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The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®, closed its anniversary year last night with the European Premiere of Ben Wheatley’s FREE FIRE. Audience attendance for the 60th edition reached a record-breaking 184,700, an 18% increase from 157,000 in 2015, with the new temporary Embankment Garden Cinema contributing significantly to that growth.


A further 8,200 people enjoyed the Festival through satellite screenings across the UK of Opening Night film Amma Asante’s A UNITED KINGDOM and Werner Herzog’s LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF A CONNECTED WORLD which, in a first for the Festival, was also made available online as a virtual premiere. UK-wide access brought the overall audience total to 193,129.


The Festival welcomed over 840 international and British filmmakers to present their work from across the LFF programme at venues across the capital. The programme presented more Headline Galas and Special Presentations than ever before, with twelve and 5 respectively (an increase from 7 and 3 at LFF 2015), while the temporary purpose built venue Embankment Garden Cinema was the home for Strand Galas and films in Official Competition.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16:  (L-R) Andrew Starke, guest, Sam Riley, Tom Davis, Armie Hammer, Director Ben Wheatley, Amanda Nevill, Clare Stewart, Babou Ceesay, Sharlto Copley, Michael Smiley, Cillian Murphy, Enzo Cilenti, Jack Reynor and guest attend the 'Free Fire' Closing Night Gala screening during the 60th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon Leicester Square on October 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI) *** Local Caption *** Andrew Starke; Sam Riley; Tom Davis; Armie Hammer; Ben Wheatley; Amanda Nevill; Clare Stewart; Babou Ceesay; Sharlto Copley; Michael Smiley; Cillian Murphy; Enzo Cilenti; Jack Reynor

Filmmakers and cast attending the Festival in support of Headline Galas and Special Presentations included: the Opening Night Gala of A UNITED KINGDOM attended by director Amma Asante and cast members David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Arnold Oceng, Jack Lowden, Laura Carmichael, Charlotte Hope, James Northcote, Jessica Oyelowo, Terry Pheto – the Closing Night Gala of FREE FIRE attended by director Ben Wheatley and cast members Michael Smiley, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Cillian Murphy, Mark Monero, Armie Hammer, Tom Davis, Sharlto Copley, Enzo Cilenti, Babou Cessay, Patrick Bergin – AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Sasha Lane – ARRIVAL Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner – ASCENT Fiona Tan – BEFORE THE FLOOD Fisher Stevens and Leonardo DiCaprio – THE BIRTH OF A NATION Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, Chiké Okonkwo – IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD Xavier Dolan, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux – LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle, Ryan Gosling – LION Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Divian Ladwa – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan, Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams – A MONSTER CALLS JA Bayona, Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver – NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford, Amy Adams, Armie Hammer, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ellie Bamber; QUEEN OF KATWE Mira Nair, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o – SNOWDEN Oliver Stone, Joely Richardson, Rhys Ifans, Eric Kofi-Abrefa – TROLLS Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn – THEIR FINEST Lone Scherfig, Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Rachael Stirling.


British and international film talent that attended for the Festival’s Strand Galas included: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (Cult) André Øvredal – BLEED FOR THIS (Thrill) Ben Younger, Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ciaran Hinds – THE HANDMAIDEN (Dare) Park Chan-wook – MIRZYA (Love) Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher – NOCTURAMA (Debate) Bertrand Bonello, Finnegan Oldfield – TONI ERDMANN (Laugh) Maren Ade, Sandra Hüller, Trystan Pütter – and Official Competition presentations included: BRIMSTONE Martin Koolhoven, Emilia Jones, Jack Hollington, Jack Roth, Peter Blankenstein – CERTAIN WOMEN Michelle Williams – CLASH Mohamed Diab – ELLE Paul Verhoeven, Isabelle Huppert – FRANTZ François Ozon, Paula Beer – GOLDSTONE Ivan Sen – LAYLA M. Mijke de Jong, Nora El Koussour, Ilias Addab, Jan Eilander – MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe – A QUIET PASSION Terence Davies, Cynthia Nixon, Catherine Bailey  – UNA Benedict Andrews, Ben Mendelsohn, Tara Fitzgerald, David Harrower, Tobias Menzies, Ruby Stokes – YOUR NAME Makoto Shinkai.


At the annual BFI London Film Festival Award last night the LFF competition winners announced were:

CERTAIN WOMEN – Kelly Reichardt, won the Best Film Award (Official Competition)

RAW – Julia Ducournau, won the Sutherland Award (First Feature Competition)

STARLESS DREAMS – Mehrdad Oskouei, won the Grierson Award (Documentary Competition)

9 DAYS – FROM MY WINDOW IN ALEPPO – Issa Touma, Thomas Vroege and Floor van de Muelen, won the Short Film Award

This year the BFI Fellowship was received by Academy Award®-winning director Steve McQueen, and presented by Michael Fassbender. The Fellowship is the highest accolade the BFI can bestow.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13:  Director Lone Scherfig and actor Gemma Arterton attend 'Their Finest' press conference during the 60th BFI London Film Festival at The Mayfair Hotel on October 13, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI) *** Local Caption *** Lone Scherfig; Gemma Arterton

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI) 

This year’s LFF Connects series of thought-provoking high-impact talks for industry and public audiences explored the future of film and how film engages with other creative industries featured the innovative iconoclasts: Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones and Joe Wright for LFF Connects: TV, Liam Young, Forest Swords and DJ Yoda for LFF Connects: Music/Performance, Dennis Muren, David Vickery and Kevin Jenkins for LFF Connects: Creative Technologies, David Cage for LFF Connects: Games and Lynette Wallworth for LFF Connects: Art/Immersive Film.


Insightful Screen Talks were given by celebrated directors, actors and industry professionals: Park Chan-Wook, Paul Verhoeven, Nicole Kidman & Dev Patel, Werner Herzog and Ben Wheatley, offering festival audiences the opportunity to learn more about leading lights in contemporary cinema.


The Surprise Film was Clint Eastwood’s highly anticipated SULLY.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15:  Director Steve McQueen accepts the BFI Fellowship Award at the BFI London Film Festival Awards during the 60th BFI London Film Festival at Banqueting House on October 15, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI) *** Local Caption *** Steve McQueen

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI) 

David Oyelowo headlined the BLACK STAR Symposium at LFF 2016 with a powerful and rousing speech about diversity in film; and Heather Stewart (Creative Director, BFI) presented research that explores the representation of black actors in UK films over the last 10 years. The new research provides an early indicator of what is set to be the most comprehensive set of data about UK films from 1911 to the present day – the BFI Filmography, launching in 2017. Other Symposium speakers included Amma Asante, Noel Clarke, Julie Dash, Barry Jenkins and Karen Blackett (Chairwoman, MediaCom), Ramy El-Bergamy (On-Screen Diversity Executive, Channel 4), Ben Roberts (Director, BFI Film Fund), Ije Nwokorie (CEO, Wolff Olins) and Tunde Ogungbesan (Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Succession, BBC) and Heather Stewart. The Symposium kicked off the UK’s biggest celebration of black screen actors and the BFI’s cultural focus for 2016 – BFI BLACK STAR – launching tomorrow, Monday 17 October till the end of the year.