The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® has closed its anniversary year. Audience attendance reached a record-breaking 184,700, an 18% increase from 157,000 in 2015, with the new temporary Embankment Garden Cinema contributing significantly to that growth.
A further 8,200 people enjoyed the Festival through satellite screenings across the UK of Opening Night film Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom and Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World which, in a first for the Festival, was also made available online as a virtual premiere. UK-wide access brought the overall audience total to 193,129.
The Festival welcomed over 840 international and British filmmakers to present their work from across the LFF programme at venues across the capital. The programme presented more Headline Galas and Special Presentations than ever before, with twelve and 5 respectively (an increase from 7 and 3 at LFF 2015), while the temporary purpose built venue Embankment Garden Cinema was the home for Strand Galas and films in Official Competition.
Filmmakers and cast attending the Festival in support of Headline Galas and Special Presentations included: the Opening Night Gala Of A United Kingdom Attended By Director Amma Asante And Cast Members David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Arnold Oceng, Jack Lowden, Laura Carmichael, Charlotte Hope, James Northcote, Jessica Oyelowo, Terry Pheto; The Birth Of A Nation – Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, Chiké Okonkwo; Queen Of Katwe – Mira Nair, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o.
British and international film talent that attended for the Festival’s Strand Galas included, Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe.
This year the BFI Fellowship was received by Academy Award®-winning director Steve McQueen, and presented by Michael Fassbender. The Fellowship is the highest accolade the BFI can bestow.
This year’s LFF Connects series of thought-provoking high-impact talks for industry and public audiences explored the future of film and how film engages with other creative industries. Insightful Screen Talks were given by celebrated directors, actors and industry professionals, offering festival audiences the opportunity to learn more about leading lights in contemporary cinema.
David Oyelowo headlined the BLACK STAR Symposium at LFF 2016 with a powerful and rousing speech about diversity in film; and Heather Stewart (Creative Director, BFI) presented research that explores the representation of black actors in UK films over the last 10 years. The new research provides an early indicator of what is set to be the most comprehensive set of data about UK films from 1911 to the present day – the BFI Filmography, launching in 2017. Other Symposium speakers included Amma Asante, Noel Clarke, Julie Dash, Barry Jenkins and Karen Blackett (Chairwoman, MediaCom), Ramy El-Bergamy (On-Screen Diversity Executive, Channel 4), Ben Roberts (Director, BFI Film Fund), Ije Nwokorie (CEO, Wolff Olins) and Tunde Ogungbesan (Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Succession, BBC) and Heather Stewart. The Symposium kicked off the UK’s biggest celebration of black screen actors and the BFI’s cultural focus for 2016
Check out the BFI BLACK STAR programme running till the end of the year, here.