Speakers and events announced for this year’s LFF Industry Forum

The line-up includes LFF Spotlight conversations with Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer and filmmaker Jennifer Lee

20 September 2023

London Film Festival
Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios

As the world’s film and screen sector celebrates new and brilliant storytelling being welcomed by audiences globally, it is also facing new creative and business challenges. This year’s BFI London Film Festival Industry Forum, which has grown in recent years in welcoming international talent and industry professionals, is resolutely looking forward at how industry can collaborate further to benefit creativity and business, embrace and nurture new talent, and share new ideas and experience, alongside curated talent programmes and networking opportunities. 

Accreditation for industry and press delegates is open now. 

The festival is delighted to be welcoming international industry leaders who will headline three Spotlight conversations in the overall programme.  

Jennifer Lee is chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, a role that gives her creative oversight of all projects by the studio and as a filmmaker is the co-director, co-writer and executive producer of the much-loved and globally successful Frozen films. 

Emile Sherman and Iain Canning are the co-founders of See-Saw Films, with offices in the UK and Australia, and a production powerhouse for independent filmmakers and their work including The Power of the Dog and Widows. Helen Gregory is driving the company’s growing and successful television slate. 

Carole Baraton is the chief executive officer of leading French sales company Charades which has built a reputation for its commitment to positioning independent, original, auteur-driven films in the international marketplace. 

The Industry Forum programme line-up also welcomes American Academy and BAFTA leaders Bill Kramer and Jane Millichip, in a conversation with BFI chief executive Ben Roberts; Giancarlo Nasi and Emily Morgan two of  the producers behind the international co-production The Settlers, Chile’s submission for the Oscars; AI pioneers Rianna Dearden and Sami Arpa with Tim Webber and lawyer Hannah Wylie on the generative AI as a tool in film, TV and video games; directors Naqqash Khalid and Mahalia Belo on their directorial debuts, In Camera and The End We Start From respectively, screening in the festival with their producers and members of their creative teams; and a spotlight on eight emerging writers who are building their careers in the screen industries. 

Kristy Matheson, BFI London Film Festival director, says: “We’re excited to be welcoming European, international and UK talents to this year’s Industry Forum. In sharing their expertise, experience and ideas, we all have the opportunity to learn with each other which is more vital than ever in this fast-evolving landscape. We’re looking forward to welcoming colleagues to our Industry Forum to gain insights and build contacts.”   

Silvia Angrisani, BFI London Film Festival industry programmes manager, says: “Our programme is really focused on opening up opportunities for creatives and business professionals to explore areas that are stimulating for future business and cultural collaboration. There will be fantastic chances to hear from industry leaders about their perspectives and, at the same time, we are offering a platform for eight incredible emerging writing talents to talk about their work, their vision and diverse approaches to storytelling and themes. We shall be going behind the scenes of UK and international films, deconstructing their creative processes and sharing learnings, will also be investigating current uses of artificial intelligence, hearing from companies working in immersive media, film and TV on how they are integrating generative AI in their work.” 

The festival’s programme and events create valuable opportunities for UK creatives and industry professionals to meet and make new connections with international industry professionals seeing potential creative and business collaboration.   

A group of 12 experienced producers from France will be participating in the New Waves co-production meetings with UK producers. Following a visit of UK producers to the CNC in Paris earlier this year, this second edition of the event at the LFF is organised by the Institut français UK, the BFI and the CNC in partnership with Unifrance.  The day will conclude with a networking reception for industry delegates hosted by Institut français UK and offering a brief presentation of opportunities for working with France.

The LFF is also welcoming producers from South Africa supported by the National Film & Video Foundation looking to forge partnerships with UK producers interested in working with South Africa. 

Producers from Nigeria in London for the Nigerian International Film Summit will be meeting UK producers during the LFF (9 and 10 October) to look at the opportunities and challenges revolving around the business of film in Nigeria and to explore international collaboration opportunities. 

Supporting UK screen-based businesses and talent, and increasing opportunities for international collaboration, the 2023 Industry Forum features a variety of talent development initiatives, as part of the UK Talent Days focus in partnership with the British Council. These include the fourth edition of the Works-in-Progress showcase for new UK work; the BFI NETWORK@LFF programme for UK-based writers, directors and producers; and the LFF Critics Mentorship Programme.

Industry accreditation is open to UK and international filmmakers and individuals working in a professional capacity in film and/or wider screen sectors.  

The industry programme includes: 

  • Bill Kramer, chief executive officer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Jane Millichip, chief executive officer of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), in conversation with Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive 
  • Experts and pioneers in artificial intelligence as a tool for film and moving image: Rianna Dearden from Charisma.ai, Sami Arpa from Largo.ai, Tim Webber from Framestore with the lawyer Hannah Wylie on the IP landscape 
  • Panel discussions with writers, directors and creative talent including Giancarlo Nasi, Emily Morgan (The Settlers); Mahalia Belo, Shaheen Baig, Leah Clarke (The End We Start From); Naqqash Khalid, Nabhaan Rizwan, Mary Burke, Tasha Back (In Camera) 
  • Emerging writers developing film and TV work from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales: Emily Burnett, Lisa Clarkson, Karim Khan, Caleb J. Roberts, Sufiyaan Salam, Rashida Seriki, Charlie Tidmas and Temi Wilkey 
  • UK Talent Days programme; LFF Works-in-Progress Showcase; Buyers & Sellers Event; BFI NETWORK@LFF 
  • LFF Critics Mentorship Programme 
  • Film London Production Finance Market 
  • Networking events for industry professionals 

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