From 7 to 18 October the 64th BFI London Film Festival is available across the UK.

It will be the first ever edition of the festival to be widely accessible wherever you are in the UK, with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and cinema screenings across the land

Featuring twelve days of UK premieres available to enjoy online via BFI Player or in cinemas at BFI Southbank, around London, and throughout the UK. A Shorts, events and XR exhibition programs and an industry programme for professionals in the business.

TBB has pulled out our Feature Film recommendations for this year’s festival …

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7TH

Mangrove
Directed by Steve McQueen | Produced by Michael Elliott, Anita Overland | Written by Alastair Siddons, Steve McQueen
Featuring Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Jack Lowde

The Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill doubled as a community centre for Black Londoners to exchange ideas and to commune. As police brutality and harassment intensified, the Mangrove also became a site of resistance leading to the wrongful arrest for incitement to riot of nine local activists including Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright) and Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby).

Oscar-winner Steve McQueen’s depiction of the infamous 55-day trial is a moving instalment from his Small Axe anthology series, a collection of films that evoke memories, political events and a critical perspective on life for London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s. In this present moment, with its rallying cry for abolition, McQueen’s incredible cast deliver with great assurance a seminal moment in British history that also encapsulates the global Black struggle. – Tega Okiti

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 17:00 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 17:10 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 17:15 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 20:10 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 20:20 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 20:30 BST Book here
  • Watch at Barbican Book here | Watch at Broadway, Nottingham Book here| Watch at Cine Lumiere Book here | Watch at Curzon Mayfair Book here | Watch at Curzon Soho Book here | Watch at Glasgow Film Theatre Book here | Watch at HOME, Manchester Book here | Watch at ICA Book here | Watch at Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast Book here | Watch at Showroom, Sheffield Book here | Watch at Watershed, Bristol Book here


FRIDAY 9TH OCTOBER

Time
Directed by Garrett Bradley | Produced by Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn, Garrett Bradley

Fox Richardson has spent over 20 years campaigning for the release of her husband, who was sentenced to life without parole for a botched armed robbery. At the same time, she single-handedly raised six sensitive and bright sons. Garrett Bradley’s (America) feature showcases her tremendous talent and ambition, deftly combining home video archive and contemporary footage of Fox and her sons, presenting a remarkably resilient woman who transformed from being collateral damage of the US penal system into an inspirational campaigner.

Enhanced by stunning black and white photography and an evocative blues score, Time deservingly earned Bradley the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival. An epic personal journey of hardship and hope, it reveals the devastating effects of mass incarceration on Black communities in America. – Laure Bonville

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Friday 9 October 2020 – 18:00 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Friday 9 October 2020 – 18:15 BST Book here


SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH

Mogul Mowgli
Directed by Bassam Tariq | Produced by Thomas Benski, Bennett McGhee, Riz Ahmed, Michael Peay | Written by Bassam Tariq, Riz Ahmed | Featuring Riz Ahmed, Alyy Khan, Aiysha Hart

Although his cutting lyrics speak provocatively about identity politics, it is not until Zed (Ahmed) returns home after two years on tour that he is called by his real name: Zaheer. But it is the vulnerability of illness and his decreasing mobility that brings both focus and fragmentation – memories and hallucinations merge to the beat of Qawwali music and are haunted by fervent apparitions of a masked figure – conjuring the unspoken spectre of Partition, which looms large in his father’s unspoken words. Further bruising Zed’s ego is his nemesis – RPG, a young rapper whose face tattoos and crass lyrics bewilder him. Both a paean to the importance of cultural heritage and a sharply observed reflection on muscle memory, the richness of Tariq’s achievement lies in the details of this heady mosaic. – Elhum Shakerifar

  • Available to watch on BFI Player – (Closed captions available) From: Saturday 10 October 2020 – 18:30 BST – Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 18:30 BST. Book here.
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 – Saturday 10 October 2020 – 17:25 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Saturday 10 October 2020 – 17:40 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Saturday 10 October 2020 – 17:45 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Saturday 10 October 2020 – 20:15 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Saturday 10 October 2020 – 20:30 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Saturday 10 October 2020 – 20:45 BST Book here
  • Watch at Barbican Book here | Watch at Broadway, Nottingham Book here | Watch at Curzon Soho Book here | Watch at Glasgow Film Theatre Book here | Watch at Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast Book here | Watch at Showroom Book here | Watch at Watershed, Bristol Book here


Time
Enduring love and social justice lie at the heart of this poignant documentary about a mother’s battle for the release of her incarcerated husband.


