The 67th BFI London Film Festival (4 to 15 October) in partnership with American Express is thrilled to announce that this year’s closing night gala, supported by BMW, will be Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya’s The Kitchen starring Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jr, Teija Kabs, Demmy Ladipo, Cristale and BackRoad Gee.
Exploring themes of community, inequality, family, resilience, defiance and care in a dystopian London, The Kitchen is directed by British filmmakers Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya, the latter of whom also screenwrites with Joe Murtagh. The film will receive its world premiere on Sunday 15 October at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, ahead of its release into UK cinemas and subsequent launch on Netflix. The Kitchen was made in association with Film4 who also supported the film’s development and is produced by DMC Film and 59% Productions.
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In a dystopian London, the gap between rich and poor has been stretched to its limits. All forms of social housing have been eradicated and only The Kitchen remains. A community that refuses to move out of the place they call home. This is where we meet a solitary Izi (Kane Robinson), living here by necessity and desperately trying to find a way out, and a 12-year-old Benji (Jedaiah Bannerman), who has lost his mother and is searching for a family. We follow our unlikely pair as they struggle to forge a relationship in a system that is stacked against them.
Tavares and Kaluuya, said: “We both grew up in London, and The Kitchen is a love letter to our city, so it’s a true honour to premiere it here, in our hometown, on the closing night of BFI’s London Film Festival. Starting a decade ago as a workshop in a local barbershop, the film’s journey from script to screen has been a continued collaboration between us, and the community of cast and crew that came to make up our ‘Kitchen’, including our two amazing leads Kane Robinson and Jedaiah Bannerman whose performances anchor the heart of our story. Together we have aimed to make something fresh, thoughtful and cinematic – an allegory and homage to the residents of ‘The Kitchen’ in every city in the world.”
Kristy Matheson, BFI London Film Festival director, said: “Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya have made a film that totally explodes our expectations of contemporary UK cinema. The Kitchen offers such scope for audiences – the essential social politics and high-octane energy gel perfectly to create an electrifying big screen experience. We could not be more excited to close the festival with this inventive film set in a near future London that showcases this incredibly talented team who call this city home.”
As part of the LFF closing night on 15 October, the winner of the BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the BFI will be announced. With the aim of supporting aspiring filmmakers in their career development and bringing fresh perspectives to the film industry, the BMW Filmmaking Challenge provides a platform for filmmakers to stretch their artistic creativity under the mentorship of industry game-changer Michaela Coel. Coel is supporting the execution of the filmmakers’ visions and production process.
With a focus on supporting the creativity of the UK’s future filmmaking talent, the challenge draws inspiration from the ultra-wide 31.3-inch rear passenger screen of the BMW i7. The filmmakers have been tasked with bringing their unique stories to life in just 90 seconds, inspired by the theme of ‘evolving perspectives’.
Currently in production, the five shortlisted films from nearly 400 entries will be completed in September. Industry figureheads Ncuti Gatwa, Terri White and Asif Kapadia, will select a winning film set to premiere as part of the closing night. All five films will be available for viewing on BFI Player following the premiere.
The 67th edition of the BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express will take place in the following venues:
- The Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall returns as gala venue
- BFI Southbank is the home of the competition programme, series, Screen Talks and LFF for Free events
- The UK’s biggest screen BFI IMAX will once again host LFF screenings
- LFF Expanded exhibition of immersive storytelling finds a new home in Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf, and you can also catch selected works at Outernet
- Five partner cinemas in London’s West End include Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Prince Charles Cinema and Vue West End
- Festival venues across the UK include Broadway Cinema in Nottingham, Chapter in Cardiff, Glasgow Film Theatre, HOME in Manchester, MAC in Birmingham, Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast, Showroom Cinema in Sheffield, Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle and Watershed in Bristol
- Press and industry screenings take place at Picturehouse Central and ODEON Luxe Leicester Square
In addition to UK-wide screenings at the festival venues, audiences will also be able to explore LFF programmes past and present with a special collection of films on BFI Player.
The 67th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 4 October to Sunday 15 October, 2023. The BFI LFF press launch will take place on Thursday 31 August, 2023.
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