'The Imitation Game' With Benedict Cumberbatch to Open BFI London Film Festival

LONDON — The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, will open this year's BFI London Film Festival in October.

The 58th London Film Festival, organized in partnership with American Express, will host the movie's European premiere as its opening night gala.

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The event will take place at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema with a live "cinecast" from the red carpet and simultaneous screenings taking place at movie theaters across the U.K. Cumberbatch, Knightley and Norwegian director Morten Tyldum are expected to attend the event.
 
Last year, Tom Hanks starrer Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass, opened the festival.

The London festival this year runs Oct. 8-Oct. 19.

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The Imitation Game is the dramatic portrayal of the life and work of Alan Turing, a British pioneer of modern-day computing who is credited with cracking the German Enigma code. 
 
The film is decribed as portraying the race against time by Turing and the British code-breaking center during World War II. "Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British establishment, but his work and legacy live on," the festival said about the film's subject.
 
Sherlock star Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness) portrays Turing, with Knightley playing close friend and fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke. The cast also features Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Matthew Goode (A Single Man), Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Charles Dance (Gosford Park, Game of Thrones), Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) and Matthew Beard (An Education).
 
 
"We are thrilled to announce one of the most anticipated films of the year – The Imitation Game – as this year’s BFI London Film Festival opening night gala," said BFI London Film Festival director Clare Stewart. "Featuring extraordinary performances from the British talent in front of the camera and vividly directed by Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game does cinematic justice to Alan Turing’s vision, determination and personal story as well as his enduring impact on British history and contemporary life."
 
Said Tyldum: "The experience of directing this film has been so tremendously rewarding, and I am humbled to share Alan's Turing's incredible story on opening night."
 
Added producer Teddy Schwarzman: "We are truly honored that The Imitation Game will be opening the 58th BFI London Film Festival. The film, shot in various locations throughout England, tells the story of an incredibly gifted yet unsung British hero."
 
Studiocanal is releasing the film in the U.K. starting Nov. 14. Filmnation Entertainment is overseeing international distribution. 
 
Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
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