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London Film Festival Chief Looks to Cement Event’s Place in Awards Calendar

BERLIN — The BFI London Film Festival, which announced on Monday that its 58th edition will run from Oct. 8-19, is looking to cement its strategic position in the award season calendar, and capitalize on the city’s high population of BAFTA and AMPAS members.

The fest chief, Clare Stewart (pictured), is attending the Berlinale with colleagues Tricia Tuttle, deputy head of festivals, Michael Blyth, festival programmer, and Andrea Bigger, industry manager, as they begin their search for films for this year’s edition.

The LFF team is looking to build on the success of last year’s event, which had a stellar line-up, including 22 world premieres, 13 international premieres and 29 European premieres.

Four pics given gala screenings at the LFF went on to be nommed by BAFTA for best film — “12 Years a Slave,” “Captain Phillips,” “Gravity” and “Philomena” – and 16 films from the program went on to get Oscar noms. The fest, which opened with the European premiere of “Captain Phillips” and closed with the world premiere of “Saving Mr. Banks,” attracted audiences of 151,000, with more than 600 filmmakers attending to present their work.

The opening and closing night films were also beamed into 50 cinemas across the U.K. with live highlights from red carpet arrivals of Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips,” and Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks for “Saving Mr. Banks.” These screenings reached a further 11,200 people.
The LFF submission deadlines are June 13 for shorts and June 20 for features.

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