BFI London Film Festival 2020 to adopt new format, mixing virtual premieres with live screenings around the UK

The 64th BFI London Film Festival will adopt a different format for its 2020 edition, going part virtual, part live. Film fans will be given an opportunity to enjoy both live and digital screenings during the 12 days of the Festival, which runs October 7-18 2020. 

The Festival is planning to deliver up to 50 Virtual Festival Premieres, in a programme that covers the best new cinema from around the world. Many of the films will include subtitles and Audio Description for audiences with access requirements. 

Every film will be presented with an intro or Q&A, and the programme will also include a range of free-to-access additional works and events. These will include an international short film programme, Screen Talks with filmmakers and  creatives, plus a new Virtual Exhibition of XR and immersive art, with works that can be experienced in a variety of ways online, with and without headsets, and will be free to access.

Twelve of the most highly anticipated films from the programme will screen in previews across the UK, in partnership with UK-wide cinemas networks that deliver great independent and cultural films for audiences all year long, including London’s BFI Southbank.

Twelve of the most highly anticipated films from the LFF programme will screen in previews across the UK…

“Like many other live events around the world, we’ve had to make changes to our plans in response to a global pandemic, factoring in safety concerns and restrictions,” says BFI London Film Festival Director Tricia Tuttle.

“This year has also given us an opportunity to think creatively about how we make the Festival more accessible. It was vital to us that we get back to cinemas, and are looking forward to working with independent and cultural venues across the UK who are such an essential part of our film ecosystem. The Virtual LFF programmes and these cinema screenings take the Festival out across the UK, giving people opportunities to engage in different ways.”

Viewers attending the Virtual LFF will be invited to vote on Audience Awards in four categories: Best Fiction Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, and Best XR.  The winners will be announced in a live online ceremony on the final weekend of the Festival. 

The full LFF programme will be announced September 8.

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