Film London - looking back at the 67th BFI London Film Festival

Latest 18 Oct 2023

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Credit: James O’ Jenkins

The 67th BFI London Film Festival drew to a close over the weekend, and Film London was once again proud to partner with the festival across the weeks.

On Saturday 14th October we hosted the World Premiere of the much-anticipated Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget as the 2023 Mayor of London Gala, in collaboration with Netflix. Attendees were treated to a bespoke green carpet, where stars such as Director Sam Fell and Executive Producer Nick Park stood toe to toe with the real stars of the film: chickens Rocky, Ginger and Babs.

On Tuesday 10 October we hosted the 2023 Production Finance Market, our annual two-day financing event for film, at the Thistle Hotel in Marble Arch. With sixteen annual editions behind it, the Market has helped forge countless long-term business connections, and is the only event of its kind in the UK.

London Film Festival Director Kristy Matheson introduced the morning, stating “It’s a thrill to know that we have all of you here, making the films that will hopefully show at a future edition of LFF. We need you to get your financing in and get yours films made”

Film London Chief Executive Adrian Wootton then underlined that “At a time of complexity in the market, we feel that PFM is a really important thing to compliment LFF. PFM can be a fulcrum to bring new relationships forward, as the only event of its kind in the UK”

This then led on to our keynote discussion with Anna Higgs, Managing Director of Casarotto Ramsay & Associates and Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee

Anna described how she began her career in consulting, but learnt about the industry by volunteering as a runner in her spare time, working on any productions she could find before jumping into independent producing via the NFTS. - “I don’t think conventional will be carved on my headstone and I’m happy with that. I come from a post-industrial Birmingham, seeing direct results of failing to innovate. The most incredible creativity can be left behind. That’s given me a drive to look for what’s next.”

This then began a systematic tour of diverse role to immerse herself in all aspects of the creative industry, working in senior roles at Channel 4/Film 4, Nowness, Meta and now in her new role as MD of Casarotto - “Being in the creative industries is part alchemy and part challenging yourself”

Anna stressed the importance of giving emerging directors the time and space to play and be on set rather than keeping them on meetings the whole time. “If you want to make the boldest work, you need to think about audience from the outset”

Anna then left us with sage words of advice for the industry - “You can marry creative and commercial success if you gear it all from the start and collaborate as much as possible. Share learnings and talk about success and failures to allow whole industry to keep improving.”

This keynote discussion was followed by an exclusive case study discussion around Chuck Chuck Baby, a former PFM success story. The film started from a pitch not too dissimilar from a PFM meeting; Film Cymru funded the film which kicked off a year of development, after which the film came to PFM for additional funding in 2019.

Director Janis Pugh underlined the difficulties in getting the film made - “We had 26 days, 9 musical things going on, battling North Wales weather and Covid. But you just think, how lucky are we to get to this point of making this film - so let’s just enjoy it!”

Janis emphasised the importance of working in her local area and really delving the cast and crew in the real locations of the film - from “sampling pubs” around the town to visiting real factories, you “can really feel it on screen”

On Wednesday 11 October we took over ActOne Cinema in Acton for the LFF edition of our regular Exhibitor’s Breakfast, which this time focused on on Environmental sustainability and screening events.

BFI NETWORK x Film London shorts featured as London Calling returned this year as part of LFF For Free. London Calling featured two strands: Brave Faces and Being Seen, both offering a selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.

Work by FLAMIN alumni featured in the Experimenta strand at this year's festival. Commissioned by FLAMIN Productions and Bonington Gallery, Onyeka Igwe’s A Radical Duet will premiered on 13 October. A Radical Duet looks back to a period of radical anti-colonial activity in post-war London, with international intellectuals, artists and activists agitating for their respective countries’ national independence.