London Film Festival: 2011 Press Launch

on Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Words: Saam Das

"55th BFI London Film Festival Press Launch". Immediate thoughts: they spelt "lunch" wrong. Then I saw the start time (10.30am) and cried on the inside. Far, far too early to be waking up on my day off. Plus, no lunch either. Nonetheless, I made my way to the Odeon Leceister Square this morning to be introduced to the 2011 London Film Festival. A more indepth guide to the Festival will be with you soon but read on for some initial/potential highlights. And an all-important look at the goody bag.

Before we got to the preview footage of the Festival, we sat through BFI bigwigs Amanda Nevill thanking the sponsors (American Express, Jameson and so on) and Sandra Hebron (in her final year as Artistic Director) continued the introduction by elaborating on the film programme. While Hebron made a particular point of namechecking Iranian filmmaking ('This Is Not A Film'), both she and Nevill also promoted the importance of British archival footage and restored works.

We'll all be able to experience the BFI archive, in small chunks, via the forthcoming BBC2 show ' Reel History Of Britain'. But the London Film Festival is very much an international affair, with its 200+ films coming from all over the world. And often the productions have been internationally collaborative - the festival's opening night film '360', for example, is a UK-Austria-France-Brazil co-production.

Anyway, we won't go into a full preview of the dazzling variety of what's on offer right now but here are some select picks from the showreel we saw this morning:

'Sarah Palin - You Betcha!'

I'm not sure a documentary about Sarah Palin is all that relevant/necessary now but bearing in mind, it's a Nick Broomfield-led affair, I'm more accommodating. "Do you think your political career is over?" perhaps elicited the greatest chortling from our cohort this morning. Let's hope for a similar level of chutzpah throughout.


This might end up being a run-of-the-mill coming-of-age tale but on first glance, 'Terri' appears to have a lot of heart. This year's quirky indie comedy/dramedy?


The director of the cult oddity 'Dogtooth' is back with another somewhat bizarre offering. I suspect people will love or hate 'Alps' and I can't honestly predict which camp I'll be in. This clip is clearly brilliant though.

'Tales Of The Night'

Drastically different to anything else we saw on the morning but I mean that in the nicest way. A vivid French animation which is, against all common sense, in 3D. Or rather, TroisD.


I'm genuinely not trolling when I say that this Madonna-directed film has promise. The clip we saw was more a showcase for the film's editor than Madonna but her take on the Wallis Simpson-Edward VIII scandal could work well. Possibly.

The best bit of the day was obviously getting the goody bag full of all kinds of random crap. Exhibit A: clothes peg - admittedly attached to a packet of popcorn, so that was a nice surprise. Anyway, who doesn't love free stuff? I particularly look forward to using my complimentary make up membership card.

For more details on the LFF, head to The LFF is part of the American Express preferred seating programme.

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