Marc Evans’ 'Hunky Dory' One of 13 World Premieres Set for BFI's London Film Festival

3:30 AM PST 09/07/2011 by Stuart Kemp
Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Majority of the 13 world firsts –- eight movies in total -- for this year’s event fall in the event’s New British Cinema.

LONDON – Marc EvansHunky Dory, starring Minnie Driver is one of 13 world premieres set to unspool during this year’s BFI London Film Festival, up from last year’s 11-strong tally.

The majority of the 13 world firsts – eight movies in total including Richard Jobson’s The Somnabulists -- for this year’s event fall in the event’s New British Cinema.

U.S. presence for the 16-day long shindig is repped by Richard Linklater’s Bernie, starring Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey, Jonathan Demme’s documentary I’m Carolyn Parker and Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, with Justin Bartha, Selma Blair and Zachary Booth all making their European premiere outings.

George Clooney features in a brace of gala presentations across the London.

He hops from Venice to London with his political thriller The Ides of March, which he directs and stars in alongside Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti.

And Clooney also stars in The Descendants, Alexander Payne’s latest feature, alongside Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard.

Michael Winterbottom’s reworking of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Trishna, with Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed and Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes directing as well as taking the lead role alongside Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave also find a slot.

Redgrave is also cast in Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous with Rhys IfansJoely Richardson and David Thewlis.

Madonna directs romantic drama W.E. which stars Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough and James D’Arcy and is sure to turn heads should she turn up to support the showcase.

Steve McQueen’s second feature Shame counts Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender in its cast and Fassbender can also be seen alongside Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method.

Sandra Hebron, the long-standing artistic director and face of the BFI London Film Festival, is to step down after this year’s edition of the U.K.’s biggest movie festival.

There has been much anticipation ahead of this year’s line-up with all eyes on Hebron’s picks for her swan song in charge of the event.

Rachel Weisz appears in both the Fernando Meirelles-directed 360, starring Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins which opens and The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Terence Davies, also starring Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale, the closing film.

Neither bookends are world premieres for the British showcase.

Hebron said it had been three years since the festival had not played host to a world premiere to open the event.

But she said it had never been a big concern for her and her program team to pick a movie for the prestigious opening or closing slot on the basis that it was a world bow.

“The [opening and closing] films have to be bookends of excellence and I am not mindful of premiere status when choosing,” Hebron told THR. “The films we have this year are certainly of the highest quality in filmmaking.”

Also on hand at the launch of this year’s event, Oscar-nominated writer Peter Morgan, whose 360 opens the event, is an old hand.

It’s the third time the scribe has seen one of his film’s unspool at the start with 360 following The Last King of Scotland and Frost/Nixon in the prestigious slot.

“It feels more terrifying than ever having done it before,” Morgan said. “The opening night film at the London Film Festival is always one of the most scrutinized.”

360 producer Andrew Eaton said: “We’ve all done it. We’ve all walked up the red carpet for the opener and turned to one another and said, ‘so, how much do you think it’ll make at the box office?’”

Over 16 days the Festival will screen a total of 204 fiction and documentary features, including those 13 World Premieres, 18 International Premieres and 22 European Premieres.

The event will also play host to its usual mix of career interviews, master classes, and other special events with cast, crew and filmmakers.

The 55th BFI London Film Festival runs Oct. 12-27. 

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