The BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® showcases a rich and diverse programme of international films and events from both established and upcoming talent over a 12 day celebration of cinema. 2017 sees the 61st anniversary edition which will take place at venues across the UK capital from the 4th to 15th October. Due to our unique relationships with the film industry and sponsors we can offer unrivaled access to 248 films over 17 London venues, plus special events and after-parties. The 2017 schedule has yet to be confirmed however the 2016 schedule can be seen below:
Our members can enjoy complimentary tickets to the leading headline galas during the festival – invitations will be sent on the dedicated members’ line..
5th October 19:00 Odeon Leicester Square
The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® is delighted to announce that this year’s Opening Night gala will be Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom.
It’s the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday 5 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, attended by cast and filmmakers with Asante, David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike expected on the red carpet. There will be a live cinecast from the London event and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.
BFI London Film Festival Director Clare Stewart says:
“Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker.”
06 October- 19:15 Odeon Leicester Square
Shooting from the spectacular heights of fantasy, straight to the beating heart of reality, A Monster Calls is a genuinely moving film of great wonder and beauty, directed by JA Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage) and based on the hugely popular book by Patrick Ness. 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall is extraordinary) is bullied by his classmates because he sees the world differently. His mother (Felicity Jones), with whom he has a very special bond, is suffering from a terminal illness. His bossy grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) has become increasingly controlling. And his unreliable father (Toby Kebbell) is perpetually absent. Suddenly, a wizened and mysterious yew tree materialises to provide Conor with some much-needed guidance (Liam Neeson’s voice is the perfect combination of melodic and imposing).
Dir JA Bayona
Prod Belén Atienza
Scr Patrick Ness
With Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell and the voice of Liam Neeson
07 October- 18:00 Odeon Leicester Square
Damien Chazelle’s bitter-sweet love letter to the city of Los Angeles, the golden era of Hollywood musicals and the visual flair of French maestro Jacques Demy, is beyond glorious. It’s a perfect confection with medicinal properties! Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress, barely holding down a day job on a studio lot while juggling auditions for second-rate parts. Sebastian (Gosling) is a pianist who struggles to keep his job at a family restaurant where he plays freewheeling jazz instead of stale, cheesy favourites.
Dir-Scr Damien Chazelle
Prod Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Gary Gilbert, Marc Platt
With Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, JK Simmons
08 October- 18:00 Odeon Leicester Square
The European Premiere of MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is another Headline Gala, seeing Kenneth Lonergan return to the LFF with his third feature as director. The film starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges is a visually eloquent and emotionally devastating exploration of grief and redemption.
Dir-Scr Kenneth Lonergan
Prod Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck, Kevin J. Walsh
With Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges
09 October- 18:30 Odeon Leicester Square
Directed with vision and heart by Mira Nair, who returns to LFF for the seventh time, Queen of Katwe is based on the inspirational true story of young Ugandan chess champion, Phiona Mutesi (captivating newcomer Madina Nalwanga). The 10-year-old lives with her family in an impoverished township in Kampala, Uganda. Her mother Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o) scrapes together a meagre livelihood selling maize and vegetables in the street. Phiona’s curiosity is piqued when she discovers a chess club run by football-player turned missionary, Robert Katende (David Oyelowo).
Despite being unable to read or write, Phiona has a natural aptitude for strategic thinking and risk-taking, and she rapidly develops her skill for the game. With Katende’s guidance, her confidence and ambition grow, and soon she is advancing through the ranks in local competitions.
Dir Mira Nair
Prod Lydia Dean Pilcher
Scr William Wheeler
With David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga
10 October- 19:15 Odeon Leicester Square
Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) versatile and prolific creative streak continues with Arrival, an emotionally arresting, visually inventive science fiction based on the award-winning Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Professor of linguistics Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is enlisted by the US government to decipher the language of extra-terrestrials who initiated first contact. She is accompanied by scientist Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) on a mission to determine the purpose of their mysterious visitation.
Dir Denis Villeneuve
Prod Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder, David Linde
Scr Eric Heisserer
With Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg
11 October- 19:15 Odeon Leicester Square
Which won the Sundance Jury and Audience Awards, receives its European Premiere as a Headline Gala. This tour de force, directed by Nate Parker, is a grueling account of the life of an enslaved African-American who led a slave revolt in Virginia in 1831, and stars Parker himself alongside Armie Hammer, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King and Gabrielle Union.
Damien Chazelle returns to the Festival following the gala presentation of the award winning Whiplash (LFF2014), with LA LA LAND, the hotly anticipated bittersweet love letter to the city of Los Angeles, combining the charm of golden era of Hollywood musicals with the visual flair of French maestro Jacques Demy, and starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend and Academy Award® and BAFTA winner JK Simmons.
Dir-Scr Nate Parker
Prod Nate Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L Gilbert, Preston L Holmes
With Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King, Gabrielle Union
12 October 19:15 Odeon Leicester Square
We are delighted to welcome Royal Bank of Canada to the LFF family, who will present Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL as their gala. This emotionally arresting, visually inventive science fiction movie, based on the award-winning Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlberg.
