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BFI London Film Festival FAQ

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, runs 2-13 October 2019.

The programme guide and the calendar are available as downloadable pdfs. You can also pick up a copy of the printed edition from BFI Southbank and other participating venues in London.

Follow the links below to find answers to frequently asked questions about the Festival.

Ticket booking
Booking troubleshooter
Ticket prices
Age restrictions
Festival venues

Ticket booking

When do I book tickets to the Festival?

Tue 3 Sep – Patrons at 10:00
Wed 4 Sep – Champions at 10:00
Thu 5 Sep – Members at 10:00
Thu 12 Sep – Public at 10:00

How do I book tickets to the Festival?

Log in or create an account to book
Phone: 020 7928 3232* (10.00-20.30 daily 3 September–13 October)
In person: BFI Southbank (11:00-20:30) (opens at 10:00 on 3, 4, 5, and 12 Sep)

*We also offer a dedicated telephone line for those with special access requirements. Please call 020 7960 2102 (10.00-20.30 daily 3 September–13 October).

Tickets are released simultaneously across all booking methods – online, phone and in person. Members are also able to book by post using this form. For the best chance of getting the tickets you want, we recommend that you book online as soon as your booking opens. Festival tickets are very popular so please expect waiting time when booking. Thank you for your patience.

If you’ve not booked with us before, you’ll need to create an online account. If you have not booked with us recently, we recommend that you check your log in before booking opens. Please also check that any saved payment details are up to date to avoid delays to your booking. If you have any log in issues, please email box.office@bfi.org.uk.

Members can download a Member booking guide and postal booking form. Printed copies are also available on request at the Ticket Office at BFI Southbank.

How do I book tickets to the Opening and Closing Night Galas?

Opening and Closing Night Galas at Embankment Garden Cinema are subject to ballot for BFI Champions and Members. (Tickets to the Galas at Odeon Leicester Square are for invited industry guests only and are not available to purchase.) Any tickets not allocated through the ballot will be available when public booking opens. Champions and Members can enter the ballot online - the ballot is now closed.

Thu 29 Aug - ballot opens at 12:00 noon (online and post only)
Wed 11 Sep – ballot closes at 12:00 midnight
All entrants will be informed if they’ve been successful within a week of the ballot closing.

What happens if I’m successful in the ticket ballot?

If you’re successful, you’ll be asked to contact the Ticket Office on 020 7928 3232 to confirm your booking and to pay for your ticket(s) before 20:30 on Sun 22 September. Any unclaimed ballot tickets will be released for sale on Thu 26 September. If you apply by post, you’ll automatically be charged and sent the ticket(s) if you’re successful.

When will I get my tickets by post?

If you chose to have your tickets posted to you when you booked tickets during the priority booking period, they’ll be mailed out to you by Monday 23 September. If you’ve not received them by 1 October, please call the Box Office on 020 7928 3232.

You’ll need to collect tickets for any bookings made less than ten days before the event/screening date.

Where can I collect my tickets?

If you choose to collect your tickets then they’ll be available to collect from BFI Southbank immediately (open 11.00-20.30 daily). Alternatively, during the Festival, 2-13 October, you can also collect as follows:

BFI Southbank: 11:00-20:30 (opens at 10:00 on 3, 4, 5, and 12 Sep)
BFI Ticket Booth in Leicester Square: 10.00-21.00 daily
Embankment Garden Cinema: 10.30-21.00 daily

You can also collect from the relevant venue on the day of the event or screening from 45 minutes before the advertised start time.

Please note that you’ll need to collect tickets for any bookings made fewer than ten days before the event/screening date as they will not be posted.

Will I get all the tickets I want?

Festival tickets are very popular and we expect that many screenings and events will sell out before public booking opens. Priority booking offers the best chance of getting Festival tickets but doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get all the tickets you want. We recommend booking online as we can handle a very high volume of bookings at the same time by this method.

Will there be any more tickets released to sell-out events?

We expect many events and screenings to sell-out before public booking opens. A limited number of tickets are reserved for the principal partner of the Festival, American Express, and will be released for sale to American Express card members on Tuesday 10 September so do look out for their promotions.

Tickets that are returned to us by our partners will be released on Thursday 26 September so do check the website on that date. Alternatively, you can try your luck in the returns queue 45 minutes before each screening at the Box Office at each venue. For Embankment Garden Cinema, there will be a dedicated box office on site. For Odeon Leicester Square and Vue Cinemas stand-by queues please go to the BFI mobile box office located in Leicester Square Gardens.

How can I pay for Festival tickets?

You can pay for your tickets by debit or credit card. We accept American Express, Switch, Maestro, Visa and Mastercard. You can pay by cash in person at the Ticket Office. Sorry but we cannot accept cheques. 

BFI Champions and Members can redeem credit on account against Festival tickets when booking by telephone or in person only. Please note that Member ticket vouchers are only valid for standard-priced BFI Southbank tickets and not for BFI Festival tickets.