SUNDAY OCTOBER 11TH

One Night in Miami…
Directed by Regina King | Produced by Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein | Written by Kemp Powers | Featuring Ben-Adir Kingsley, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr

Based on Kemp Powers’ award-winning stage play, One Night in Miami… is the imagined story of what followed 22-year-old Muhammad Ali’s (Eli Goree) 1964 victory over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Sat ringside are Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge).

The film explores the personal and political conflicts faced by the men — balancing their public image in a world where the pinnacle of success for a black person was to be a sportsperson or entertainer, alongside their drive to fight for black liberation. The conversations that followed were not without conflict and King’s depictions of their lives apart from each other is as much a testament to the strength of their character as it is the power of the film’s thrilling narrative. This was a meeting of minds on a historic night. Together they were to become more than the sum of their parts, opening up the civil rights conversation even as they acknowledged the backlash they faced. – Aduke King

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Sunday 11 October 2020 – 13:45 BST – Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Sunday 11 October 2020 – 14:00 BST – Book here
  • Watch at Watershed, Bristol Book here


I Am Samuel
Kenya 2020 | Directed by Pete Murimi | Produced by Toni Kamau, Pete Murimi

Samuel was born and raised on a farm in rural Kenya. Moving to its capital, Nairobi, he meets and falls in love with Alex. Samuel’s father, a preacher at his local village church a few miles from the capital, expects his son to marry and looks forward to the day when he brings home a daughter-in-law.

While Alex and Samuel’s love for each other thrives, they remain constantly aware of the shadows of violence creeping around them. After all, under the Kenyan constitution’s penal code, introduced by the British some 100 years ago, homosexual acts carry a 14-year prison sentence.

Director Pete Murimi’s nuanced drama is a moving portrait of two Kenyan men balancing the pressures of family loyalty, love, and a lifelong quest of acceptance. – Keith Shiri Available soon on BFI Player From: 15:50 BST Sunday 11 October 2020 – 15:50 BST Wednesday 14 October 2020 Book here


Eyimofe (This is My Desire)
Directed by Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri | Produced by Melissa Adeyemo, Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri | Written by Chuko Esiri | Featuring
Jude Akuwudike, Tomiwa Edun, Temi Ami-Williams

The rich tones and complex hues of the Esiri brothers’ striking portrait of migration highlights what is left behind. Set in Lagos and divided into the provocatively titled chapters ‘Spain’ and ‘Italy’, we follow Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), a factory technician, and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser as tragedy and survival fuel their desires for a better ‘life’ in Europe.

Captured with stoic precision on 16mm, Eyimofe (This is My Desire) resists the temptation of high drama to show the sprawling city and the forces that propel its unique social dynamic. The elegant directorial eye of Arie and Chuko Esiri combined with skillful performances from Akuwudike and Ami-Williams mark the film as another great contribution to the burgeoning independent Nigerian new wave. – Tega Okiti

  • Available soon on BFI Player From 15:50 BST Sunday 11 October 2020 – 15:50 BST Wednesday 14 October 2020 Book here


Soul
Directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers | Produced by Dana Murray | Written by Kemp Powers, Michael Jones | Featuring
Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad

Jamie Foxx is Joe Gardner, a music teacher who lives for his art. Just as his professional career is about to take off, a fateful mishap finds him embarking on an unexpected journey of self-discovery to The Great Before, an incredible place where new souls are born. Unfolding across a series of beautifully realised worlds, Soul takes a refreshing look at how we become ourselves.

