Home Movies No Audiences Please, We’re British: London BFI October Film Festival Will Be...

Finally, people with common sense!

The BFI London Film Festival, set for October, will be virtual. They’re not kidding us or themselves that there could be premieres or screenings or guests flying in from around the world. I’m impressed. The other film festivals are still pretending it’s business as usual.

The press release: “Adapting to the extraordinary challenges of the year, the Festival will deliver up to 50 Virtual Festival Premieres in a programme that offers audiences the opportunity to see the best new cinema from around the world and with that same texture LFF’s audiences love, including fiction, documentary, animation, artists’ moving image, and restored classics from the world’s archives. Every film will be presented with an intro or Q&A, and the programme will also include a range of free-to-access additional works and events to include: an international short film programme, Screen Talks with major filmmakers and actors, salons and roundtables and a brand new Virtual Exhibition of XR and Immersive Art.”

This year only there will be no jury. The audience will take the place of the jury instead. Viewers attending Virtual LFF will be invited to vote on Audience Awards in four categories: Best Fiction Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, and Best XR.  The winners will be announced in a live online ceremony on the final weekend of the Festival.

BFI London Film Festival Director, Tricia Tuttle said: Like many other live events around the world, we’ve had to make changes to our plans in response to a global pandemic, factoring in safety concerns and restrictions – some known, some still unclear. But as we’ve undergone this planning we’ve also witnessed historical international protests, an urgent reminder of just how much we need to do to combat racism and inequality.

This year has also given us an opportunity to think creatively about how we make the Festival more accessible. It was vital to us that we get back to cinemas, and are looking forward to working with independent and cultural venues across the UK who are such an essential part of our film ecosystem. The Virtual LFF programmes and these cinema screenings take the Festival out across the UK, giving people opportunities to engage in different ways.

It’s a pleasure each year to speak with audiences who share the ways filmmakers have made them laugh, think, weep, or shifted their way of seeing. Through a number of partnerships and platforms, we can’t wait to share many of this year’s extraordinary new films – from around the world, from artists of different backgrounds and with many bold distinctive filmmaking voices.”

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