How much are Festival tickets?

See our ticket prices for information.

Films marked for the Discovery Pass are 3 for £30. Please enter the code DISCOVER before purchasing.

Films in the Experimenta strand are 3 for £21. Please enter the code EXPERIMENTA before purchasing.

£5 Rush tickets for those aged 16-25 and the unwaged can be purchased at the venue box office 45 minutes before screenings, subject to availability and proof of eligibility.

Are there any tickets discounts?

Concession tickets are available to Seniors, Students, unwaged and disabled visitors for certain screenings. Find out more about concession tickets.

There are no Member discounts on Festival tickets. Champions and Members should still select Champion and Member tickets when booking online to avoid booking fee charges.

Can I return my Festival tickets?

We’re not able to offer returns, refunds or exchanges on Festival tickets to any customers including BFI Champions and Members.

Can I resell my Festival tickets?

Tickets may not be resold for higher than 20% above the face value displayed, and upon discovery, any such action may result in cancellation of the original booking by the BFI.

Can I pay for my tickets using credit on account?

BFI Champions and Members can redeem credit on account against Festival tickets when booking by telephone or in person only. Please note that Member ticket vouchers are only valid for standard-priced BFI Southbank tickets and not for BFI Festival tickets.

How many tickets can I book?

During the priority booking period, you can book up to two tickets per performance or up to four tickets if it is a family film or event. You can book an unlimited number of tickets once booking opens to the public from 10:00 on 12 September.

How many performances can I book?

You can book tickets to as many performances as you like in the same transaction as long as your session remains active and is completed within the session time displayed at the top of the screen.

Booking troubleshooter

I selected a seat but couldn’t add it to my basket. Why?

Our system can handle a high volume of simultaneous bookers so it’s possible you selected the same seat(s) as another booker at the same time. Tickets are only secured once they’ve been successfully added to your basket and you’ve completed the transaction.

My session timed out and I lost the tickets from my basket. Why?

Once you’ve added tickets to your basket, you’ll have a set amount of time to complete your booking before your session times out. The remaining time is displayed in the top right hand corner of the Shopping Basket screen. However, your browser could time out your session earlier if there’s no activity. This is for your data security and the inactive time allowed varies across browsers. We recommend that you keep refreshing the page once you start booking to stop your browser from timing out. If your session times out, you’ll lose tickets that you’ve added to your basket.

Can I book tickets to the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Southbank at the same time?

It’s not possible to book tickets to both these programmes in the same transaction. The Festival has a separate website to ensure we can manage the increased volume of bookers. The system will recognise your online account at both sites, but please make sure that you log in to My Account at the relevant homepage to access the tickets you want. For Festival tickets, log in at bfi.org.uk/myfestival and for BFI Southbank tickets, log in at bfi.org.uk/myaccount.

How do I reset my password?

If you’ve forgotten your password, please follow the links to request an automated reset at bfi.org.uk/myaccount. You will receive an interim password at the email you have registered as your username on your account. Please check your Junk folder if this does not arrive within a few minutes. When you log in with this interim password, you will be prompted to create a more memorable password.

Please note that passwords must contain at least five characters, one digit and one lower and upper case letter. You’ll not be able to use the last three passwords. If you have any issues, please email box.office@bfi.org.uk or call 020 7928 3232.

How do I know my username?

Your username is the email address that you used to create your online account. If you provided an email address when joining or booking by telephone or in person then an online account will have been created automatically for you. In this instance, please follow the steps to reset your password. If your email address is not recognised at log in then your username will need to be reset by our box office team. If you have any issues, please email box.office@bfi.org.uk or call 020 7928 3232.

I’m locked out of my online account – how do I unlock it?

For security reasons, your online account will be locked after a number of failed log ins. If you get a message on screen to say your account is locked then your account will need to be unlocked by our box office team. If you have any issues, please email box.office@bfi.org.uk or call 020 7928 3232.

I’m having browser issues when booking online – what shall I do?

You may experience display issues in some browsers and you may be prompted to upgrade your browser. Please upgrade to the highest version of your browser. Tests have shown that the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox work well and if you’re using Internet Explorer you will need to upgrade to Version 9 or above. Sorry for any inconvenience.

I’m having difficulty selecting tickets on the seating plan online – what shall I do?

This is most likely due to a browser issue so you may need to upgrade to the latest version of your browser (see above). Alternatively, please select the Best Seats Available tab and the system will allocate seats to your booking but please be aware that these seats will not be together if there are only single seats remaining.

My saved card has expired, what do I do?

If you’ve saved card details to your online account and the card has expired, it could cause issues when booking online. If you have any issues, please call the Box Office on 020 7928 3232 or email box.office@bfi.org.uk to request that your expired card be deleted.

Ticket prices

Please see our ticket prices page for a complete list of prices by venue and screening type.


BFI Patrons, Champions and Members enjoy priority access to Festival tickets as well as other great film benefits throughout the year. Find details at bfi.org.uk/join

How do I join?