With an all-star cast that includes Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett, and Tina Fey, Docter and co-director Kemp Powers along with producer Dana Murray have crafted a universal narrative that will appeal to all ages, and a universe that is as smart and life-affirming as it is funny and exciting. The perfect film for your heart, body, and, well…soul. – Justin Johnson

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Sunday 11 October 2020 – 16:40 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Sunday 11 October 2020 – 17:00 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Sunday 11 October 2020 – 17:10 BST Book here
  • Watch at Barbican Book here | Watch at Broadway, Nottingham Book here | Watch at Glasgow Film Theatre Book here | Watch at Showroom, Sheffield Book here | Watch at Watershed, Bristol Book here


Time
Enduring love and social justice lie at the heart of this poignant documentary about a mother’s battle for the release of her incarcerated husband.

  • Available on BFI Player Sunday 11 October 2020 14:10 – 14:40 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Sunday 11 October 2020 – 14:10 BST Book here
  • Watch at Cine Lumiere Book here | Watch at HOME, Manchester Book here | Watch at Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast Book here


MONDAY OCTOBER 12TH

Ultraviolence
Directed by Ken Fero | Produced by Ken Fero | Written by Tariq Mehmood

Since 1969, there have been over 2000 deaths in police custody in the UK. It is a frightening statistic that Ken Fero approaches with seasoned conviction. Ultraviolence employs unflinching archival footage to document the tragic and undignified deaths that took place between 1995 and 2005.

Victims include Fero’s classmate Brian Douglas and Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot and killed whilst travelling on the London underground. With intimate access to a variety of sources, Fero encounters families devastated by these killings and subsequently thwarted in their struggle for justice. Ultraviolence shows a corrupt system for failing UK citizens. An essential starting point in understanding the urgency felt amongst many UK social movements today, Fero’s film is all too prescient.

  • Available to watch on BFI Player )Monday 12 October 2020 18:30 – 19:00 Book here


One Night in Miami…
Four Black figures from recent US history meet in this visually stunning directorial debut from Academy Award-winning actor Regina King.

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Monday 12 October 2020 – 14:35 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Monday 12 October 2020 – 14:45 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Monday 12 October 2020 – 14:50 BST Book here


TUESDAY OCTOBER 13TH

One Man and His Shoes
Directed by Yemi Bamiro | Produced by Will Thorne

Yemi Bamiro follows his impressive short works with a debut feature documentary of scale – examining the cultural and commercial phenomena of Michael Jordan against the increasing commodification of Black culture and a lack of corporate accountability. A sportsman with once-in-a-generation talent, Jordan was held up as a symbol of Black progress; he had his own phenomenally successful trainer brand that made Nike one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Bamiro deftly charts the rise of Jordan against 80’s and 90’s pop-culture milestones: hip hop, Spike Lee, the emergence of the mega-watt and mega-rich sports personalities. He also highlights how brands became savvy manipulators of youth culture by stoking America’s toxic obsession with consumerism and celebrity in a climate of increasing class and race inequality.

  • Available to watch on BFI Player – (Closed captions available) From: 18:30 BST Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 18:30 BST Friday 16 October 2020. Book here


Mogul Mowgli – Bassam Tariq’s visceral directorial debut, co-written with Riz Ahmed, finds a British-Pakistani rapper’s life spiralling out of control when, on the cusp of success, he succumbs to a debilitating illness.

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 14:35 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 14:45 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 14:50 BST Book here
  • Watch at HOME, Manchester Book here | Watch at ICA Book here | Watch at Prince Charles Cinema Book here | Watch at Showroom, Sheffield Book here


Soul
Pete Docter writes and directs his first Pixar film since Inside Out. And this time he wonders where our core essence comes from.

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 17:50 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 18:00 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 18:10 BST Book here


Time
Enduring love and social justice lie at the heart of this poignant documentary about a mother’s battle for the release of her incarcerated husband.


WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 14TH

David Byrne’s American Utopia
Directed by Spike Lee | Produced by David Byrne, Spike Lee | Featuring David Byrne, Jaqueline Acevedo, Gustavo di Dalva

Do we get stupider as we grow up?’ In his wildly popular Broadway show American Utopia, Byrne reflects on human connections, life, and how on earth we work through it. He joins the dots with his music and it all starts making sense. Spike Lee here transforms the production into immersive, dynamic cinema that radiates with astounding performances, inventive contemporary dance, and political urgency. American Utopia flows like an iridescent dream vision.

