BFI London Film Festival to feature live and digital screenings

Up to 50 virtual premieres will be accessible for at-home viewing.

BFI London Film Festival: virtual exhibition will showcase extended reality and immersive art
BFI London Film Festival: virtual exhibition will showcase extended reality and immersive art

This year's BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, will be a hybrid event made up of both live and digital screenings.

The festival, which will take place for 12 days from 7 October, will deliver up to 50 virtual festival premieres that will allow audiences to tune in from home. Every film will be presented with an introduction or interview and many will include subtitles and audio description for those with access requirements.

Free-to-access content and events include an international short film programme, screen talks with major filmmakers and actors, roundtables and a virtual exhibition of extended reality and immersive art.

There will be 12 new films previewed across the UK, including at London’s BFI Southbank, over the festival period.

Audiences will take the place of the festival’s official jury. Viewers attending the virtual event will be invited to vote on audience awards in four categories. Winners will be announced in a live online ceremony during the final weekend of the festival.

Industry and media delegates will have access to a curated professional programme that is also delivered digitally.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival director, said: "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 – some known, some still unclear. But as we’ve undergone this planning, we’ve also witnessed historical international protests – an urgent reminder of just how much we need to do to combat racism and inequality.

"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."

American Express will host an activation to tie in with the programme of events. The project will be delivered by Momentum.