LFF FOR FREE: 65th BFI London Film Festival Announces Their Free Public Events Programme

LONDON, Wednesday 29 September – The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express announced this year’s LFF For Free line-up including events with filmmakers  Michael Winterbottom, Asif Kapadia, Mike Leigh Jeremy Thomas and Mark Cousins and Founder of Fruit Tree Media and Director of UK Features for Netflix Fiona Lamptey. The Festival’s programme of free events will include talks and debates, short film screenings, XR and immersive experiences. . The BFI Southbank will become a Festival Hub for the public, with these free events concentrated predominantly over the two weekends of the BFI London Film Festival, October 9th – 10th and October 16th – 17th.

The LFF For Free programme offers an eclectic, provocative and creative mix of events for audiences of all tastes. Events will include thought-provoking Q&A and panel discussions with guests that also include THE ROPE (LFF 2021) series creators Eric Forestier and Dominique Rocher, Artizine UK’s Ioana Simion, Rebecca Barden (BFI Publishing at Bloomsbury), Rebecca Harrison (Open University), Manishita Dass (Royal Holloway University of London), Alex Dudok de Wit (Deputy Editor, Cartoon Brew) and some of the inspiring women who set up the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in 1981.

The programme will also include short film showcases from Film4 and Fruit Tree Media,  NETWORK@LFF, BFI NETWORK and Film London, immersive album listening sessions in the dark with Pitchblack Playback and a guided walk-through comedy genius Charlie Chaplin’s early life as well as talks organised by BFI Film Academy’s Young Programmers. Audiences can also find out about the history of the BFI London Film Festival through the free Festival trail in and around the BFI Southbank, with a route peppered with artwork from past editions, Festival photography and fun LFF trivia for everyone to enjoy.

LFF Expanded will also offer free events throughout the duration of the Festival including Baff Akoto’s Augmented Reality artwork UP:RISE, interactive VR dance performance FUTURE RITES,  MUSEUM OF AUSTERITY, a mixed reality exhibition that preserves memories of public and private events from the austerity era, Asif Kapadia’s striking VR animationLAIKAimmersive audio walk ONLY EXPANSIONas well as access to THE EXPANSE, the Festival’s free digital platform where you can explore interactive artworks, 360-degree films and network with other festival visitors. 


PROGRAMME OF FREE EVENTS:

(BFI London Film Festival runs 6 – 17th October)

Friday 8 October

Va Va Voom: The French TV Boom: The Library, Cine Lumiere, 17.00
French TV is going through an incredibly exciting moment, with the unprecedented international success of shows like Lupin and Call My Agent!. A panel, including THE ROPE series creators Eric Forestier and Dominique Rocher, explore some of the cultural and industrial reasons behind the boom in French TV content, including the rise of the streaming platforms, the increased tolerance of international audiences for subtitled content and the breakdown of the traditional cultural hierarchy between film and TV. We identify what French shows work internationally and whether their popularity is reflected domestically, as well as explore the challenges and opportunities this content boom provides to writers and directors. We’ll also unpack French cultural attitudes towards television as an art-form and what room there is, if any, for the notion of the ‘auteur’ in this collaborative medium.

courtesy BFI

Saturday 9th October

Protest & RevolutionThe Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 12:30
MOTHERS OF THE REVOLUTION (LFF 2021) tells the story of a group of women who opposed the siting of cruise missiles in the UK and set up the Greenham women’s peace camp, the biggest female-led protest since women’s suffrage. Forty years on, young activists who are standing up to fight for the issues of their time – climate, race and inequality of all kinds – join us for a conversation with some of the women who took part in the peace camp to discuss their experience of Greenham Common, connecting the #MeToo generation with the women who paved their way.

Film4 and Fruit Tree Media present: Foresight:  Studio, BFI Southbank, 13.00 (replay on Sunday 10th October, 13.00)
Foresight is a compilation of short films, set in the UK, which imagine the future for Black and Brown characters. They are written, directed and produced by culturally diverse filmmakers who call the UK home. Foresight is an urgent anthology that explores alternate realities through the lens of five Black British directors. This time capsule collection contributes to a perspective and point of view continually missing from our screens – a future where people of colour exist! Suitable for persons aged 15+.

