The 64th BFI London Film Festival (LFF) in partnership with American Express has announced its full 2020 programme, which will be delivered both in-cinema and virtually. Over 12 days from 7 to 18 October, the festival will present over 50 virtual premieres and a selection of highly anticipated new feature film previews at BFI Southbank as well as in cinemas across the UK, offering audiences a unique chance to engage with the festival in different ways.
The programme includes work from more than 40 countries, encompassing fiction, documentary, animation, artists’ moving image, short film, and restored classics from the world’s archives.
The opening and closing films have already been announced, with Steve McQueen’s Mangrove being the former and Francis Lee’s (God’s Own Country) Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan-starring sophomore effort Ammonite being the latter.
Highlights from across the festival include the world debut of Pixar’s highly anticipated Soul, Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth teaming up in Harry Macqueen’s introspective road movie Supernova, Frances McDormand following up her Oscars success with a starring role in Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, and the latest Spike Lee joint in American Utopia.
As in previous years, the feature film programme is organised by strand to encourage discovery and to open up the festival to new audiences. These are: Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Cult, Journey, Create, Experimenta, Family and Treasures. Every screening will be presented with an intro or Q&A from filmmakers and programmers. All films are geo-blocked to the UK while all the festival talks and LFF Expanded are available to experience for free from anywhere in the world.
In a LFF first, this year the festival awards are in the hands of the audience, who will take the place of the festival’s official jury. Viewers engaging with the festival online will be invited to vote on Virtual LFF Audience Awards in 4 categories: Best Fiction Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, and Best XR. The winners will be announced in a live online ceremony on the final weekend of the festival.
“Although it’s been born out of crisis, this year’s edition of the LFF will be our most accessible yet,” says Ben Roberts, CEO, BFI. “Thanks to the many talented and dedicated teams across the BFI, and the encouragement of our partners and industry colleagues – we have shaped a festival that suggests a future for bringing filmmakers and film lovers together.”
“This has been such a period of uncertainty and change across the industry,” says Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, “and when we embarked on a radical new plan for our 2020 edition, we stepped into unknown territory. But we’ve been so encouraged by the adventurousness of filmmakers and rights holders, the unwavering support of our collaborators and the spirit of unity and experimentation. And I feel like we have accelerated so many of our longer term plans in just a few months – especially our desire to offer audiences across the UK greater access to the LFF.
“We all want to be back in cinemas, seeing films on the big screen, together, immersed. But we also want to keep seeing new cinematic storytelling from all parts of the world, hearing different voices and perspectives; this version of LFF delivers on both of those aims. I could not be prouder to work with so many amazing professionals, artists and creative businesses to make these absolutely cracking new films, series, talks and XR programmes available to audiences. ”
Check out the full LFF programme here.