Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman draws 63rd BFI London Film Festival to a close

Audience attendance was up 6% across London this year, watching films from 78 countries around the world, with 40% female directors across programme and 60% female directors in competition.

 

Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro attend the Closing Night gala premiere of The Irishman (2019)

Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro attend the Closing Night gala premiere of The Irishman (2019)

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, closed with a star studded finale on Sunday with the International Premiere of The Irishman, which saw  legendary director Martin Scorsese reunite with  his equally legendary cast members; Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel at a spectacular gala presentation at Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square.

Audiences throughout the UK and Ireland enjoyed The Irishman’s red carpet action via satellite streaming of the closing night premiere to over 85 cinemas, followed by simultaneous preview screenings.

Over the Festival’s 12 days there were 173,284 admissions for London screenings and events, comprised of 156,761 public attendances, including the new LFF For Free programme – an increase of 6% on last year’s London public attendance. And also, an additional 16,523 press and industry attendance across the festival. Extending its offering to audiences outside of London, the Festival hosted satellite screenings at more than 100 venues around the UK & Ireland.

The 63rd edition welcomed over 868 International and British filmmakers to present their work at venues across the capital. The festival featured a diverse selection of 233 feature films from both established and emerging talent and hosted 28 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres and 32 European Premieres and welcomed a stellar line up of cast and crew for many of the films.

The Festival was widely applauded for its diversity and inclusion with 78 countries represented across short films and features and 40% of films directed or co-directed by women. Across all competitive categories, 60% were directed or co-directed by women.

This year saw the return of Odeon’s iconic flagship cinema, the newly refurbished ODEON Luxe Leicester Square. Once again the Festival’s spectacular purpose-built venue Embankment Garden Cinema was back for its 4th year, Vue West End was home to the LFF Awards and Press & Industry screenings creating a Media delegate hub in London’s Leicester Square, and the BFI Southbank hosted a new free events programme, extending the fun of the Festival.

Filmmakers in attendance included:

Abe Forsythe, Aki Omoshaybi, Alejandro Landes, Alex Gibney, Alma Har’el, Anthony Chen, Aoife O’Kelly Apolline Traoré, Armando Iannucci, Atom Egoyan, Babak Anvari, Ben Rivers, Benedict Andrews, Billie Piper, Bora Kim, Bruce Springsteen, Céline Sciamma, Christine Molloy, Ciro Guerra, Claire Oakley, Cory Finley, Craig Roberts, D R Hood, David Lawrence, David Michôd, Eva Riley, Fernando Meirelles, François Girard, François Ozon, Fyzal Boulifa, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Gavin Hood, Gitanjali Rao, Glenn Leyburn, Halina Reijn, Hinde Boujemaa, Hong Khaou, Isabel Sandoval, James Mangold, Jan-Ole Gerster, Jayro Bustamante, Jeffrey McHale, Jérémy Clapin, Jessica Hausner, Joe Lawlor, Joe Talbot, Johnny Ma, Juliano Dornelles, Julius Onah, Kantemir Balagov, Kasi Lemmons, Kim Longinotto, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Lukas Moodysson, Małgorzata Szumowska, Manele Labidi, Marielle Heller, Martin Scorsese, Mariko Minoguchi, Mati Diop, Michael Winterbottom, Mirrah Foulkes, Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stepanian, Nicholas Kharkongor, Nick Rowland, Noah Baumbach, Phillip Youmans, Rian Johnson, Robert Eggers, Roger Michell, Sarah Gavron, Shahad Ameen, Shannon Murphy, Simon Bird, Taghi Amirani, Taika Waititi, Thom Zimny, Thomas Clay, Tom Harper, Wash Westmoreland, William Nicholson, Yaron Zilberman

Cast and Special Guests in attendance included:

Adam Driver, Adèle Haenel, Al Pacino, Alfie Allen, Alice Lowe, Alicia Vikander, Anna Paquin, Annette Bening, Anthony Welsh, Asa Butterfield, Ashley Madekwe, Ben Mendelsohn, Bronagh Gallagher, Bukky Bakray, Carice van Houten, Charles Dance, Conrad Khan, Cynthia Erivo, Dev Patel, Don Johnson, Earl Cave, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Beecham, Felicity Jones, Freddie Fox, Gwendoline Christie, Harris Dickinson, Harvey Keitel, Hugh Laurie, Imogen Poots, Jack Huston, James Blunt, James Norton, Jennifer Ehle, Joe Alwyn, Joel Edgerton, Joely Richardson, Jonathan Pryce, Katherine Langford, Keira Knightley, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Kerry Fox, Kit Connor, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Lesley Manville, Lily James, Lily-Rose Depp, Lucas Hedges, Mark Rylance, Mariana Di Girolamo, Mia Wasikowska, Michael B. Jordan, Morfydd Clark, Naoki Kobayashi, Nichola Burley, Noah Jupe, Noémie Merlant, Ollie Locke, Paul Whitehouse, Penelope Wilton, Peter Capaldi, Pixie Lott, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Roxanne Scrimshaw, Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris, Shia LaBeouf, Sterling K. Brown, Steve Coogan,  Tim Key, Tim Roth, Timothée Chalamet, Tom Courtenay, Wendell Pierce, Willem Dafoe