Dir Garth Davis
Prod Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Angie Fielder
Scr Luke Davies
With Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar
13 October- 19:15 Odeon Leicester Square
Danish director Lone Scherfig’s (The Riot Club, An Education, LFF2009) fascination with British manners continues to find new register in this delectable comedic drama, her fifth film set in the UK. Gemma Arterton is positively luminous as Catrin, a young Welsh copy-writer enticed to London by her husband (Jack Huston), a self-obsessed and wayward artist with little interest in her emotional needs or ambitions. She soon lands a job as a script editor with the Ministry of Information, hired to provide a ‘woman’s touch’ to propaganda films being made during the Blitz. Thrown into the colourful and surprisingly active world of filmmaking in London in the 1940s, her confidence grows and new interests and desires soon ignite.
Dir Lone Scherfig
Prod Stephen Woolley, Amanda Posey
Scr Gaby Chiappe
With Gemma Arterton, Sam Caflin, Bill Nighy
14 October- 18:00 Odeon Leicester Square
Tom Ford returns with a dark, sophisticated adaptation of Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan. With a stellar cast including Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher and Armie Hammer, the film reunites many of the creative team behind A Single Man (LFF2009).
Dir-Scr Tom Ford
Prod Tom Ford, Robert Salerno
With Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer
15 October- 18:00 Odeon Leicester Square
Oliver Stone is an agile and compulsive hacker of official histories, a director who digs deep under the surface of what we are told and asks the big questions about why we are told it. The truth, how it gets framed and who frames it are central preoccupations in his films. So his interest in Edward Snowden – ‘soldier, fugitive, patriot, spy, hacker, traitor, hero’ – is both logical and compelling. Rippling with paranoia, Snowden is a super-charged political thriller opening with the titular subject (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a hotel room in Hong Kong, preparing to blow the whistle on covert surveillance programmes run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.
His collaborators are documentarian Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo playing the director of Citizenfour, LFF2014), activist journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Pinto) and later, The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson). In parallel, the film charts Snowden’s rise as an intelligence operative and the development of his romantic relationship with Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley), with the tension anchored by a single line of enquiry ‘why?’. This probing instalment in Stone’s ongoing interrogation of systems of power concludes with a particularly prescient answer to its central question – one that casts a dark shadow over the current US presidential race – delivered by Snowden himself.
Dir Oliver Stone
Prod Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff, Philip Schulz-Deyle
Scr Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone
With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood
16 October- 19:00 Odeon Leicester Square
Ben Wheatley’s ascent as one of the UK’s most dazzling and prolific cinematic talents continues with this ballsy, high-octane action thriller filmed hot-on-the-heels of last year’s Festival Gala, High-Rise. Sharp-witted Justine (Brie Larson) brokers a deal on behalf of two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley), setting them up to buy a stash of guns from seedy gangsters Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer).
Notionally set in Boston and steeped in 1970s Americana (with threads and hairdos to die for… literally), the crackling script and knockout cast have as much fun with character and dialogue as we do with the fact that there are no mobile phones to save the day. Wheatley fan and supporter Martin Scorsese is one of the executive producers and the film’s intermittent, pulsating score is by Geoff Barrow (Portishead) and Ben Salisbury. We are thrilled to be presenting the European Premiere of Free Fire as our Closing Night Gala, ensuring that the 60th edition of the BFI London Film Festival goes out with a bang!
Dir-Scr Ben Wheatley
Prod Andrew Starke
Scr Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
With Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor
Key filmmaking talent that were due to attend the Festival’s gala and special presentation screenings include: Galas and Special Presentations: Amma Asante, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Laura Carmichael, Jack Davenport, Ben Wheatley, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Nate Parker, Damien Chazelle, Kenneth Lonergan, J.A. Bayona, Lewis MacDougall, Tom Ford, Mira Nair, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, Joely Richardson, Lone Scherfig, Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher, Park Chan-wook, Bertrand Bonello, Maren Ade, Sandra Hüller, Ben Younger, Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn, Andrea Arnold, Fiona Tan, Xavier Dolan.
Additional filmmaking talent attending for films in competition include: Official Competition: Martin Koolhoven, Mohamed Diab, Paul Verhoeven, François Ozon, Ivan Sen, Mijke de Jong, Barry Jenkins, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Terence Davies, Benedict Andrews, Makoto Shinkai. First Feature Competition: Jorge Riquelme Serrano, Gastón Salgado, Darren Thornton, Seána Kerslake, Houda Benyamina, Johannes Nyholm, Mohamed Ben Attia, William Oldroyd, Naomi Ackie, Hope Dickson Leach, Bartosz M. Kowalski, Gabe Klinger, Lucie Lucas, Julia Ducournau, Wang Yichun, Daouda Coulibaly. Documentary Competition: Jenny Gage, Eva Orner, Jon Nguyen, Claire Simon, Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla, Alma Har’el, Alice Diop, Marco Del Fiol.
The Festival will announce its complete guest line-up for all sections in early October..
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