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BFI London Film Festival 2015 (7-18 October, various London venues) & 15 Highlights



The 2015 London Film Festival will be taking place in venues across London between 7-18 October. 238 films playing across 15 cinemas.

Full details of all films can be found here.

LFF tickets booking dates:
Champions: Wednesday 9 September

Members: Thursday 10 September

Public booking: Thursday 17 September

Highlights include:

Opening Gala: Suffragette.

Sarah Gavron's Suffragette gets its European premiere at LFF, billed as the first feature film to tell the story of the ordinary British women at the turn of the last century who fought for equality and the right to vote, and with a hard-to-top cast too.
The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday 7 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, attended by the filmmakers and cast (including Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep), with a live cinecast from the red carpet and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK. For this film, Gavron reteamed with her Brick Lane screenwriter Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady).

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Closing Gala: Steve Jobs

Danny Boyle’s (Slumdog Millionaire) directing, Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) on screenplay duties, and Michael Fassbender playing Apple's creative legend Steve Jobs. The film draws from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of the man who gave us the iPad, iPod pretty much everything else prefaced with "i" that we carry in our pockets. What more do you need to know?

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American Express® Gala: Carol

Having won acting awards at Cannes and received rave reviews, Todd Haynes' (Far from Heaven and I'm Not There) new 1950's-era drama couldn't be more anticipated. The film will receive its UK Premiere at the LFF on Wednesday 14 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, attended by director Todd Haynes and stars Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara.

The story focuses on a young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Mara) who is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store whilst dreaming of a more fulfilling life. Then she meets Carol (Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, and a journey of self-discovery begins. The film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, The Price of Salt, adapted by Emmy nominated screenwriter Phyllis Nagy. Joining Blanchett and Mara are Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy and Sarah Paulson. 

Archive Gala: Anthony Asquith's Shooting Stars:

The LFF always has an archive strand, where old and lost gems get a digital polish and are re-re-released, often with new scores and extra material. Newly restored by the BFI National Archive, Anthony Asquith’s debut film from 1928 will be presented with a new live score by John Altman, a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning composer whose work includes Titanic and GoldenEye .

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Christopher Nolan and Tacita Dean for LFF Connects Headline Event:

A new strand in LFF, LFF Connects events will focus on film and the wider creative industries, and the series kicks off with artist Tacita Dean (the grand-scale Tate Modern exhibition FILM ) and filmmaker Christopher Nolan (that guy who made a few films like The Dark Knight). BFI Creative Director Heather Stewart and Austrian Film Museum Director Alexander Horwath will join Nolan and Dean to discuss the implications facing film preservation for future generations. Christopher Nolan and Tacita Dean are both passionate advocates within their fields for physical film – not simply as a technology – but as a medium needed by artists and filmmakers, as well as loved by audiences.

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Journey Gala: The Assassin:

Hou Hsiao-Hsien won the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and has now decided to dip into martial arts. See the results at this year's LFF (he also has a season running of his work at the BFI Southbank in September). The Assassin is set in 9th-century China towards the end of the Tang dynasty. Lethal assassin Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi, star of Hou’s Three Times and Millennium Mambo) fails an important assignment and is sent back to her homeland on the orders of the nun who abducted her as a child and trained her in the deadly arts. Her new orders are to kill the man to whom she was once betrothed – her cousin, the governor of Weibo  (Chang Chen, Three Times, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). This time however, Yinniang’s chooses to defy her Mistress.


Festival Gala: High Rise

Kill List and Sightseers director Ben Wheatley makes his return with a prime gala slot at LFF with his long-awaited adaptation of J.G Ballard's 1960s satire High Rise. Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Avengers, Archipelago) takes the lead. We are promised sex, drugs, alcohol, and a Clint Mansell score.

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Cult Gala: Bone Tomahawk:

It doesn't always have to be about the stately arthouse at LFF. The cult strand is alive and well, and this year's lead film has Kurt Russell leading an all-star cast in a fusion of horror and western. Directed by S. Craig Zahler, the film sees a vigilante posse and the Sheriff of the Wild West town of Bright Hope headed towards an encounter with a savage force like no other.

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Documentary Special Presentation: He Named Me Malala:

Director Davis Guggenheim has a truly inspirational subject here for his new documentary.  Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at 17 and probably one of the most famous teenagers in the world, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for championing girls’ education in Pakistan. The film observes her as she adapts to a new life in Britain.

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Love Gala: A Bigger Splash:

Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) is back with a cast to die for (Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton) for a poolside drama set in the Sicilian island of Pantelleria, promising "deliciously overheated drama with a dangerous edge". It is a remake of Jacques Deray and Jean-Claude Carrière’s La Piscine (1969) which draws its title from David Hockney’s painting of the same era.

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My Scientology Movie:

With filmmakers like Alex Gibney having kicked down the doors of the secretive Church of Scientology, you have to be curious about what Louis Theroux has found.

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When Marnie Was There

Given it could be the last Studio Ghibli film for a time, you can't miss Hiromasa Yonebayashi's latest animated film. In this latest tale from the revered Japanese animation house, Anna, a sickly girl, is sent to live with relatives on the coast in order to get some fresh air. Walking near a marsh one day she befriends Marnie, who claims to live in an old mansion. At times, the house appears clean, lived in and full of guests, but it can also look empty and dilapidated. When she starts to dream about her new friend and the strange house, the line between the real and imagined becomes blurred.

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Elstree 1976:

With a new Star Wars film about to land and crush the box office, now is the perfect time go back to the English film studio that hosted the original franchise. Ten actors landed themselves small roles in Star Wars back in 1976, and this doc from director Jon Spira tells their stories.

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Room:

With superb films like Frank and What Richard Did to his name, director Lenny Abrahamson is on a roll. Now he is back at LFF with the inriguing-sounding Room, in which a boy who has been trapped in an 11-square-foot room since his birth suddenly is faced with a chance for escape. Actor Brie Larson , who plays the boy's mother, has impressed in films like Short Term 12, so expectations are high.

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The Witch:

Since it played at the Sundance Film Festival, this feature debut by Robert Eggers (that bills itself as a “New England Fairy Tale”) has been garnering rave reviews. The story concerns the  misfortune that befalls a rural family, one of who’s number is accused of witchcraft, decades before the infamous Salem witch trials of the 1690s.