Spotlight: Fiona Lamptey: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 14.30
Fiona Lamptey, Founder of Fruit Tree Media and Director of UK Features for Netflix joins us to  discuss her career and her passion for nurturing new talent, and how she wants to redefine what a British film looks and feels like.

After working for Film4 as a production manager on productions that include Attack The BlockThe Selfish Giant and Four Lions, Fiona established Fruit Tree Media in 2013, with the aim of cultivating and championing unrepresented voices, and to use her industry experience to develop new talent.

In her role as Director of UK Features at Netflix, Fiona oversees the content team managing the development and production of UK original films, including identifying books, theatre and other IP to develop into features. As well as producing the Film4 mini sci-fi series Foresight (screening as part of LFF For Free) Fiona also produced debbie tucker green’s ear for eye (in LFF 2021 Debate strand).

Pitchblack Playback: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico: Studio, BFI Southbank, 15.00 00 (replay on Sunday 10th October, 15.00)

The concept of Pitchblack Playback is simple: Listening sessions where people can come and hear classic and upcoming albums ahead of release on a big cinema sound system, in the dark. It’s all about cutting yourself off from distractions and giving albums the time and space, they deserve.

Celebrating the LFF 2021 screening of Todd Haynes’ documentary THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, this immersive audio session will take you back to 1967 and the ground-breaking sounds of the legendary band’s eponymous debut album. It’s a record that spawned thousands of bands for years to come and which famously received patronage from Andy Warhol. This session will transport you into those heady counter-cultural times, the trippy atmosphere of Warhol’s Factory and the gritty streets of New York.

London Calling: Speaking Your TruthStudio, BFI Southbank, 11.00 (replay on Saturday 16th October, 11.00 and Sunday 17th October, 15.00)
A selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, weaving bold cinematic narratives in surprising, sometimes playful, but above all honest ways. Funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.

NETWORK@LFF Shorts Programme 1: Studio, BFI Southbank, 17.00 (replay on Saturday 16th October, 17.00)
NETWORK@LFF is the festival’s flagship talent development programme, based at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival and delivered by BFI NETWORK. Now in its seventh year, the Festival has selected 12 of the boldest and brightest emerging filmmakers to join them for an intensive programme of masterclasses, screenings and one-to-ones with industry professionals. This cohort of writers, directors and producers show a distinct voice in their work as they push the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from British film. Join to see a selection of shorts by this year’s selected filmmakers.


Sunday 10th October
London Calling: Hopes and Visions: 
Studio, BFI Southbank, 11.00 (replay on Saturday 16 October, 13.00 and Sunday 17 October, 11.00)
A selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, weaving bold cinematic narratives in surprising, sometimes playful, but above all honest ways. Funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.


NETWORK@LFF Shorts Programme 2Studio, BFI Southbank, 17.00 (replay on Saturday 16 October, 15.00)
NETWORK@LFF is the festival’s flagship talent development programme, based at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival and delivered by BFI NETWORK. Now in its seventh year, they’ve selected 12 of the boldest and brightest emerging filmmakers to join them for an intensive programme of masterclasses, screenings and one-to-ones with industry professionals. This cohort of writers, directors and producers show a distinct voice in their work as they push the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from British film. Join to see a selection of shorts by this year’s selected filmmakers.


The Friends of Jeremy Thomas: NFT 2, BFI Southbank, 14.30

Jeremy Thomas has produced some of the world’s finest independent films, from The Last EmperorSexy Beast and Crash to The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll SwindleBad Timing and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, to name but a few. In THE STORMS OF JEREMY THOMAS (available on BFI Player over the course of the Festival), director Mark Cousins will take a road trip with the Oscar-winning producer on his annual pilgrimage to the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a journey both physical and philosophical as Cousins explores the authorial perspective that has emerged across Thomas’ 60 feature films – as a provocateur and as seeker and celebrator of radical artists and thinkers. In this companion free talk, the BFI are delighted to welcome Mark to the BFI Southbank to lead a conversation with Jeremy and friends, to celebrate an extraordinary career unlike any other in British cinema.

