The BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® today confirmed the dates for the Festival’s 63rd edition which will take place from 2-13 October, led by Festival Director Tricia Tuttle in her second year leading the team after serving as Artistic Director in 2018.
“We had a cracking 2018 edition,” says Tuttle, “Our highest ever occupancies were a testament to our adventurous audiences who eagerly savour a wide range of global cinema. It made for a fabulous experience for filmmakers and a great place to launch a film. We can’t wait to build on that in 2019.”
Submissions for the 2019 BFI London Film Festival are now open. Feature and short films can be submitted through the BFI London Film Festival website at www.bfi.org.uk/lff. The final deadline for features and short films is Friday 14 June at 5pm GMT.
Films entered through open submissions are eligible for Official Competition, Documentary Competition, First Feature Competition and Short Film Competition, provided they meet the other criteria for these sections and with priority given to European and World Premieres.
The 62nd edition of the festival, which took place in October last year, celebrated a record-breaking number of female filmmakers, with 38% of the films directed by women and 50% female directors in 3 of the 4 competitive categories. The programme was also widely applauded for its diversity and inclusion, showing films from 77 countries around the world and welcoming 900 international and British filmmakers to present their work. The festival featured a varied selection of 229 feature films and 159 short films from both established and emerging talent. Of those films, the festival hosted 21 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres and 29 European Premieres, with Steve McQueen’s Widows opening the festival, closing with the World Premiere of Jon S Baird’s Stan & Ollie and featuring Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite as its American Express Gala.
Last year’s festival proved to be hugely popular with overall per screen attendance rising by 12%, reaching an audience of 205,630 across London and the UK. Audiences throughout the UK were able to engage with the BFI London Festival through satellite screenings of the World Premiere of Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, attended by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Matteo Garrone’s Dogman and Mike Leigh’s Peterloo. The BFI LFF Special Presentation of Peterloo also made history as the first festival premiere to be hosted outside of London at HOME Manchester.
In 2018 the BFI London Film Festival welcomed leading lights from across the international film industry. Acting talent supporting films at the festival included: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Alice Lowe, Amandla Stenberg, Andrea Riseborough, Bill Heck, Bill Nighy, Billy Howle, Chris Pine, Dakota Johnson, Daniel Kaluuya, Denise Gough, Dominic West, Emma Stone, Jamie Dornan, Jessica Hynes, Jessie Buckley, John C. Reilly, Julian Barratt, Keira Knightley, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Melissa McCarthy, Mia Goth, Michaela Coel, Michelle Rodriguez, Nicholas Hoult, Nicole Kidman, Olivia Colman, Olivia Cooke, Patricia Clarkson, Richard E. Grant, Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Stanley Tucci, Steve Carell, Steve Coogan, Tilda Swinton, Tim Blake Nelson, Timothée Chalamet, Viggo Mortensen, Viola Davis and Zoe Kazan.
Directors presenting their work included: Alfonso Cuarón, Barry Jenkins, Ben Wheatley, Boots Riley, Carol Morley, David Mackenzie, Ethan Coen, Ethan Hawke, Felix van Groeningen, George Tillman Jr, Jason Reitman, Joel Coen, Jon S. Baird, Luca Guadagnino, Michael Moore, Mike Leigh, Nadine Labaki, Paul Dano, Peter Jackson, Peter Strickland, Steve McQueen, Terry Gilliam, Tinge Krishnan, Wanuri Kahiu, Wash Westmoreland and Yorgos Lanthimos.
In a festival first, the LFF’s Competition winners were announced on stage in front of packed public audiences, with the Official Competition (Best Film Award) presented to Sudabeh Mortezai’s Joy and the First Feature Competition (Sutherland Award) presented to Lukas Dhont for Girl. Robert Minervini’s What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? won the Documentary Competition (Grierson Award) and Charlie Lyne’s Lasting Marks took home the Short Film Competition (Short Film Award).