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London Film Fest: Home-team advantage

Brit pics lead lineup packed with fresh fest finds

“Hours” helmer Danny Boyle is slated to get the BFI Fellowship Award, while local hero Ken Loach will deliver the fest’s keynote address, as well as present his latest movie, “Route Irish.”

The LFF program includes 197 features, but boasts fewer world premieres this year — just 11, down from 15 in the past two editions. These preems are also less splashy than in previous years, when the organizers snared high-profile titles such as “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Frost/Nixon.” This year’s debuts are mostly small Brit pics, such as Carol Morley’s “Edge” and Hannah Rothschild’s “Mandelson: The Real PM?”

Artistic director Sandra Hebron says this is just an accident of timing. Nonetheless, fest organizers have worked hard to make the program feel fresh, taking fewer films from Berlin and Sundance earlier in the year, and drawing more from Venice and Toronto.

“It’s important to us that the program doesn’t feel long in the tooth by the time it’s announced,” Hebron explains.

Mark Romanek, Darren Aronofsky, Peter Mullan and Olivier Assayas will hold masterclasses.

Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right” and Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction” lead a relatively light U.S. presence, which Hebron says reflects the retreat of the Hollywood studios from the speciality biz.

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