Fiver Flicks: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 14.00

From ’90s kids playing with handycams to smartphone films becoming unexpected festival hits, no-budget filmmaking has created some serious precedents. But filmmaking is still rife with hidden costs and if you’re a one-person-band, pulling together a production can be a challenge. Fiver Flicks brings together three of the UK’s most exciting young filmmakers and challenges them to make a short for just £5. We will dig into their processes, chat about smartphone shooting and glean a bunch of practical tips: from ‘how do you mimic a dolly shot on an iPhone?’ to ‘seriously, can you DIY a soft box with a bedsheet?’ Whether you’re looking to make the next low-budget knockout or just want some insights fresh from the field, Fiver Flicks will offer some serious filmmaking inspiration – trust fund not required.


For The Fans: Memes, Zines, Edits and Fanfic: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 11.00

Who hasn’t watched a fancam before? Or read a fanfic story that finally sees those two characters end up together? Fan content contains some of the most popular ways of engaging with films and TV shows, but all too often it can seem like a ‘guilty pleasure’. Should it be? Or should we, and the film industry, embrace fan content and support the voices behind it? For the Fans is a panel discussion that celebrates this content and its creators. The Festival will be screening new works, and getting into what fan content is and why it should be taken seriously. We’ll also give you the chance to produce your own work of fan content with a fanzine-making workshop, so you can finally put those photos of your favourite characters to good use. The event takes the format of a one-hour fanzine-making workshop, led by experienced workshop facilitator Ioana Simion of Artizine UK. It will be followed by a screening of the three new works made by the creators and a panel discussion of all things fan content, beginning at 12.00pm.


BFI Film Classics: The Makings Of A Classic: The BFI Reuben Library, BFI Southbank, 13.00
The BFI Film Classics book series introduces, interprets and celebrates landmarks of world cinema. Each volume offers an argument for the film’s ‘classic’ status. But how do we decide what makes a film a classic? And who gets to decide which films are included in the canon? Join film publishers, critics and historians Rebecca Barden (BFI Publishing at Bloomsbury), Rebecca Harrison (Open University), Manishita Dass (Royal Holloway University of London) and Alex Dudok de Wit (Deputy Editor, Cartoon Brew) in a lively debate about film classics and how to rethink the canon. If we want to tell new stories about filmmaking and film cultures beyond the white western canon, where do we start?

Tuesday 12th October
Dark Matter – Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century: 
NFT3, BFI Southbank, 11.00Who and what decides whether a film gets funded? How do those who control the purse strings also determine a film’s content and even its message?  Michael Winterbottom is joined by Asif Kapadia and Mike Leigh to discuss the themes of his new book ‘Dark Matter: Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century’. The award-winning directors will discuss how studios that fund film production and control distribution networks also work against a sustainable independent film culture and limit innovation in style and content. They will share their vision of how the contemporary filmmaking landscape could be reformed, with fairer funding and payment practices, allowing for a more innovative and sustainable 21st-century industry


Thursday 14th October
LFF Expanded: Augmented Reality Art For Social Change
26 Leake Street, 18.00UP:RISE is an Augmented Reality public artwork from artist Baff Akoto that explores the pathology, history and underlying drivers of English civil unrest in the digital age. Marking 10 years since the ‘UK Riots’ of summer 2011 announced the arrival of 21st Century Britain, UP:RISE delves into the evolution of technology that has helped to shape the country and how society has since evolved along the same fault lines that resulted in the events of that summer. UP:RISE embeds archive of the riots into an Augmented Reality sculpture. The sound design includes testimonies from those arrested and convicted for offences that summer as they reflect on their country, their lives then and in the decade since. In this panel the LFF Expanded alumni (Virtual (Black) Reality, 2020) Baff Akoto discusses the possibilities and challenges of this emerging technology for public engagement with leading experts in the field.


Saturday 16th October
Chaplin WalksKennington Tube Station, 11.00 & 14.00Catch Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s innovative and illuminating documentary THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN at LFF screenings and then join for a guided walk through the comedy genius’ world.

Charlie Chaplin was born in Kennington, London in 1889 and spent the first 21 years of his life there. One of the poorest areas of the city, his early existence was tough. As a teenager he joined a performing group and his star on the London stage grew rapidly. During a tour of the US he was spotted by a scout for Sennett Studios, who signed him up and, well, the rest is history! Arguably the first truly global star, he featured in countless shorts, became a celebrated filmmaker and was defined by his Little Tramp on-screen persona. The walk starts from Kennington Tube Station and will take in some of the houses he lived in, the workhouse he spent time in as a child and the even place where he developed his famous comedy walk.


Sunday 17th October
Pitchblack Playback: Skepta – Konnichiwa: Studio, BFI Southbank, 13.00

In celebration of the LFF screening of 8 BAR – THE STORY OF GRIME, this immersive audio session revisits the key recording of Grime 2.0, where Skepta bent the world to his will and showed that compromises were not required for grime MCs to achieve global commercial success. It’s a landmark album that perfectly blends the roots and evolution of grime in one punchy recording.


Afro-Futures: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 13.00

Through its various evolutions, Afrofuturism has always been a collaboration of Black history; combining the trauma, successes and culture to provide stories that move us beyond the past and into the future. Afro-Futures embodies this spirit, bringing together four Black emerging artists to create a collaborative filmA visual artist, sound artist, writer and editor come together to create a short Afrofuturist film, layered with their singular talents. Join us as we screen this short film and then host a panel discussion with its creators. Chaired by BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Ramatoulie Bobb the artists will talk through their process, and talk all things sci-fi and fantasy.


Community Camera: Filmmaking Collectives: Blue Room, BFI Southbank, 11.00
It’s never been more important to make sure that everyone can see themselves on screen and that they can tell their own story. Across the country, communities that haven’t been given enough of a voice in the film industry are finding ways to make their own work and get it seen. Community Camera is a panel discussion exploring how those who are marginalised can come together to tell their stories. Is working collectively going to give us a louder voice? How can filmmakers stay in touch with the community around them? What are some of the challenges of trying to make films with a social purpose? And is it ever going to be possible to represent everyone in your community with complete accuracy onscreen?

This event will also look at what it’s like to make films as a collective, from finding members to staying on the same page. How can working collaboratively make our films stronger and more exciting, and how can we manage differences of opinion? Whether you work collectively or not, collaboration is a key skill on any film set and we’ll explore the best ways to work with other creatives on a project.

The three collectives represented in this event are Amber Film and Photography Collective, Black Audio Film Collective and T A P E Collective. Amber is dedicated to capturing working-class voices from the North-East of England from their base in Newcastle. Black Audio Film Collective was founded in 1982 and was active until 1998, with their work pushing the boundaries of documentary film in experimental directions to capture the state of race relations in Britain. T A P E was founded in 2015 and has highlighted and supported work by filmmakers from under-served backgrounds since.

TICKET AND BOOKING INFORMATION: LFF For Free

These events are FREE and open to all (subject to age ratings for different events).

Dark Matter – Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century, The Friends of Jeremy Thomas, Va Va Voom: The French TV Boom, Chaplin Walk, Augmented Reality Art For Social Change, Future Rites, and Museum of Austerity are all pre-bookable. For how to book please see individual event listings on the website.

Places for all other events can be reserved at the LFF For Free desk in the BFI Southbank foyer from 10am on the day of the event. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. If you have reserved a place, you must arrive at least 15 minutes before the event start time or your place may be reallocated.

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