‘Voice,’ ‘Bulworth’ flank shorter London Film Fest

Brit Film Institute suggests reduction, streamlining of fest

LONDON — A shorter, tighter and “more coherent” 42nd London Film Festival, per topper Adrian Wootton, opens Nov. 5 with the international preem of Miramax’s “Little Voice” and closes Nov. 19 with “Bulworth,” with Warren Beatty in attendance.

Wootton, in his second year as LFF director, told Daily Variety that extensive market research of auds and industry by the British Film Institute, the LFF’s organizer, persuaded him and his team to reduce the event from 18 days to 15 days. Total number of features is now around 150, against 180-190 in previous years.

The program also has been streamlined into five major sections by eliminating country focuses. The Festival on the Square, held at a downtown hardtop, will still showcase major titles and galas, such as “Waking Ned Devine,” “Pecker” and “Out of Sight,” and British Cinema will retain its own sidebar.

The rest of the program is simplified into three sections: Cinema Europa; World Cinema (an international panorama of fest faves); and Experimenta (for “challenging and innovative work”).

Titles in Experimenta include Cannes Critics Week hit “Seul contre tous,” the Czech “Buttoners,” Russian “Of Freaks and Men,” British verse allegory “Prometheus” and U.S. indie “Slam.”

American indies will no longer get a special section, but instead be folded into World Cinema.

“We wanted to be free to choose only the best titles, rather than take stuff just to create a section,” Wootton says. “U.S. indie production is no longer especially strong compared with what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

World preems include Michael Radford’s long-in-post “B. Monkey”; Gillies MacKinnon’s “Hideous Kinky” with Kate Winslet; and three British pix — David Attwood’s “Shot Through the Heart” with Vincent Perez and Linus Roche; Paul Seed’s drama “A Rather English Marriage”; and Dominic Anciano’s “Final Cut” starring Sadie Frost and Jude Law.

Celeb interviews include Michael Caine, Jonathan Demme, Julie Walters, Roberto Benigni and John Waters.

For the first time in a decade, a dozen titles repping the pick of the fest will later tour eight cities throughout the U.K.

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