision, with keen imagination and dazzling style.


It’s a very strong year for global thrill-seekers at the festival, with a particularly strong showing from east Asia, which comes as the BFI embarks on the UK-wide season BFI Thriller, exploring how the genre reflects societal upheavals, fears and anxieties.


The festival continues to shine a light on strong women behind and in front of the camera. At this year’s festival, 61 women directors are represented in the feature film selection – approximately 25 per cent of the programme.


Both feature with marked prominence in this year’s festival programme, though the film industry still has a long way to go in terms of representation for disabled people. The festival’s industry programme will include a partnership event on equality of opportunity and expression for deaf and disabled people working in film and television.

For more information on the BFI's 61st London Film Festival, click here.

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