London Film Festival Unveils Rolling Stones Appearance, Full Lineup (Update)
LONDON –The Rolling Stones are likely to be the biggest draw at the 56th London Film Festival for audiences, paparazzi and fans alike as organizers announced the big movie festival's full lineup Wednesday.
On first look, U.S. filmmakers appear somewhat under-represented across the sections, although Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet will get a gala with its British cast, including Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and Michael Gambon expected to support the event.
And Ben Affleck directs and stars in political thriller Argo, another gala bash, which he also produced with George Clooney.
Overall, the festival plans to screen 225 fiction and documentary features, including 14 world premieres.
Billed by some as the greatest rock band ever, the Stones are expected in the British capital to support the world premiere gala screening of Crossfire Hurricane, a documentary celebrating the music legends.
The news comes after the band's notable absences from both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games earlier this summer despite media speculation and an online fan frenzy.
Now, the London Film Festival organizers say they have scheduled the documentary and also added band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts to the celebrity lineup of attendees.
The Brett Morgen-directed movie includes historical footage, dcommentary from Jagger, Richards, Watts, Wood and former Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.
The film will receive a theatrical release in U.K. cinemas in October - prior to a broadcast on BBC2, while HBO will screen it in the U.S.
The Stones film is a coup for the freshly revamped and re-formatted film festival in the British capital, the first under the watch of the BFI's head of exhibition and distribution Clare Stewart.
Stewart told THR that securing the world premiere of the Stones documentary was an important move for the festival and the British capital itself.
"It is a big deal [for the LFF]. The film itself is stunning and not only is it a real testament to Brett [Morgan's] skill as a filmmaker but it is also it is an incredible account of the Stones over 50 years," Stewart said.
The festival, which attracted an audience of 133,000 people last year, also is re-positioning the shindig's high-profile awards event by introducing competitive sections that are given more prominence in the festival campaign and program.
Polish-born director Ben Lewin's festival hit The Sessions, starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, also gets the full red carpet gala treatment from the London organizers.
Stewart said market forces and pressures on releases mounts up as the London festival is programmed.
"There are so many releases in the U.K. every week so sometimes interests are served and sometimes not by a festival screening," Stewart said.
She refused to be drawn on the perceived absence of Hollywood output.
"All I can say is that I have to be able to present a lineup of films I totally believe in and am passionate about and this selection is just that."
The inaugural Official Competition lineup, introduced to recognize "inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking," gets a quartet of movies that will make their European premieres.
The four are Michael Winterbottom's Everyday, Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa, Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children and Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths.
Also on the roster competing for the prize is Michel Franco's After Lucia, End of Watch, directed by David Ayer, Rama Burshtein's Fill The Void, Daniele Cipri's It Was The Son, Lore by Cate Shortland, Pablo Larrain's No and Rust and Bone from Jacques Audiard.
The London festival plans to screen a total of 225 fiction and documentary features. That includes 14 world premieres – one more than last year's tally of 13 global debuts - 15 international premieres and 34 European premieres.
This year's London Film Festival runs Oct. 10- Oct. 21, marking a slightly shorter festival, but it will feature more screenings at more venues.
The event is book-ended by opening film Tim Burton's Frankenweenie and a closing night screening of Mike Newell's Great Expectations, both announced previously.