October is an exciting time to be in, or a fan of, the film industry. Kicking off this past Wednesday, the London Film Festival provides twelve days of moving pictures. Being one of the great capitals of the film world, London is sure to deliver a stellar festival full of events, talks, panels, and most important of all, movies. Further, this year has already proven to be special as the festival kicked off with British director, Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips starring the iconic Tom Hanks.
When: October 9th to the 20th
Where: London, England
What: 234 fiction and documentary features will be screened at fifteen venues. Venues include: BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Renoir Cinema, Curzon Chelsea, and eleven others.
Opening/Closing Night: Tom Hanks bookends this festival with the opener Captain Phillips and closer, John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks. Both films work as a great display of Tom Hanks ability to star in larger budget Hollywood films (Captain Phillips, according to Box Office Mojo, had a production film budget of $55 million), as well as smaller budget independent films.
Gala: Other Gala films include, Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, and Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color presented at the festival’s Love Gala. As you may already know, the Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Blue is the Warmest Color directed by Abdellatif Kechiche has received much praise and controversy as its stars questioned the nature of their director’s approach to filming the movie’s graphic sex scenes. Most of the controversy came during the Toronto International Film Festival.
Sir Christopher Lee, or as you may know him, Dracula, will be awarded the BFI Fellowship. An iconic actor in every sense of the term, Sir Christopher Lee has appeared in hundreds of films, including big budget blockbusters such as Star Wars: Episode III. According to RottenTomatoes.com, his films have collectively grossed over three billion dollars.
Cheers, Sir Christopher Lee
Other Events: Educational programs, including free film screenings, panel events, The Festival Jury Project, will be consistent throughout the festival. Also, screen talks will be hosted with cinema greats such as Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, as well as a master class discussion with famed director Alfonso Cuarón along with a screening of his new sci-fi flick Gravity. The film, which stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, is the fifth collaboration between the director and legendary cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki. Already grossing $100 million world wide, the space drama is set for record returns.
Production Finance Market
Wednesday marked the opening of the Film London Production and Finance Market with a keynote address by Michael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics. With recent feature film hits such as Blue Jasmine, Mr. Barker shared his wisdom on how to successfully distribute and sell independent films. For example, Michael Barker claims SPC has survived the unstable indie market by “maintaining a conservative approach to revenue projections.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Barker also claims that patience is a virtue when creating an audience through word-of-mouth. In addition to this keynote address, the Sony Classics veteran will join Endgame Entertainment’s Doug Hansen and Start Motion Pictures’ Ben Browning in a panel on how film finance is being shaped by the emerging online market.
More on the Market:
In partnership with the BFI, the Film London Production Market is an excellent opportunity for producers, financiers, and distributors to land deals. FilmLondon.org describes it as:
“The Production Finance Market in association with the 57th BFI London Film Festival brings financiers together with producers and film-makers to make connections, forge partnerships and encourage mew film financing relationships.”Unique to this year, the micro-market will run alongside the event. The micro-market allows projects with film budgets of one million pounds or less to meet with potential financiers. Mr. Barker will also be running a master class for these filmmakers.