LFF For Free programme announced

The completely free programme offers a creative mix of events for all ages.

22 September 2022

The programme includes Ghibliotheque presents… The Z-A of Studio Ghibli and The Ghibliotheque Anime Movie Guide, two events with Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham, co-hosts of the popular podcast Ghibliotheque
London Film Festival

The 66th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express today announces this year’s LFF For Free line-up. LFF For Free offers a fun, thought-provoking and creative mix of events for audiences of all tastes – from a family friendly animation workshop and thought-provoking talks to short film screenings (in person and online) and DJ nights – with all events available totally free of charge, ensuring the festival is accessible to the widest range of audiences possible. The majority of LFF For Free will take place at BFI Southbank over the two weekends of the BFI London Film Festival: 8 to 9 October and 15 to 16 October. 

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, said: “We’re delighted to once again be presenting such a vibrant and varied programme of free events and talks to audiences as part of the BFI London Film Festival, especially at a time where the cost of living is fast on the rise and exploring and engaging with film culture remains more important than ever. In putting together LFF For Free, we’ve been inspired by the incredible work of filmmakers across the LFF programme to offer a fun and engaging route into the festival for audiences, no matter their budget. Where else can you champion your favourite Popstars on Film, dissect the class divide on screen, escape into the magical world of Studio Ghibli and follow the yellow brick road to Oz, all in the same afternoon…”

With this year’s LFF line-up including star turns from Harry Styles (My Policeman), Janelle Monáe (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery) and Alexandra Burke (Pretty Red Dress), the Popstars on Film talk will explore performances by pop stars turned actors. Follow the Yellow Brick Road will see a panel of experts discuss the enduring appeal and legacy of The Wizard of Oz, a film also explored in Alexandre O. Philippe’s new documentary Lynch/Oz, which plays during the festival. 

With Mark Jenkin’s Enys Men screening in this year’s Official Competition a panel of horror enthusiasts will come together for What The Folk!, to talk all things folk horror, a subgenre that employs elements of folklore to invoke fear in its audience. Unseen: The Power of What We Don’t Show will, inspired by films in this year’s LFF like Blaze and Palm Trees and Powerlines, explore how filmmakers can share stories of gendered violence and trauma sensitively and responsibly in a post #MeToo climate.  

Further talks and events in the programme will include Ghibliotheque presents… The Z-A of Studio Ghibli and The Ghibliotheque Anime Movie Guide, two events with Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham, co-hosts of the popular podcast Ghibliotheque and Teen Club Presents… Life in Love a screening of docu-drama series Life in Love, which captures three authentic Gen Z relationships. 

Hot Topic: Putting Climate Change On The Creative Agenda will see a panel discuss the importance of putting the climate emergency on the creative agenda; Eat the Rich, will welcome a panel of filmmakers discuss some of the greatest films about inequality and class division; and Making the Leap – Shorts to Feature Docs will be a talk from BFI Doc Society and British documentary filmmakers as they discuss their journey from short form work to their first feature documentaries. 

Inspired by the Popstars on Film event and the brilliant selection of music documentaries in this year’s festival, including Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande, Meet Me in the Bathroom and God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines, LFF For Free will present a series of DJ nights on each Friday and Saturday of the Festival. From an eclectic mix of top tunes from pop stars-turned-film stars to a purely vinyl set of 1970s funk; from the stomping guitar riffs, and skinny jeans of the early 2000s New York music scene to a night of old skool house and techno celebrating the genesis of the genre created by 1980s black artists. 

Following on from God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines and its examination of the cultural and technological roots of techno in Detroit, Destination Dancefloor will see a panel of experts discuss the film and explore how the genre has become such a huge worldwide phenomenon. There will also be immersive album listening sessions in the dark of BFI’s Southbank’s studio screen – prepare to experience music with more detail and focus than ever before with Pitchblack Playback sessions dedicated to Brit-funk legends Cymande’ self-titled 1972 debut and Interpol’s brooding debut Turn On the Bright Lights. 

