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Preview: The 56th London Film Festival!

It’s back! After a year of being in the spotlight, London gets one last chance at grabbing the world’s attention as stars of the silver screen descend on our fair city for what is now one of the biggest film festivals in the world.

London Film FestivalThis year, 225 films and documentaries will screen over several categories, and new festival director Clare Stewart (replacing long-serving director Sandra Hebron, whom stepped down last year) has introduced a new competition, much like the Palm D’Or at Cannes, where 12 films will compete for the grand jury prize.

London Film FestivalHowever, the LFF has always been about more than giving away gongs, and this year is no different as Hollywood’s best and brightest, as well as the cream of the British crop, will come to London to exhibit their new films. Among them is Tim Burton (for his film “FrankenWeenie”), Jake Gyllenhaal for cop drama “End of Watch”, Ben Affleck’s “Argo”, Bill Murray for the Oscar-tipped “Hyde Park on Hudson”, and the festival closes with an adaptation of “Great Expectations”, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.

London Film FestivalThe venues for the festival have also widened, with cinemas in Leicester Square joined by smaller, more local venues such as Screen On The Green in North London, and overall over 100,000 people are expected to attend the various screenings and events during the festival, which also include talks from author Salman Rushdie and actress Marion Cotillard.

For us, the best thing about the London Film Festival is that it is, and always has been, a festival for everyone. Punters buying a regular screening ticket could be surprised by having the film’s star or director come out and introduce the film, making it one of the only Film Festivals that truly connects fans with the film industry. It has also been the place to see next year’s hits months in advance, such as last October when “The Artist” delighted crowds, and in the past films such as “The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire” have gone on from the LFF to Oscar greatness.

London Film FestivalIn a year when we celebrate everything that’s great about London, what better way to top it off than having the whole of the world of cinema arrive at your doorstep! Visit http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff now, and enjoy!

The London Film Festival runs from 10th-21st October. 

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James Luxford
About James Luxford (39 Articles)
Film journalist - all views my own