London Film Fest: Awards Season Hopeful 'Suffragette' to Open 2015 Edition

Suffragette, Carey Mulligan

Meryl Streep and fellow stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter are expected to attend on Oct. 7.

Having sparked some serious political debate last year with The Imitation Game, the London Film Festival is once again taking up an examination of Britain’s less-celebrated contemporary history as its opening-night film. 

This year’s festival will kick off on Oct. 7 with the European premiere of Suffragette, the all-star drama and awards season hopeful focusing on the U.K.'s early feminist movement at the start of the 20th century and the women who put their lives at risk, fighting against the state for equality. The story centers on one such radicalized “foot soldier," Maud, played by Carey Mulligan.

Announced Wednesday, the opening night screening at London’s Leicester Square is set to be attended by Mulligan, plus fellow Suffragette stars Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter. Streep plays the real life suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst.

"Suffragette is an urgent and compelling film — made by British women about British women who changed the course of history, and it is, quite simply, a film that everyone must see," said festival director Clare Stewart.

Directed by Sarah Gavron, returning to the festival for a third time, and written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), Suffragette last year became the first film in history to be shot at the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament. It is produced by Faye Ward and Alison Owen through their former outfit Ruby Films for Pathe, Film4 and the BFI, in association with Redgill Productions and with the participation of Canal+ and Cine-Cinema.

Focus Features is set to release Suffragette in the U.S. on Oct. 23, while Pathe has an Oct. 30 launch scheduled for the U.K, with both dates putting the film in prime awards-season territory.

The London Film Festival will run until Oct. 18, with the full lineup due to be announced on Sept. 1.