It is a great privilege to live in a place where the people of the world congregate. The UK is where people from many nations make their home. And in the hustle bustle of the streets of London is a cosmopolitan heart like no other capital. People come together to trade not just in goods but also, since the very earliest times, to trade stories.
The 60th BFI London Film Festival, brought to you in partnership with our wonderful friends at American Express, is the modern day version of the travellers’ tales. It is a window on the stories that individuals want to share with us so we can better understand their views, empathise with their experiences, be called to action.
It’s through stories from others that our understanding of the world is formed or we are persuaded to change.
Given the constant, often unexpected shifting sands today, perhaps film as the greatest storytelling medium invented can help humankind reach towards a common view. What makes the moving image so wonderful and so powerful is that no matter where you live or what you are watching on the screen, it has a common language, both culturally and creatively, that transcends borders.
Let’s put film at the heart of the negotiation process.
Prepare to have your perspective challenged. See you at the BFI London Film Festival for all the stories of the world. With 380 features and shorts from 74 countries to choose from, your mind will overflow.
Chief Executive, BFI
Every film selected for the 60th BFI London Film Festival is chosen on the basis that the programme team believes in it, recognises something exceptional about it. We want to champion these filmmakers. We want to inspire, challenge and entertain audiences. We look for cinema that reaches beyond our own experience, into new worlds and invented narratives. And we actively seek out diversity, believing that all people have a desire, indeed a right, to see their stories on screen.
Immediately following the Festival, the BFI will launch the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors – Black Star.
We want to amplify the ambitions and the purpose of the Black Star programme at the Festival. Not only to celebrate black acting achievements, but to ask the searching questions that underpin this season. Questions about opportunity and aspiration, about the power to decide. Questions that have become increasingly urgent over the course of this year, intensified by the Black Lives Matter movement and by world events, including those close to home.
Through this lens and with over 240 feature films from around the world to choose from, let me draw your attention first to our Opening Night film, Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, the defiant and enduring interracial love story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams. From our galas and special presentations, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, the inspirational story of young Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi; Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, a tour-de-force portrayal of the life of African-American slave Nat Turner; Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, a rage-fuelled hip-hop musical; Ava duVernay’s The 13th, a scorching expose of the US criminal justice system. And from our Official Competition selection, Barry Jenkin’s emotionally powerful, richly evocative Moonlight and Ivan Sen’s slow-burn thriller, Goldstone.
LFF’s expanding industry programme will probe the questions posed by Black Star with an agenda-setting Symposium, bringing together leading international filmmakers and industry professionals to ask why opportunities for black actors remain limited and what more can be done to effect positive change. And our intensive four day professional development programme NET.WORK@LFF for exciting new and emerging UK-based writers and directors will be supporting BAME filmmakers for its 2016 edition.
In this, our 60th anniversary year, we are thrilled to be introducing a new, purpose-built venue at Victoria Embankment Gardens, which will be the screening home of our Official Competition and Strand Gala premieres.
See you in the park!
Festival Director, BFI London Film Festival
60th BFI London Film Festival thanks:
This year, the BFI London Film Festival celebrates its 60th anniversary. There are many organisations and individuals who have contributed to the Festival’s long and prosperous journey. We thank you all and in particular our principal partner, American Express, whose continued commitment to the Festival has enabled so much of our recent growth and success.
We thank the Festival team, past and present, for unending passion and dedication. Most of all, we thank and congratulate the filmmakers who entrust us with their films. It is a privilege to bring them to audiences and to share with you everything our fine city has to offer.
We are delighted to renew our partnership with the BFI London Film Festival as it brings the very best in cinema to our capital this October. American Express has been a long-time supporter of film, championing home-grown talent and we are excited to be part of this year’s event.
Rafael Marquez, UK Managing Director,