'Brick' removed from royal schedule

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LONDON -- A regal scheduling clash has resulted in the cancellation of a Royal Film Performance of Sarah Gavron's "Brick Lane," which will now unspool at the London Film Festival. It marks only the second time in 61 years that there will be no Royal Gala to benefit the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund.

A spokesman for the prince's headquarters, Clarence House, confirmed that there will be no Royal Film Performance this year.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that an unusually late trip by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles to Uganda and Turkey had left the royal diary crammed full, with no time to schedule a Royal Gala.

Press reports here hinted it may have been over fears of protests from Asian groups. Based on the Monica Ali novel, Gavron's East London-set film centers on an Asian woman who arrives in London for an arranged marriage.

"Lane" will instead unspool during this year's London Film Festival in the event's Film on the Square section as a late addition to the program, organizers said Monday.

"I am delighted that the film will be in the London Film Festival," Gavron said. "It is a film made and set in London that embraces everything London is today. There isn't a more appropriate place for it to premiere."

David Murrell, president of the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund, meanwhile, expressed disappointment in the scheduling snafu. "Release dates are particular, and royal diaries are even more particular," he said. "It's a disappointment but there has been a clash of dates in the diary."

But Murrell noted that it means 2008 will have two royal events to look forward to, one in the first quarter of the year and one in the fall.

Last year, the new-look James Bond in "Casino Royale" took its bow at a Royal Film Performance screening attended by the queen and Prince Philip.

The queen and Prince Charles normally take turns hosting the Royal Gala.
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