Why you should go to BFI London Film Festival

Published: September 27th, 2016

Written by: Aisha


In just eight days the British Film Institute will be holding their 60th London Film Festival! I really do recommend anyone living in London to go to at least one screening of a film at the festival as you will not be disappointed. Tickets are relatively cheap and it’s an exciting time in London as there is so much buzz around the film industry with premieres and special events going on all around the city. LFF is a great time for celebrating film and not only British but they showcase plenty of foreign films, films of all genres, shorts, documentaries and more. Putting aside the big major headline gala screenings, you’re likely to discover some amazing gems with the smaller indie’s that will be showcased.

My experience last year

Last year was my first time to the festival and I went and saw the psychodrama Queen of Earth by Alex Ross Perry which was screened at Hackney Picturehouse. The film was incredibly tense and it had me on the edge of my seat the whole time as it was about two long-time friends who go to a getaway house for a break but their friendship starts to deteriorate, along with their sanity and in particular the character of Catherine who is played by the amazingly talented Elisabeth Moss.

Queen Of Earth

The cinematography was just genius and the longer the film went on the more unbalanced it looked and felt which added to that tense feeling. The dialogue, acting, just everything about it was impressive. Such a high quality film which was shot in such a short time span. It’s a movie that isn’t easily forgotten about.

Why you should go to BFI LFF

But would I have gone and seen that film other than at BFI LFF? Probably not. Why? Because unfortunately independent films like Queen of Earth aren’t shown in my local cinema, making it a trek to go see and also it won’t get released till months later and at that point I would have probably forgotten about wanting to see it. But you’re probably wondering aren’t you making a journey to a specific cinema for LFF to watch it anyway? Yes but let me tell you why it’s better.

Firstly it’s exciting going to see films at LFF because you venture out to possibly cinemas you’ve never been to. Secondly as I mentioned before, you’re seeing it months before everyone else is and thirdly and the most exciting reason why you should go is that if you’re lucky, your screening may just come with a Q&A afterwards with possibly the director or sometimes even the leading actors in the film and you would of paid just the same amount you would of probably paid in your local cinema.

I was lucky enough to have this experience last year and it was such an unexpected treat. I knew they did this at LFF but I only thought they did it at the gala/premiere screenings and not for the smaller films. It was such an insightful Q&A and a lot of the audience tend to be film students or people in the industry so you get some really great questions and you could even throw out a question yourself. Being able to have just watched the film and then hear about how it was made by the creators is just the most perfect scenario.

So if you’re in London and fancy something to do, then go to a screening because it isn’t the most expensive day out and you never know what might happen. You may discover new filmmakers/actors you love and even get to ask them a question.

The most popular film screenings like La la land and Nocturnal animals have already sold out now. So if you are big on film and have some spare cash then a BFI membership will be beneficial to you for next year as you get to book before they go on sale to the public. However although the films with the biggest buzz around them are sold out doesn’t mean you shouldn’t book a ticket. There are tons of films still available to book. Go support the indie films. Take a look at something you know nothing about and book a ticket. What’s the worst that could happen?

Some festival recommendations:

  • David Lynch: The Art life
  • A United Kingdom
  • All this panic
  • American Honey
  • Certain Women
  • Personal Shopper

There was a deal going on where you can see 3 films (out of a particular selection) for £30 which is a steal. So Head down to BFI LFF which runs from the 5th-16th october.

BFI LFF Website
Festival programme


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