2021 BFI London Film Festival round-up

    Author Zoe Aresti

The BFI London Film Festival has come and gone for another year, showcasing some of the most highly anticipated upcoming cinema releases across the country. Across 10 days, audiences were delighted as stars and directors introduced films, many of which are hoping to be awards contenders next year. And with a broad selection of films, from romance to family, thrillers to drama – there really is something for everyone.

DCM’s Group M Agency Manager, Korrine Eshun, has written up some of her highlights from this year’s Festival.

To find out more or discuss any opportunities for any of these films, speak to your DCM rep today.

Last Night In Soho

  • Release date: 29 October 2021
  • Target audience: 18-34 Men
  • DCM admissions: 700k

I often think of myself as having been born in the wrong decade and despite its horror tendencies, Last Night In Soho just confirmed my theory that I wish I could’ve been around to enjoy the swinging sixties! A love story to London, Edgar Wright’s shift away from his usual comedic movies tells the story of a young aspiring fashion designer whose ability to see spirits heightens when she moves to London and finds herself embodying 60s wannabe starlet, Sandy.

 Thomasin McKenzie is quickly proving that she is one of the most promising up and coming stars of Hollywood and along with Anya Taylor-Joy whose seductive turn as Sandy is truly captivating, the two provide extremely compelling leads. The Supporting cast (including some sharp humour from newcomer, Michael Ajao) adds to the nostalgic feel of the film with Terence Stamp and the late Diana Rigg offering further legitimacy to the 60s theme.

It’s clear to see that this is a real passion project for Edgar Wright and his love for London, the sixties and cinema drives what will be one of the most ingenious horror films to receive a Halloween release for a long time.


  • Release date: 5 November 2021
  • Target audience: ABC1Women
  • DCM admissions: 351k

When Kristen Stewart was announced as the actress chosen to play Princess Diana in a biopic, chronicling the final Christmas she spent married into the Royal Family before her divorce, there a few eyebrows raised. But following a premiere at Cannes and a further screening at the London Film Festival, Stewart has cemented herself as the one to beat at next years OSCARs. The film focuses on the struggles the late Princess had with both her eating and mental health and how despite everything going on around her, her love for her two sons was a guiding light.

Along with an A-list performance from Stewart, the films deliver some of the most beautiful cinematography and scores of any film seen this year. The backdrop to the difficult story is stunning and even further attention should be placed on the incredible outfits she wears throughout which have been recreated to meticulous detail. This is sure to be a major contender across next year’s Awards Season.

King Richard

  • Release date: 19 November 2021
  • Target audience: ABC1Women
  • DCM admissions: 585k

Over the years Will Smith has secured himself as one of the best loved and most reliable actors working in Hollywood, and if the critics have it their way, then next year he will be rewarded for his hard work with a Best Actor statuette for his portrayal as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena.

Blending stories of families, hard work and racial disparity – the film tells the story of the incredible dedication Richard and his wife Oracene had towards their children that turned them all into highly successful individuals despite all the odds being stacked against them. The film can leave you crying one moment and laughing out loud the next, and the supporting cast just strengthen the film. Aunjanue Ellis and Jon Bernthal could similarly be receiving awards attention next year, whilst newcomer Saniyya Sidney is surely one to watch out for in the future as this is just the start of a long career for her.

C’Mon, C’Mon

  • Release date: 3 December 2021
  • Target audience: ABC1Adults
  • DCM admissions: 61k

Every year, one of the most sought-after tickets and most anticipated films is the ‘Surprise Film’. Audiences buy tickets not knowing what film will be screened yet are assured they will be in for a treat (previous films have included Oscar best picture winners, Green Book and Birdman). And this year’s didn’t disappoint as audiences were treated to the beautiful and emotional, C’Mon, C’Mon. 2019’s Best Actor winner, Joaquin Phoenix is sure to get another nomination under his belt as he stars as a grieving man struggling to balance his ongoing journalism project looking into how children see their lives impacted by the future and his sudden custody of his challenging young nephew.

The films beautiful black and white aesthetic provides the perfect background to two astounding performances (Woody Normal who plays the young Jesse is sure to be a star of the future) that leads audiences on an emotional rollercoaster. The film is a love story to the power of family and the strength and compassion that forms blended families that is often missing from cinema and will be a hit across independent cinemas this November.


  • Release date: 25 February 2022
  • Target audience: ABC1Adults
  • DCM admissions: 862k

Heading into the festival having won the prestigious People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival (an almost sure bet to receiving a nomination for Best Picture at the OSCARs) and currently sitting comfortably as the favourite to pick up the Best Picture awards across next year’s awards season, it was lovely to see Sir Kenneth Branagh finally sharing his semi-autobiographical passion project in the UK. Set during the troubles of Northern Ireland, Belfast tells the story of a family struggling to maintain friendships and livelihoods during Belfast’s most turbulent time – all told through the eyes of the youngest son of the family, Buddy.

The film is a celebration of what made Branagh into the filmmaker he is today as the black and white colouring breaks into colour as the films characters visit cinemas and theatres – a great metaphor for the meaning, light and purpose film and theatre can bring a person going through some of their darkest moments. This film is sure to delight and be one of the biggest successes at the UKBO next year amongst the awards contenders.

The Phantom of the Open

  • Release date: 15 April 2022
  • Target audience: ABC1Men
  • DCM admissions: 590k

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises at this year’s festival was the pure warmth and charm Phantom of the Open left audiences feeling as they exited the screenings. There are many great under-dog sporting stories that have been converted into classic, loved films and the story of Maurice Flitcroft, a down on his luck crane driver who decided to ‘follow his passion’ by entering the British Open despite having never played a round in his life feels set to take its place amongst them.

The film is filled with wonderful performances from lead Mark Rylance to Sally Hawkins, who plays his patient and devoted wife and Rhys Ifans who offers a great comedic turn as the competitions chair who is determined to get him banned. Director Craig Roberts delivers one of the most colourful films of the year, that despite it’s at times psychedelic approach, never steers far from that inherently British feel audiences always seem to lap up.

Find out more about all upcoming films at www.dcm.co.uk/films.