The BFI London Film Festival has put diversity at the heart of its programme for its 60th anniversary event.
The Festival opens on the 5th October with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, which tells the true story of the King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of opposition from their families and the British government.
Ben Wheatley’s thriller Free Fire will close the Festival on Sunday 16 October.
This year’s festival also includes a symposium to mark the BFI’s upcoming Black Star project, billed as the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the work of black actors coming in late October.
The symposium will debate the continued under-representation of black actors on screen in the UK and US markets.
The Festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features. There will also be screenings of 144 short films.
The American Express Gala is Garth Davis’ feature debut Lion, starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. The film is adapted from Saroo Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home, about a five-year-old Indian boy who takes a wrong train hundreds of miles from home and family.
Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which won the Sundance Jury and Audience Awards, receives its European Premiere as a Headline Gala. The film is a grueling account of the life of an enslaved African-American who led a slave revolt in Virginia in 1831, and stars Parker himself alongside Armie Hammer, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King and Gabrielle Union.
The Virgin Atlantic Gala is the European Premiere of Queen Of Katwe, Mira Nair’s true life tale of one girl’s determination to escape from poverty in Uganda by becoming a chess champion. The film stars newcomer Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o.
Martin Koolhoven, BRIMSTONE
Kelly Reichardt, CERTAIN WOMEN
Mohamed Diab, CLASH
Paul Verhoeven, ELLE
François Ozon, FRANTZ
Ivan Sen, GOLDSTONE (European Premiere)
Mijke de Jong, LAYLA M. (European Premiere)
Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT (European Premiere)
Pablo Larraín, NERUDA
Terence Davies, A QUIET PASSION
Benedict Andrews, UNA (European Premiere)
Makoto Shinkai, YOUR NAME
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
Jorge Riquelme Serrano, CHAMELEON (International Premiere)
Darren Thornton, A DATE FOR MAD MARY
Houda Benyamina, DIVINES
Johannes Nyholm, THE GIANT
Mohamed Ben Attia, HEDI
William Oldroyd, LADY MACBETH
Hope Dickson Leach, THE LEVELLING (European Premiere)
Claude Barras, MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE
Bartosz M. Kowalski, PLAYGROUND
Gabe Klinger, PORTO
Julia Ducournau, RAW
Wang Yichun, WHAT’S IN THE DARKNESS
Daouda Coulibaly, WÙLU
Jenny Gage, ALL THIS PANIC (European Premiere)
Eva Orner, CHASING ASYLUM (European Premiere)
Jon Nguyen, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE
Claire Simon, THE GRADUATION
Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla, AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN (European Premiere)
Alma Har’el, LOVETRUE
Alice Diop, ON CALL
Ulrich Seidl, SAFARI
Marco Del Fiol, THE SPACE IN BETWEEN – MARINA ABRAMOVIC AND BRAZIL
Mehrdad Oskouei, STARLESS DREAMS
Keith Maitland, TOWER
Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon, THE WAR SHOW
SHORT FILM AWARD
Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, THE SEND OFF
Réka Bucsi, LOVE
João Paulo Miranda Maria, THE GIRL WHO DANCED WITH THE DEVIL
Issa Touma, Thomas Vroe§ge, Floor van der Meulen, 9 DAYS – FROM MY WINDOW IN ALEPPO
Patrick Tarrant, THE TREMBLING GIANT
Anna Maguire, YOUR MOTHER AND I
Kevin Jerome Everson, EARS, NOSE AND THROAT
Ena Sendijarevic, IMPORT
Amy Nicholson, PICKLE
Ali Asgari, Farnoosh Samadi, THE SILENCE
Jed Hart, CANDY FLOSS
Ana Vaz, THERE IS LAND!