The 57th London Film Festival Opens

BFI 57th London Film Festival 2013

Can the 57th British Film Institute’s London Film Festival (LFF) emulate the success of last year’s edition? The 2012 event – the first to be held under the stewardship of the former director of the Sydney Film Festival, Clare Stewart – was almost a total sell-out, boasting 151,000 attendees, a 13 per cent increase. That was an Olympic year, of course, when the UK was on a high. But with tourism still benefiting from a post-Games bounce, 2013 could be another hit.

The LFF was already in rude health when Stewart was appointed, but the energetic Australian still saw room for improvement. She spread the festival across a larger number of venues, which now total 15, in different parts of the city, and, controversially, divided the programme into nine themed strands: Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family. Although some cineastes protested that this cheapened the event, the Australian insisted that the categories would make the programme’s contents clearer for visitors not au fait with current trends in world cinema, and encourage people to take risks with their choices. Attendance figures and audience feedback from last year suggest that she was right.

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