BFI London Film Festival unveils 2018 line-up


Suspira, If Beale Street Could Talk, Beautiful Boy, Colette c Annapurna Pictures, Amazon, Lionsgate

The BFI London Film Festival (LFF, 10-21 October) has revealed the full line-up of 225 feature films for its 62nd edition. This year’s festival will screen 21 world premieres, nine international premieres, and 29 European premieres. 

Headline galas

The 2018 headline galas, which will be presented each night at Cineworld Leicester Square, are:

  • The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs dir. The Coen Brothers
  • Beautiful Boy dir. Felix Van Groeningen
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? dir. Marielle Heller
  • Colette dir. Wash Westmoreland
  • The Front Runner dir. Jason Reitman
  • Life Itself dir. Dan Fogelman
  • Outlaw King dir. David Mackenzie
  • A Private War dir. Matthew Heineman
  • Suspiria dir. Luca Guadagnino

They join the previously announced headline galas, including Steve McQueen’s Widows, which opens the LFF on October 10, and Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie, which closes it 11 days later. Also announced is Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite (American Express gala).

Commenting on this year’s line-up, interim artistic director Tricia Tuttle (incumbent Clare Stewart is on sabbatical until December) said her key ambitions this year were “championing new female directors”, as well as creating space for British film. 

Across the whole programme, women directors make up 38% of the selection, and 30% of the feature selection. The line-up includes 39 titles that are UK films or co-productions with the UK, representing 17% of the programme. The total of 225 features is down from last year’s number of 248.

Strand galas and special presentations

Been so long new site

The 2018 strand galas will be presented at the 800-seat Embankment Garden Cinema, a temporary venue first built for the LFF in 2016. They are:

  • Assassination Nation (Cult) dir. Sam Levinson
  • Border (Dare) dir. Ali Abbasi
  • Burning (Thrill) dir. Lee Chang-dong
  • Capernaum (Debate) dir. Nadine Labaki
  • The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show (Archive)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Love Gala) dir. Barry Jenkins
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Laugh) dir. Terry Gilliam
  • Mirai (Family) dir. Mamoru Hosoda
  • ROMA (Journey) dir. Alfonso Cuarón
  • The White Crow (Create) dir. Ralph Fiennes

Tom Harper’s Wild Rose is the Festival gala.

This year LFF is hosting ten special presentations (two up on last year), which spotlight new work from major directors. Among the list is the world premiere of Park Chan-wook’s first television series, BBC and AMC production The Little Drummer Girl

  • Been So Long dir. Tinge Krishnan
  • Fahrenheit 11/9 dir. Michael Moore
  • The Hate U Give dir. George Tillman Jr
  • The Little Drummer Girl dir. Park Chan-wook
  • Out Of Blue dir. Carol Morley
  • Aquarela dir. Viktor Kossakovsky
  • Make Me Up dir. Rachel Maclean
  • Rafiki dir. Wanuri Kahiu (BFI Flare Special Presentation)

The previously announced special presentations are Mike Leigh’s Peterloo in Manchester, the first LFF premiere hosted outside London; and Peter Jackson’s WW1 documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.

Competition

sunset c playtime

Ten films, announced yesterday, will compete in the festival’s Official Competition for the Best Film Award (for inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking), while the winners of the First Feature and Documentary Competitions will respectively receive the Sutherland and Grierson Awards.

Half of the ten Competition films have either a female director or co-director. For the first time this year, the Best Film winner will receive their award in front of the public at a screening on Saturday October 20 at Vue Leicester Square. 

Official Competition line-up:

  • Birds Of Passage dirs. Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
  • Destroyer dir. Karyn Kusama
  • Happy As Lazzaro dir. Alice Rohrwacher
  • Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. dir. Ben Wheatley
  • In Fabric dir. Peter Strickland
  • Joy dir. Sudabeh Mortezai
  • The Old Man & The Gun dir. David Lowery
  • Shadow dir. Zhang Yimou
  • Sunset dir. László Nemes
  • Too Late To Die Young dir. Dominga Sotomayor

First feature competition:

  • The Chambermaid dir. Lila Avilés
  • The Day I Lost My Shadow dir. Soudade Kaadan
  • Dead Pigs dir. Cathy Yan
  • Girl dir. Lukas Dhont
  • Holiday dir. Isabella Eklöf
  • Journey To A Mother’s Room dir. Celia Rico Clavellino
  • Only You dir. Harry Wootliff
  • Ray & Liz dir. Richard Billingham
  • Soni dir. Ivan Ayr
  • Wildlife dir. Paul Dano

Documentary competition titles:

  • Bisbee ’17 dir. Robert Greene
  • Dream Away dir. Marouan Omara And Johanna Domke
  • Evelyn dir. Orlando Von Einsiedel
  • John dir. Julien Farau
  • The Plan That Came From The Bottom Up dir. Steve Sprung
  • Putin’s Witnesses dir. Vitaly Mansky
  • What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire? dir. Robert Minervini
  • Young And Alive dir. Matthieu Bareyre

Other highlights this year include Screen Talks with Alfonso Cuarón, Keira Knightley and Lee Chang-Dong, and Connects Talks with Sir David Hare and Simon Amstell, whose film Benjamin is having its world premiere at the festival.

Key talent due to attend the Festival’s gala and special presentation screenings include: Steve McQueen, Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Jeff Pope, Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma Stone, Olivia Coleman, James Smith, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Liam Neeson, Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Melissa McCarthy, Knightley, Dominic West, Hugh Jackman, Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Ralph Fiennes and Peter Jackson.

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