You can become a BFI Member from as little as £37 at bfi.org.uk/join.

Please note that priority booking does not guarantee that you’ll get all the tickets that you want and Membership is not transferrable or refundable.

Do Champion Members enjoy extra priority booking?

Priority booking for BFI Champions opens 24 hours ahead of BFI Members. Champions also receive four new release BFI DVDs along with invitations to four exclusive events throughout the year. You can join as a Champion for as little as £243 at bfi.org.uk/join.

I’m a Member. How do I upgrade to Champion Membership?

If you’re already a Member and you’d like to enjoy the extra benefits of Champion Membership, including an extra 24 hours of Festival priority booking, you can upgrade for only £212 at bfi.org.uk/bfi-members/renew-your-membership/bfi-champion-upgrade.

My Membership has lapsed, how do I renew to get priority booking?

If your Membership has lapsed and you’d like to take advantage of Festival priority booking, we recommend that you become a BFI Member again at bfi.org.uk/join. You’ll be prompted to log in with your email (username) and password so please try to use the same details as previously to avoid creating a duplicate on the system. If you have any issues logging in, please email box.office@bfi.org.uk.

Please note that once you’ve completed this transaction, you will need to log in again to priority book tickets at bfi.org.uk/lff.

I have just joined the BFI, when can I take advantage of benefits?

You can start priority booking and apply to the ballot straight away. Please note that if you’ve just joined online, you’ll need to log in again to priority book tickets at bfi.org.uk/lff.

To book online, you’ll need an online account that will have been created automatically as long as you provided an email address when you joined. You can log in by entering the same email address as your username. If you don’t know your password, please request a password reset at log in. If you have any log in issues, please email box.office@bfi.org.uk or call 020 7928 3232.

Find details of all that’s on offer to you at bfi.org.uk/members.

I am a Member, when will I receive my Festival guide by post?

Guides will be mailed as soon as the programme is announced on Thursday 29 August. We cannot guarantee delivery before priority booking opens so we recommend that you browse the programme online or download the guide and calendar pdfs. Please note that Guides will not be mailed to those whose current Membership starts after Thursday 22 August or to anyone who signed up to Paperfree Membership and/or has opted out of receiving them. Guides will be available to collect from BFI Southbank after midday on Thursday 29 August.

I am a Member but I can’t access priority booking when I log in – what do I do?

Always login with your email (username) and password at bfi.org.uk/lff before you start booking to ensure you can access your benefits. Once you’re logged in, you should see Member or Champion displayed on the top navigation bar if the system has recognised your Membership. If you log in and your Membership level is not displayed it is possible that we have a duplicate record in your name so please call the Box Office on 020 7928 3232 or email box.office@bfi.org.uk.

Will you let us know about new additions to the programme?

Whenever time allows, we will email Members and Champions before the public to let them know first about a new addition to the programme. We also send updates to our Festival email list – please sign up to receive these at bfi.org.uk/lff.

How do I feedback?

We are always happy to receive feedback so we can improve our services. If you would like to feedback about your Membership, please get in touch with us at membership@bfi.org.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. For all other feedback, please visit our help and FAQ pages.


Accessibility at BFI Southbank

• BFI Southbank is fully wheelchair accessible.
• There are induction loop facilities for the hard of hearing available in three screens.
• Films with Audio Description and subtitles are marked in the guide and pop-up information will be displayed when selecting seats • Guide dogs welcome (please inform Box Office in advance).
• Disabled parking available at some venues.

Find out more about access at BFI Southbank.

Call 020 7960 2102 (10:00-20:30 daily 3 September-13 October) if you have any further access queries.

Accessibility at Festival venues

Each venue participating in the festival has its own access policy. See the overview of venue accessibility or our individual venue pages for more detailed access information. All venues are accessible for wheelchair users except Odeon Tottenham Court Road, Prince Charles Cinema, Empire Haymarket and for wheelchairs over 250kg Curzon Mayfair. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Accessible screenings

You can find out more about accessible screenings on our access at the Festival page.

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Flashing Images

Certain events or screenings during the festival may make limited use of flashing images. Pop-up information will be displayed when selecting seats. If this is a concern please contact the BFI Box Office to discuss further on 020 7928 3232.

Age restrictions

Children under 15 are not permitted to attend any Festival screenings unless the film has received a lower BBFC certificate or is part of our designated family strand. All screenings marked ‘F’ on the Festival Calendar are suitable for families.

Some films in the Festival programme are only suitable for over 18s due to graphic content. Films containing graphic material are indicated as clearly as possible on our website and will be flagged when purchasing tickets. More detailed information about the nature of individual works can be found in our brochure programme notes.

Festival venues

The BFI London Film Festival is based at the BFI Southbank, but it also takes place at a number of venues across the city. Please make sure you check the location of any screening you plan to attend beforehand. Your confirmation email and ticket will both specify the venue.

You can find this year’s participating venues on our venue pages.

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