London Fest: No contest

LONDON — The London Film Festival will not become a competitive event next year or in the foreseeable future, the British Film Institute has announced.

British Film Institute also confirmed that it intends to keep control over the festival, rather than handing it over to an outside agency such as Sheila Whitaker’s Film London group.

These decisions were based on a recently completed research report detailing film industry views on the future of the London fest. While the report itself has not been published, the research has been widely criticized within the industry.

Jane Clarke, acting director of the BFI, said, “One key consideration is that we wish to put filmmakers in conversation with each other, not in competition with each other.”

The debate was prompted by Whitaker’s attempt to launch a rival competitive fest in October, to coincide with the pre-Mifed London screenings. Whitaker previously ran the London Film Fest for several years. She backed down in return for a promise that the Institute would consider the case for turning its festival into a competitive event.

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