Also included in the LFF For Free programme is a series of online events curated by BFI Film Academy Young Programmers, all of which will stream on BFI YouTube. The line-up of discussions and video essays includes a look at Young Adult Dystopia a decade on from the release of The Hunger Games, a discussion on the rise of high-end TV – Instant Gra-TV-cation, an exploration of the global phenomenon Heartstopper in Heartstopped: The Changing Landscape of Queer Rep and Independent Storytelling and TRANSforming Screens, a roundtable panel with leading trans and non-binary filmmakers from across the UK and Ireland. 

The BFI Film Academy have also specially selected, from the main LFF programme, a series of five short films that explore what it means to be a young adult in the world today. The #GenerationNow collection will be available to watch UK-wide free on BFI Player and the LFF and BFI Film Academy Facebook pages from 5 to 23 October. The films screening in this year’s Short Film Competition will also be available to watch free on BFI Player for the duration of the festival; after watching, audiences can vote for their favourite short to win the Audience Award – Short Film, which will be announced on the final day of the LFF. This year’s exciting array of LFF Screen Talks with special guests Noah Baumbach, Mia Hansen-Løve, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Janelle Monáe, Bill Nighy and Aubrey Plaza, will also be filmed and made to audiences globally on BFI YouTube shortly after each event takes place. 

LFF For Free will go behind the scenes on acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin’s first augmented reality work Haunted Hotel, a new LFF commission playing for free as part of LFF Expanded, the festival’s immersive art and extended realities strand. Maddin will be joined in an exclusive conversation by Julian Weiss, the founder immersive media studio headraft, to discuss how immersive, interactive works challenge traditional storytelling, while also opening unexpected new opportunities, as well as exploring how headraft helped Maddin bring Haunted Hotel to life. A selection of works will be featured on the Oculus TV app as part of a LFF Expanded programme, available for users with Oculus headsets at home to watch for free from 5 to 23 October.

Over four centuries the Covent Garden Piazza has been a market, a meeting place, and a site of protest, performance and renewal. In a new documentary The People’s Piazza: A History of Covent Garden, David Olusoga walks back in time to explore its tumultuous history, and with the help of a host of experts and eye-witnesses, conjures up the ghosts of the past. A Familiar Spot/Uplands production, part of the StoryTrails project commissioned by UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, and developed in collaboration between StoryFutures Academy, the BBC and the BFI, the film uses rich visual and written archive and state-of-the-art virtual production techniques and will screen as part of LFF For Free in Odeon Covent Garden on 9 October, ahead of a BBC broadcast in November. 

In anticipation of the launch of Sight and Sound’s Greatest Films of All Time poll later this year, the festival will also be hosting discussions with a selection of key directors at this year’s LFF – including many filmmakers in the Official Competition – who will talk about their own top ten lists. Join the Sight and Sound editorial team in the Bar and Kitchen at BFI Southbank to learn more about great films from throughout cinema history – canonised titles and curios alike – and debate the necessity of canons, and the joys and terrors of selecting just ten great films.

A wide range of short film screenings will also be included in LFF For Free including Independent Film Trust Indie Film Fete Showcase, which explores narratives overlooked or dismissed by the mainstream, including LGBTQIA+, race, gender, disability and neurodiversity and two programmes of shorts by emerging filmmakers selected to be a part of this year’s NETWORK@LFF talent development programme. Together TV presents Queer Lives Today will see the premiere of four films exploring queer lives in Britain today. Presented by Together TV’s BAFTA-winning Diverse Film Fund, these are funny, raw, touching and honest voices from LGBTQIA+ communities across the UK.  

There will also be a screening of Salvation Has No Name, a new animated short about xenophobia and the refugee crisis featuring an all-female voice cast and followed by a discussion with a panel including director-screenwriter Joseph Wallace, exec producer Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and filmmaker and refugee rights activist Hassan Akkad. There will also be an event featuring selected scenes from The Puppet Asylum, an allegorical biopic from Otto Baxter, a filmmaker with Down Syndrome, who is writing and directing his first film – a Victorian-set, gothic vision of his life in a world that regards him as a monster. This event will see Otto and his producers discussing the process of giving the author space to achieve something ambitious, and to hear how he took inspiration from his own life to create this unpredictable film.

The 66th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 5 October to Sunday 16 October, 2022. 

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