The BFI and Lionsgate UK announce today that they have joined forces to present a very special screening of the critically acclaimed Testament of Youth ahead of its UK release date. The event is the first in a major new programme called BFI Presents, designed to help grow audiences for independent British films.
The Testament of Youth event will be centred on London’s BFI Southbank on the evening of Monday 12 January, 2015, with audiences across the UK able take part via a live satellite link that will see the event simultaneously beamed into around 400 cinemas nationwide.
The very special preview screening of the film will be introduced by director James Kent and producer Rosie Alison. Audiences will enjoy never-been-seen-before footage and exclusive behind the scenes material ahead of the film. Following the screening, Rosie and James will invite select cast members and Vera Brittain’s daughter, Baroness Shirley Williams, to take part in an on-stage Q&A. Questions will be thrown open, with audiences at BFI Southbank and in all participating cinemas across the UK encouraged to live tweet their questions using the dedicated hashtag for the event: #TestamentofYouthLive
Testament of Youth, which was feted by critics and audiences alike following its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October, is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 16 January.
The 12 January special preview screening of Testament of Youth is the first example of BFI Presents, a new pilot project designed to give audiences exclusive access to great new British films and the people who made them – and to support the UK film industry by helping to help grow audiences for independent films.
BFI Presents will see event-driven preview screenings of high quality British independent and specialised films accompanied by Q&As with the filmmakers and exclusive behind-the-scenes content, all beamed live from BFI Southbank to audiences across the UK. In a busy marketplace and with an average of 13 films being released into cinemas each week, BFI Presents aims to help outstanding British independent and specialised films achieve greater visibility and reach wider audiences. The concept emerged from discussions with the UK’s exhibition sector, in particular the large cinema chains, who are keen to work with the BFI to explore opportunities to expand audiences for UK film. The BFI will announce further BFI Presents screenings in the coming weeks.
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI said:
Following inspiring conversations with our colleagues in the major cinema chains we’re really excited to announce the very first BFI Presents, which we think offers a great opportunity to help grow audiences for fantastic films being made in the UK. We’re thrilled to be working with our friends at Lionsgate, who hold such a key position in the UK’s distribution landscape, who share this vision and are enthusiastic and supportive partners of BFI Presents. Testament of Youth is a beautiful British film that we are all incredibly proud of, and we cannot wait to share it and exclusive insights from its extraordinary filmmaking team with audiences everywhere on 12 January.
Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa added:
We are always trying to find new ways of stimulating the appetite for British films, and are delighted Amanda Nevill and the BFI have partnered with us on this first of its kind event. We are incredibly proud of Testament of Youth, and the rich history of the memoirs written by Vera Brittain are a perfect platform to offer audiences more insight into the filmmaking process, and to have direct dialogue with those filmmakers. As a studio we feel that the introduction of the BFI’s event programming will allow us to elevate the audiences that our British films will reach and hope this continues throughout 2015 across a variety of important and stimulating film events.
Phil Clapp, CEO of the UK cinema trade body the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, added:
This is a welcome and exciting development which will have the support of many UK cinema operators. Some excellent UK independent films have in recent years struggled to get noticed amidst all the marketing noise around other releases. BFI Presents provides an opportunity for those films to find the audience they deserve. We congratulate the BFI on this new venture and look forward to helping to ensure its success.
Tickets for the exclusive screening of Testament of Youth will be available to buy directly from the box office of participating cinemas or online.