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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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Sandra Hebron's Video Introduction to next London Fest

Strange as it may seem, one of the things that's almost as enjoyable as selecting the films for our programme, and almost as argued over, is the annual decision as to what the design of the Festival's marketing materials should be. As you'll see, this year we've shamelessly hijacked a series of quotes from some of our favourite filmmakers - Festival alumni, each of whom seemed to us to suggest something of the essence of the Festival.

The first of these quotations, from our late and much loved former Chair, Anthony Minghella, graces the cover of this booklet, and the others will be revealed over the coming weeks. Taken together, they capture the resonance and reach of cinema, and the subjective elements at play at every stage of a film's life, from the initial spark of an idea to the audience's ultimate verdict. Like us, they're also pretty insistent on the pleasure principle, whilst acknowledging that this comes in many guises.

So, in London in October, you could find your pleasure in seeing new work by directors of international reputation, such as Steven Soderbergh, Michael Winterbottom, Haile Gerima, Arnaud Desplechin, Takeshi Kitano or Shyam Benegal. Or perhaps you'd rather be the first to spot the rising talents of tomorrow, such as Enrique Rivero, Delphine Kreuter or Eran Creevy. You might enjoy listening to writers Charlie Kaufman and Peter Morgan talk about their craft, or hearing film makers and critics address the thorny issue of on-screen violence. If celluloid history is your passion, there are 14 new restorations to choose from, and if you prefer avant garde or short form work, that’s on offer too.

That the festival salutes the achievements of filmmakers from around the world is a given, and reflected in the presence of films from over 40 countries from Iceland to Australia and all points in between. But celebration for its own sake can be a hollow exercise, all style and no substance. As Anthony’s quote gently reminds us, film also offers ways of understanding, of seeing the world through fresh eyes.
Thinking and writing about some of the films in this year’s programme, three words kept floating to the fore: history, memory, politics. Arguably at least two of these hardly seem designed to generate mass enthusiasm in cinema-goers, or so one might imagine. But films of such breathtaking imagination and invention as Hunger, Waltz with Bashir, Of Time and the City and The Beaches of Agnes confound our expectations, and make for deeply rewarding viewing. The same is true of our Opening and Closing night films, the intelligently entertaining Frost/Nixon, and the cheeringly uplifting Slumdog Millionaire.

Of course, a festival of this scale can’t ever be reduced to a handful of themes. Even a cursory glance through the programme reveals films about subjects ranging from pop music to prison life, and sheep herding to sport. There’s a renaissance of independent American filmmaking, an unusually rich crop of British films, and our first Tollywood Spaghetti Western...

All of this, and more, comes thanks to the hard work, assistance, advice and support of many organisations and individuals within and outside the BFI, and the financial and in-kind contributions of our sponsors and funders. This collective enthusiasm for the festival is a vital, sustaining force.

And now it’s your turn. As Jonas Mekas, one of our other quoted filmmakers points out, 'film can be very personal…everyone has their own'. With this in mind, we wish you pleasurable searching and hope that somewhere amidst the wealth of choices, you find 'the one'.
Sandra Hebron, Artistic Director
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Chatelin Bruno
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