London Film Festival unveils lineup

52nd edition includes 189 features and 108 shorts

LONDON -- Oliver Stone's "W." and Rian Johnson's "The Brothers Bloom" will both premiere in gala slots at next month's 52nd BFI London Film Festival.

A short clip of Stone's much-anticipated "true portrait" of outgoing President Bush had a theater auditorium packed for the press launch braying for more Wednesday as organizers took the wraps off this year's lineup.

Other gala highlights include Marc Forster's first outing as a Bond director, "Quantum of Solace," and Stephan Elliott's period romp "Easy Virtue," based on Noel Coward's 1920s social comedy.

Artistic director Sandra Hebron said that, despite all the negative press and downbeat reaction out of the recently wrapped Venice Film Festival, cinema is in fine health and her event had plenty of quality to choose from for its lineup.

Hebron said this year's event will have an "unprecedented" number of premieres and that London benefited from "not having the constraints put on other A-list competitive festivals."

Organizers said that this year's festival, which is set for Oct. 15-30, will feature 15 world premieres, including Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon," which opens the shindig, and "1 2 3 4" from director Giles Borg.

Another 12 titles will make their international bow, with Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's "Sugar," Ketan Mehta's "Colours of Passion" and Nanette Burstein's "American Teen" all featuring.

Palme d'Or winner "The Class" from Lauren Cantet takes a gala slot, while Steve McQueen's "Hunger," another winner at this year's Festival de Cannes, also getting the red carpet treatment here.

Alex Gibney's "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" takes this year's documentary gala slot.

This year's festival includes 189 features and 108 shorts as well as a host of screen talks, masterclasses and live events.

The festival winds up with Danny Boyle's love story set in the Indian slums, "Slumdog Millionaire."

In addition to Boyle, British filmmaking talent is strongly represented with Richard Jobson's "New Town Killers," "Better Things" from writer-director Duane Hopkins and Mike Figgis' "Love Live Long."

Galas and special screenings

"W.," Oliver Stone
"Genova," Michael Winterbottom
"Waltz With Bashir," Ari Folman
"Quantum of Solace," Marc Forster
"The Other Man," Richard Eyre
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona," Woody Allen
"The Brothers Bloom," Rian Johnson
"Easy Virtue," Stephan Elliott
"Che (Part 1 & Part 2)," Steven Soderbergh
"The Class," Laurent Cantet
"Hunger," Steve McQueen
"Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson," Alex Gibney
"The Secret of Moonacre," Gabor Csupo

Click here for a complete list of London Film Festival titles.