Monos (2019)

Monos (2019)

At the annual BFI London Film Festival Awards on Saturday 12th October the LFF competition winners announced were:

  • MONOS – Alejandro Landes won the Official Competition (Best Film Award)
  • ATLANTICS – Mati Diop won the First Feature Competition (Sutherland Award)
  • WHITE RIOT – Rubika Shah, won the Documentary Competition (Grierson Award)
  • FAULT LINE – Soheil Amirsharifi, won the Short Film Competition (Short Film Award)

Building on the success of last year’s new approach, placing audiences at the heart of the awards ceremony, the winning film from each competitive section was presented to the public as a surpise screening. At each sold-out screening, Festival Director Tricia Tuttle and respective Jury Presidents presented the winning film  their award on stage at the Vue, Leicester Square.

The juries were led by: acclaimed Colette and Still Alice director Wash Westmoreland, whose latest film Earthquake Bird world premiered in this year’s Festival; Austrian director Jessica Hausner, whose latest film Little Joe featured in this year’s Festival; the Oscar-nominated director of Strong Island, Yance Ford, and award-winning British film producer Jacqui Davies.

This year’s LFF Connects series of thought-provoking high-impact talks for industry and public audiences explored the future of film and how film engages with other creative industries. Events were held with Atom Egoyan and William Nicholson.

Insightful Screen Talks were given by celebrated directors and actors: Céline Sciamma, Kasi Lemmons, Kim Longinotto, Lukas Moodysson, Michael B. Jordan, Rian Johnson and Robert De Niro.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems (2019)

The Surprise Film was Josh and Benny Safdie’s UNCUT GEMS in which Adam Sandler plays a New York jewellery dealer trying to pay his debts after he acquires a rare gem stone. The surprise screening in London followed the film’s World Premiere in Telluride, where it received great crticial acclaim.

In a new initiative for 2019, the Festival hosted LFF For Free, offering 30 exciting free events to complement and expand the Festival programme.  The BFI Southbank became a Festival Hub for the public, with free events concentrated over two weekends. Events were designed for all ages and families, and for audiences of all tastes. These included Q&As with The Quay Brothers, DJ nights inspired by films of the festival, and a live concert with BBC Radio 3’s Sound of Cinema exploring the world of Dickens on film.

The LFF’s Industry Programme of Big Picture discussions and industry events tackled some of the most pressing questions facing the industry at this time of radical change, welcoming 2,796 industry and media delegates. This year saw two new partnerships with Creative XR and Facebook, along with existing partnerships with Film London with the Production Finance Market, and the British Council.

The programme opened up opportunities for new business, learning and networking for industry delegates working across the wider screen industries as well as policy makers. These included Spotlight Conversations with major global business leaders such as Glen Basner, CEO of Filmnation Entertainment, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Co-presidents of Plan B Entertainment, and Fox Searchlight Pictures Co-chairmen, Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula.  Other highlights were an event exploring how the industry is responding to climate change emergency with Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International with Co-founder of Eco-Age Livia Firth, activist and actor Lily Cole, screenwriter Duncan Macmillan and filmmaker Scott Z. Burns, as well as sessions looking at screenwriting and authorship, high-end television, the art of sound, working with intimacy directors, the role of film festivals, international sales, film distribution and immersive storytelling. Filmmakers and international experts participating as speakers included Academy Award® winner Walter Murch, Lars Blømgren from Endelmol Shine, Jane Featherstone from Sister Pictures, Vicki Dobbs Beck from ILMxLAB, Andy Harries from Left Bank Pictures, Hakan Kousetta, COO of See-Saw Films, Ryan Kampe from Visit Films.  Guest speakers also includes screenwriters Moira Buffini (Harlots), Charlie Covell (The End of the F***ing World), Nida Manzoor (Lady Parts); and filmmakers Rose Glass (Saint Maud), Philip Youmans (Burning Cane), Craig Roberts (Eternal Beauty), Sarah Brocklehurst (Animals), Babak Anvari (Wounds) and Claire Oakley (Make-up).

NETWORK@LFF, the annual flagship professional development programme designed  to support and inspire original new voices gave  12 writers, directors and producers the opportunity to learn from visiting international filmmakers and executives screening their work at the LFF.

984 accredited media delegates from around the world attended the Festival.

BFI LFF Education in partnership with Into Film returned to this year’s Festival with a new offer for young people of all ages keen to engage with the BFI LFF programme. For the first time, BFI LFF Education offered screenings and events to young people across the UK.

Additionally the Festival hosted a day dedicated to young aspiring filmmakers aged 16-25, offering transformational opportunities and exclusive access to filmmaking talent. The BFI LFF Critics Mentorship Programme returnedand 16-25 year were able to take advantage of the 25 and Under £5 rush ticket offers.

There were 3,661 attendances for Education and Industry events, including attendances at screenings for young people at 5 venues around the UK. There were over 345k views of the GenerationNow coming-of-age short films, which for the first time were made available to view for free online as part of BFI London Film Festival offering to young people.

The 64th BFI London Film Festival will run from 7-18 Oct 2020.

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