October 16, 2021

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The head of the London Festival is excited about the future of cinema

4 min read

When Tricia Tuttle, director of the BFI London Film Festival, came to Cannes in July, it was the first time she had seen herself sitting in a large space to watch a movie. Experience, he said, is “incredibly emotional”.

Perhaps for this reason, when asked what his highlights from the upcoming LFF (.-Oct 1) are, Tuttle did not mention one or two films but the whole festival. “It sounds very clear, but coming back to the movies – absolutely. And a big, physical, live festival.

With last year’s LFF an early virtual event, Tuttle and his team were determined that 2021 would be personally accessible. But, to make this possible, they need to make a decision in late May / early June, when the majority of the UK population was still unvaccinated and no one had any idea if, after the fall, another lockdown could be on the horizon. “We knew we wanted to go back to the cinema,” Tuttle said. “Our chief executive, Ben Roberts, and the BFI’s board really supported us with the calculated risks.”

Tuttle and his team hope that by the time the festival opens, they will be able to fill the space at 100% capacity, but the way they have chosen – including the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Center, where they have built a 59-foot screen, amplified sound and 4k projectors. Large enough to ensure strong viewers even within installed-limited capacity. Guests and staff will be asked to wear masks at the cinema hall and talent management has its own coveted protocol.

A little more slim down version with 160 films in this year’s LFF program, although it turns out it was a deliberate decision without an epidemic side effect. “We want to spend more time with each filmmaker, spend more time with each film and help that film find its audience,” Tuttle said.

For Tuttle, the audience stays at the forefront of his mind as he assembles the LFF. “We are very, very clear that we are a spectator festival. That’s how we were founded, “he says.” The goal is to have a variety of programs, from a major red carpet award season contestant to an artist’s moving image or against a slow movie, or you know, an anime film, and they’re all very Feels comfortable. “And when programmers consider whether they can snatch a European or international premiere, including 20 in the film section this year,” it’s not a matter of decision, “he says.

As part of this, LFF is simultaneously showcasing some of its programs at 10 venues across the UK, including Cardiff, Edinburgh and Sheffield. “What creates [LFF] Two things are unique, ”says Tuttle. “One, where we are geographically located, is a great bridge between North Americans and English speakers. [territories]. So it is a geographical and linguistic connection with the English language producing regions, but we are also a part of Europe. “

The other is where the LFF, which traditionally runs through October, sits on the awards season calendar. “It has become an increasingly important place to bring a film if it has the ambition of the awards season.” Of course the LFF has been seen as a launchpad for British theatrical British films to find viewers in the UK “We are trying to achieve the same cultural goal” People need to see a wide range of work. ”

This year it’s particularly true, as LFF expands its series and immersive strands, including the European premiere of “Legacy” Season 3. Stealing a lot of LFF title slots this year? In addition to “The Harder the Fall”, Netflix has a final screening of Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and Apple’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth”.

“I hope we have a festival that can support the on-strategy of any rightssolder working with us. There are a variety of ways to program the film and Netflix is ​​- and has been for years – a really great distribution partner who does incredible work that adds so much to the festival. It is impossible to stay away from the fact that both the viewers and the producers are moving smoothly across the film and television.

“We’re really aware that listeners, especially young listeners, aren’t making the same kind of difference.” He mentions Steve McQueen’s “Small Ax”, which was a BBC / Amazon co-production.

“It’s not just Netflix, you know. Amazon Space, Apple Space, Disney Plus, Warner Bros. have their own platforms.

Which brings us to one of the most talked about topics in the ear: With increasing streaming, what is the future of cinema? Tuttle feels “really optimistic” about independent film. “I really think – I really believe – that people want to see movies in a shared environment.”

“I think anyone who works in film, and of course at film festivals, what we like is to interact with the filmmakers and the audience and how you see the things you see on the small screen when you get a big audience there,” he said. .

“And an electricity that you get to see something together with the audience on screen is something I absolutely expected.”

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