BFI London Film Festival Closes with James Franco, Danny Boyle


LONDON -- The European premiere of Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" closed this year's BFI London Film Festival on Thursday.

The film ended two weeks of red carpet arrivals, filmmaker chats, industry events and the second outing for its standalone awards ceremony.

Cast member James Franco, producer Christian Colson, co-screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and composer AR Rahman all attended the Leicester Square shindig alongside director Boyle, fresh from being award the BFI Fellowship Wednesday night.

Also here was real life mountaineer Aron Ralston to give the movie his nod of approval.

Festival organizers reported an uptick in audience attendance with filmgoers sending turnstyles spinning this year faster than ever.

The festival kicked off October 13 with Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go".

The 15-day event attracted a myriad of familiar faces from both sides of the Atlantic including Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Jimi Mistry, Om Puri, Partricia Clarkson, Gabriel Byrne, Naomi Harris, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Colin Firth strolling across the red carpet for a variety of movie events.

Behind the lens heavyweights in attendance included Martin Scorsese, John Hillcoat, Shekhar Kapur, Justin Chadwick, Peter Mullan, John Sayles, Darren Aronsfsky, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Tom Hooper, Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein and John Sayles.

And this year the LFF also kept up its commitment to industry-related events. It included its Production Finance Market backed by Film London and "Power to The Pixel: The Cross-Media Film Forum."

It also saw the sophomore industry keynote speech delivered with passion, controversy and a little jostling designed to take industryites out of their comfort zone by filmmaker Ken Loach.

Festival Artistic Director Sandra Hebron said after Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" closed the festival two years ago, the makers of "127 Hours" had to "work even harder" to secure the same slot. "No festival likes to repeat itself. Luckily Danny Boyle doesn't as a filmmaker," Hebron said.