The Festival opened with Steve McQueen’s Mangrove screening for free in 13 cinemas across the UK, and as a surprise late addition, also presented Lovers Rock at BFI Southbank. Both films are from McQueen’s Small Axe anthology for BBC1.
The Festival closed with the Virtual LFF Audience Awards Ceremony and Francis Lee’s highly anticipated Ammonite. The film, a fictionalised account of 19th century paleontologist Mary Anning starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, was preceded by a virtual introduction from Lee and the key cast.
Over 12 days, this edition of the Festival was more accessible to audiences around the UK than ever, with 54 virtual premieres and 17 in-cinema premieres at BFI Southbank and 12 partner cinemas across the country. The Festival achieved audiences of over 141,253 for both physical and virtual screenings and XR programme attendances across public, education and press and industry screenings. The entire events and talks programme was delivered digitally for the first time ever and achieved over 174,285 engagements, with highlights including over 8K views of Tsai Ming-liang’s Screen Talk, nearly 9K views of the Female Horror panel and 11K views of Riz Ahmed’s Screen Talk across all platforms. All events were closed captioned and most included BSL interpretation. The Festival was also accessed virtually across the UK with over 40% coming from outside of London and from key cities with Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester seeing the biggest audiences.
Virtual LFF Audience Awards
Thomas Vinterberg won the Best Film award for Another Round, the story of four school teachers who test the theory that a regular tipple is the key to unlocking the best version of yourself.
The stranger-than-fiction tale, The Painter and Thief, from Norweigan filmmaker Benjamin Ree, won the prize for Best Documentary.
Emerging British filmmaker Tommy Gillard has won Best Short Film for Shuttlecock.
The inaugural Best XR/Immersive Art award went to Anna West and David Callanan for To Miss The Ending.
Wildfire director Cathy Brady was presented with The IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI, with £50,000 awarded to a first or second-time UK filmmaker.
Missed it live? Catch up on the highlights on Twitter or Facebook and the whole ceremony on BFI YouTube.
It's a Wrap
54 virtual premieres on BFI Player and 17 physical premieres at BFI Southbank and 12 partner cinemas across the UK
141,253 viewed films online and in cinemas
174,285 viewed the online talks and events programme
40% of BFI Player views were from outside of London
The closing Film, Ammonite, played at 350 cinemas and was the UK’s number one film that day with nearly 14,000 admissions
Together, these figures make attendances at the 2020 LFF the highest on record.