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The 64th edition of the BFI London Film Festival — rejigged due to the COVID-19 crisis and largely shifted online for 2020 — has unveiled its full program.
Chloe Zhao’s buzzy Nomadland — bowing in Venice before heading to Toronto and New York — is set to screen, together with Pixar feature Soul, directed by Pete Docter. Both titles — alongside Steve McQueen’s festival curtainraiser Mangrove and Francis Lee’s closer Ammonite — will be the only films showing solely in cinemas, screening at the BFI Southbank in London and simultaneously across a number of other venues around the U.K.
Elsewhere, 10 films be given both physical and virtual screenings. These include David Byrne’s American Utopia by Spike Lee, the Riz Ahmed-starring Mogul Mowgli, Thomas Vinterberg’s ode to drinking Another Round and Shirley, starring Elizabeth Moss, alongside After Love, Days, Herself, Supernova, Time and Undine.
But the majority of the 50-plus films taking part in the London Film Festival, which runs Oct. 7-Oct. 18, will be presented entirely online, together with Screen Talks with major filmmakers and actors, and online salons and Q&As delving more deeply into themes and talking points. Films involved include Miranda July’s Kajillionaire, Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor and Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary feature Notturno.
The new LFF Expanded strand, incorporating virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and including live immersive performance, will be accessibly both virtually and at the BFI Southbank.
This year’s festival has also done away with the usual official jury, with four awards up for grabs— best fiction feature, best documentary feature, best short film and best XR — to be voted on by the online audience. Meanwhile, the £50,000 ($65,000) IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award for a first or second time British writer, director, or writer/director will be awarded during the event.
“Although it’s been born out of crisis, this year’s edition of the LFF will be our most accessible yet,” said BFI CEO Ben Roberts. “Thanks to the many talented and dedicated teams across the BFI, and the encouragement of our partners and industry colleagues – we have shaped a festival that suggests a future for bringing filmmakers and film lovers together.”
Added festival director Tricia Tuttle: “This has been such a period of uncertainty and change across the industry and when we embarked on a radical new plan for our 2020 edition, we stepped into unknown territory. But we’ve been so encouraged by the adventurousness of filmmakers and rights holders, the unwavering support of our collaborators and the spirit of unity and experimentation”
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