The BFI London Film Festival is expanding its scope with a new emphasis on episodic content and virtual and augmented reality.
While LFF has previously screened series such as BBC One and AMC co-production “The Little Drummer Girl,” it will further expand its TV focus, premiering new series for digital platforms and international broadcasters. A gala event will comprise approximately 30 new TV, XR and immersive projects.
Meanwhile, another new showcase will include immersive and interactive works using augmented, mixed and virtual reality, and also feature ambitious experiential projects and creative collaborations between artists from different sectors.
Elsewhere, building on the pilot program ‘LFF for Free’ which brought in new audiences in 2019, the festival is also set to expand its free talks, events and screenings program at BFI Southbank.
The first half of the LFF will also deliver a number of industry programs for international industry delegates, designed to create opportunities for business and creative collaboration with U.K. creatives.
The expanded industry program will include showcases of emerging U.K. creative talent and in-progress projects, and build on the success of the 2019 festival’s talks program with a line-up of events on urgent creative, business and cultural topics.
Festival director Tricia Tuttle said: “We’ve focused a great deal in recent years on the seismic changes in how films are reaching audiences, but there are other more creative ways the ground is shifting, with filmmakers and producers increasingly working across different platforms, and greater connections and dialogue across different creative forms.
“Film festivals are well placed to explore the evolution of moving image and these sites of connection. While this will be an international program, the U.K. is bursting with innovators (and) we look forward to showing their work here, and offering a new platform where audiences can engage with different kinds of moving image-based storytelling, fiction and non-fiction”.
Tuttle added that the LFF wants to “ensure price is not a barrier while giving people more meaningful ways to engage with the work, and each other.”
“Our free programme will offer greater opportunity for debate and discussion on pressing topical issues, themes and ideas that are emerging,” she said.
The 63rd edition of the LFF took place in October and featured 233 feature films, including 28 world premieres, 12 international premieres and 32 European premieres. Around 78 countries were represented across the selection, and 40% of films were directed or co-directed by women. In competitive categories, 60% were directed or co-directed by women.
This year’s festival runs from Oct. 7-18.