Work by James Baldwin, Janelle Monáe, and Kurt Schwitters is highlighted among exhilarating renditions of Byrne’s solo work as well as Talking Heads classics. According to the multi-hyphenate, we love looking at humans more than anything else. Anti-fascist and anti-racist, Byrne illuminates our responsibility to care for one another as he and his co-performers burn down the house. – Sophie Brown

  • Available on BFI Player for free Wednesday 14 October 2020 20:45 – 21:15 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Wednesday 14 October 2020 – 20:10 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Wednesday 14 October 2020 – 20:20 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Wednesday 14 October 2020 – 20:30 BST Book here
  • Watch at Barbican Book here | Watch at Broadway, Nottingham Book here | Watch at Curzon Soho Book here | Watch at HOME Book here | Watch at Prince Charles Cinema Book here | Watch at Showroom, Sheffield Book here | Watch at Prince Charles Book here


THURSDAY OCTOBER 15TH

David Byrne’s American Utopia
Imagine if you could be front row, onstage even, for one of the most electrifying performances of David Byrne’s career? This must be the place.

  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT2 Thursday 15 October 2020 – 14:20 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT1 Thursday 15 October 2020 – 14:30 BST Book here
  • Screening at BFI Southbank – NFT3 Thursday 15 October 2020 – 14:40 BST Book here
  • Watch at Curzon Mayfair Book here | Watch at Glasgow Film Theatre Book here | Watch at ICA Book here | Watch at Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast Book here


Time
Enduring love and social justice lie at the heart of this poignant documentary about a mother’s battle for the release of her incarcerated husband.


FRIDAY OCTOBER 16TH

African Apocalypse
Directed by Rob Lemkin | Produced by Geoff Arbourne, Rob Lemkin, David Upshal | Written by Rob Lemkin, Femi Nylander, Matt McConaghy

When British-Nigerian poet and activist Femi Nylander discovered Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the novel that Barack Obama claims helped him understand why ‘white people are afraid’, he was immediately drawn to understanding this distorted vision of Africa. Embarking on a spiritual journey to Niger, Femi uncovers the violent legacy of the real-life counterpart to Conrad’s novel, French Captain Paul Voulet, whose genocidal mission in 1898 can still be felt today, through subsequent generations of his victims.

A brutal indictment of colonialism that never shies away from the horrifying terrorism Africans endured under colonial rule, African Apocalypse is a visually compelling, visceral experience that seeks to understand how our colonial past shapes our present with a passionate conviction that it doesn’t define our future. – Lynn Nwokorie

  • Available to watch on BFI Player – (Closed captions available) From 21:00 BST Friday 16 October 2020 – 21:00 BST Monday 19 October 2020 Book here


SATURDAY OCTOBER 17TH

Soul
Pete Docter writes and directs his first Pixar film since Inside Out. And this time he wonders where our core essence comes from.


SUNDAY OCTOBER 18TH

Lovers Rock
Directed by Steve McQueen | Produced by Michael Elliott, Anita Overland | Written by Courttia Newland, Steve McQueen | Featuring
Amarah-Jae St Aubyn, Michael Ward, Shaniqua Okwok, Kedar Williams-Stirling

Another in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe collection of vivid memories, political indictments and historical artefacts depicting Black West Indian presence in London. In this edition, it’s a Saturday sometime in the 80s, Samson preps his sound system for Blues dance while Martha shimmies down her drainpipe, and Franklin, drenched in Brut, is primed to steal a heart.

Red Stripe costs a pound, sweat drips from the walls as hips lock to the rhythm of lovers’ rock, and souls are possessed by dub vibrations. McQueen’s roving camera and luminous cast spread out and fill the screen. Inviting us to remember, not so much the good times, as the spectres of racism and violence loom, but the risk and reward of letting go for a night. – Tega Okiti


David Byrne’s American Utopia
Imagine if you could be front row, onstage even, for one of the most electrifying performances of David Byrne’s career? This must be the place.