COMING SOON: The 58th BFI London Film Festival 2014


58th BFI London Film Festival
Wednesday 8th to Sunday 19th October 2014

This year’s BFI London Film Festival promises to be one of the most exciting yet. It has a stunning line-up of the best of the festival winners and new work from around the world: and its scheduling in October is at a crucially important time in the run-up to the awards season.

It’s a time of great potential in the British film industry, but the 58th festival doesn’t just reflect on the recent successes of film in Britain. It also looks at the bigger picture, says BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill – British film’s ambitions in the wider international context. And at the packed-out launch to industry and press at the Odeon Leicester Square, festival director Clare Stewart presented a quick-fire preview of the wide-ranging programme and some of the stars who’ll be walking up the red carpet.


Interestingly, the programme is bookended in its opening and closing galas by two films about World War II. The Opening Night Gala on 8th October is The Imitation Game, an engrossing drama directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as wartime codebreaker and pioneer of modern computing Alan Turing, who invented the Enigma machine. And the Closing Night Drama is the US take on the war in Fury, directed by David Ayer of End of Watch, with an extraordinary performance from Brad Pitt as a battle-hardened tank commander on a mission behind enemy lines in Europe.


The American Express Gala is Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multimillionaire and two champion wrestlers, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. The Accenture Gala is Damien Chazelle’s audacious thriller Whiplash, about a young jazz drummer under the tutelage of a ruthless and fearsome maestro starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. The Virgin Atlantic Gala will present the European Premiere of Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children starring Adam Sandler and Ansel Elgort with a racy voiceover by Emma Thompson. The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European Premiere of Jean-Marc Vallée’s biopic-drama Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary account of her 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trails. The Centrepiece Gala is the World Premiere of James Kent’s Testament Of Youth based on Vera Brittain’s memoir of World War 1 starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson and Dominic West. The Festival Gala is Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner starring Timothy Spall as the great British artist J.M.W. Turner, whose paintings evoked the moving image before there was cinema. The Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of Walter Summers’ The Battles Of Coronel And Falkland Islands.

The nine programme strands are each headlined with a gala, they are:
Love Gala, Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos (European Premiere)
Debate Gala, Jon Stewart’s Rosewater (European Premiere)
Dare Gala, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy
Laugh Gala, Damián Szifron’s Wild Tales
Thrill Gala, Kristian Levring’s The Salvation
Cult Gala, Jacob Cheung’s The White Haired Witch Of Lunar Kingdom (International Premiere)
Journey Gala, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep
Family Gala, Tomm Moore’s Song Of The Sea (European Premiere)
Sonic Gala, Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton’s concert film Björk: Biophilia Live

Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Dearest
Peter Strickland, The Duke Of Burgundy (European Premiere)
Carol Morley, The Falling (World Premiere)
Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Céline Sciamma, Girlhood
Daniel Barber, The Keeping Room (European Premiere)
Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan
François Ozon, The New Girlfriend
Christian Petzold, Phoenix
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, The President
Julius Avery, Son Of A Gun (European Premiere)
Abderrahmane Sissako, Timbuktu

Competing for the Sutherland Award are:
Yann Demange, ‘71
Josephine Decker, Butter On The Latch
Daniel Wolfe, Matthew Wolfe, Catch Me Daddy
Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Difret
Franco Lolli, Gente De Bien
Guy Myhill, The Goob
Adityavikram Sengupta, Labour Of Love
Sudabeh Mortezai, Macondo
Debbie Tucker Green, Second Coming
Ester Martin Bergsmark, Something Must Break
Naji Abu Nowar, Theeb
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, The Tribe

Competing for the Grierson Award are:
Nadav Schirman, The Green Prince
Jean-François Caissy, Guidelines
Randall Wright, Hockney (World Premiere)
Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado, The Immortalists (European Premiere)
Ulrich Seidl, In The Basement
Sergei Loznitsa, Maidan
Frederick Wiseman, National Gallery
Sabine Lubbe Bakker & Niels van Koevorden, Ne Me Quitte Pas
Edward Lovelace & James Hall, The Possibilities Are Endless (European Premiere)
Ossama Mohammed & Wiam Simav Bedirxan, Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait
Debra Granik, Stray Dog
Lynette Wallworth, Tender (European Premiere)

This year’s nominees are:
Guy Myhill – Writer/Director The Goob
Florence Pugh – Supporting Actor The Falling
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Actor Catch Me Daddy
Rebecca Johnson – Writer/Director Honeytrap
Taron Egerton – Actor Testament Of Youth
Daniel Wolfe & Matthew Wolfe – Writers/Directors Catch Me Daddy
Alex Lawther – Supporting Actor The Imitation Game

As well as film screenings, there will be a plethora of events and masterclasses including Screen Talks with filmmakers Bennett Miller and Abderrahmane Sissako; Masterclasses with production designer Maria Djurkovic and documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman and three events to celebrate DreamWorks Animation Studios turning 20 in October.

And for lovers of statistics, at the festival there will be:

245 new fiction and documentary features
148 live action and animated short films
Films from 70 countries
16 world premieres
9 international premiers
38 European premieres
19 archive films including 2 restoration world premieres

And from the UK:
39 UK features
59 UK shorts

The BFI London Film Festival experience can also be enjoyed UK-wide on the BFI Player, the BFI’s web VOD service, featuring a Festival digital channel showing regular red carpet action and filmmaker interviews.


Join the discussion