The 61st BFI London Film Festival selection is always very interesting, ranging from British to international film, wich are introduced to a UK-wide audience. The event alternates glamourous red carpets to screen talks with famous directors, and it provides an essential opportunity for films and filmmakers, searching for global success.
The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK and it has the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by. The festival champions emerging and world class filmmakers in the United Kingdom by investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work. It is also engaged in promoting British films and talent to the world and by growing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences. The BFI is a distributor of Lottery funds for film and it serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of filmmaking. It delivers this role as the UK-wide organisation for film, by providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK, and by working with partners to advance the position of British films.
Every year the festival is divided in different categories of competition: official, short films, first feature, documentary and a series of strands, in which all the films entered represent that exact strand, like love, dare, debate, thrill, laugh, family, cult, journey, create, experimenta. The awards for the films are The Best Film Award, The Sutherland Award, The Grierson Award, The Short Film Award. The selection for 2017 is rich and diverse, presenting 28 new films and many already awarded international films.
This edition has aroused many critics for the low percentage of female directors, percentage that is rising, says the festival director, Clare Stewart. As written on an article of The Guardian, only a quarter of the films are directed by women, which is considered “bad”, because they are moving towards equity and diversity. Not only London, but also Venice Film Festival was glared criticallly, because only one film out of 21 was directed by women, but this little slip wasn’t made on purpose, fortunately.
BFI London Film Festival’s director is Clare Stewart, who has a 21 year programming career, encompassed leadership roles as Festival Director, Sydney Film Festival (2006-2011) and the inaugural Head of Film Programs at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne (2002-2006) as well as various roles at the Australian Film Institute (1996-2001), including Exhibition Manager, and programmer and Committee Member of the Melbourne Cinémathèque (1995-2002). She has been BFI Head of Festivals and BFI London Film Festival Director since October 2011.