BFI London Film Festival 2020
October 7 - October 18
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic the 64th BFI London Film Festival will walk red carpets around the UK capital once more this October, in what organisers claim will be the most inclusive BFI London Film Festival yet.
From 7 to 18 October, there will be 50 Virtual Festival Premieres in a programme that will include fiction, animation, documentary and restored classics.
Each film will have either an introduction or a Q&A. The LFF programme will feature additional events including screen talks, a short film programme and a virtual exhibition of XR and Immersive Art.
History of the London Film Festival
What began as a dinner party discussion at the home of Film critic Dilys Powell bemoaning a lack of a quality film festival in the UK capital has grown into one of Europe’s premier film events. The first festival was held at the National Film Theatre (NFT), now called the BFI Southbank, in 1957. Initially the festival was conceived as a ‘festival of festival’ screening films that had claimed awards at Cannes, Venice and Berlin. The original screening was Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood. It was not until 1960 that the first British film, Karel Reisz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, was screened.
By the 1970s the festival had evolved to include many UK premiers. Now the London Film Festival is truly global featuring films from all continents at venues across London and not just on the Southbank. In its 60-something years, the BFI has seen actors and directors from around the world brave the Autumnal British weather to grace the red carpet.
BFI London Film Festival Premieres
The BFI plans to feature a dozen premieres at the BFI Southbank and other conemas across London, subject to UK Government COVID-19 regulations.
The full programme will be released on 9 September, 2020.
BFI Film Festival Highlights
Films screened at the 2019 festival included: Knives Out (Rian Johnson) a whodunit with Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Plummer; The Aeronauts (Tom Harper) which teams up Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones; A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (Marielle Heller) starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers; Greed (Michael Winterbottom) with Steve Coogan; Hope Gap (William Nicholson) starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy; and Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi). Ema by Chilean director Pablo Larraín will be the Festival Gala.
There will also be a series of Screen Talks consisting of interviews with major players in contemporary cinema. Lat year these included Rian Johnson, Lukas Moodysson and Kim Longinotto.
BFI London Film Festival Awards and Competitions
The BFI Film Festival has a number of awards of which the most prestigious is the Official Competition; nominations for the 2019 award were: Fanny Lye Deliver’d, Honey Boy, Lingua Franca, La Llorona, Moffie, Monos, The Other Lamb, The Perfect Candidate, Rose Plays Julie and Saint Maud. The Sutherland Award is for the first feature, and the Grierson Award for a documentary.
As a one off, this year’s festival will see the London Film Festival jury replaced by a Virtual LFF jury where all attendees can vote for the Best Fiction Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, and Best XR, with the winners in an online ceremony during the festival’s final weekend.
Alternatively for a more indie London film festivals, read our preview of the Raindance Film Festival in September.
Where is the BFI Film Festival?
In your living room, but also at the BFI Southbank.
BFI London Film Festival Tickets
To see prices and to purchase tickets for the festival, click here.
When is the 64th BFI London Film Festival?
From 7 to 18 October, 2020.
The full 63rd BFI London Film Festival programme
For the full programme, will appear here.
Cover image: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Mia Goth attend Premiere of Suspiria at BFI London Film Festival 2018. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI).