Owing to limitations posed by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the BFI London Film Festival (LLF) will run as a combination of virtual and physical screenings for the 2020 edition of the event.
The festival, which runs from 7-18 October 2020, will host 50 virtual premieres and 12 previews of upcoming theatre-held films. Each of the 50 virtual premieres will play at a fixed time and will feature additional elements including talent Q&As.
What to expect from the first film festival of the COVID era?
The venues are yet to be announced for the physical part of the festival. LFF will partner with exhibitors including those in the BFI Film Audience Network for physical screenings, the films will also be on the BFI Southbank flagship site and other London cinemas selected
A program of free-to-access digital talks and online events is also included in this year’s event, including an online version of the festival’s brand LFF Screen Talks.
The full program will be revealed in a September 8 web launch. The festival will keep its 11 genre strands of Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Create, Treasures, and Experimenta.
Viewers will be able to vote on audience awards this year, rather than the usual jury panel. The audience awards are for best feature fiction, best feature documentary, best short film, and best XR, and the winners will be announced in a live online ceremony on the festival’s final weekend.
In addition, there will be a new free-to-access XR and immersive strand playing completely online. Viewers will be able to explore and experience XR projects through a virtual gallery.
London Film Festival director Tricia Tuttle said in a statement: “As with many other live events around the world, in response to a global pandemic, we have had to make changes to our plans, factoring in security concerns and restrictions – some known, some still unclear. But as we have undergone this planning, we have witnessed historic international protests as well, an urgent reminder of just how much we need to do to fight racism and inequality.
Also, this year has given us a chance to think creatively about how we make the festival more accessible.