BFI London fest sets record for attendance

Shorter event sold 149,000 tix, up 12% on 2011

LONDON — The BFI London Film Festival enjoyed record attendance for its 56th edition, it was announced Sunday as the fest came to a close.

Despite a shorter, 12-day program, the fest sold 149,000 tickets to its films and events, up 12% on last year.

The event, under the new direction of BFI head of exhibition Clare Stewart, unspooled 228 fiction and docu features, including 12 world preems and a surprise screening of David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” plus 111 shorts from 68 countries.

The fest also expanded its core venues from nine to 13 and saw cinecasts of opening film “Frankenweenie” and Rolling Stones docu “Crossfire Hurricane” beamed to cinemas across the U.K.

The annual buyers and sellers screenings, taking place as part of the fest’s industry program, showed 41 films without U.K. distribution. Theses attracted a record 1,088 attendees. Overall the industry program of screening and events were attended by 1,139 industry delegates.

The fest welcomed 570 industry guests, including actors Viggo Mortensen and Marion Cotillard, scripter Salman Rushdie and docu helmer Alex Gibney, who all took part in on-stage Screen Talk interviews.

The fest closed Sunday with the European preem of Mike Newell’s “Great Expectations.”

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