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.
 
 
OFFICIAL COMPETITION
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 


DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION


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! 


Staff Reporter