I was down at the Festival Launch in Leicester Square where Chief Executive Amanda Nevill talked about corporate sponsorship as usual (apparently Jameson is the “spirit of the festival” – make of that what you will) and Artistic Director Sandra Hebron took to the stage for the last time to announce highlights from the forthcoming programme.
Quite a few actors have two films at the festival this year including George Clooney who has The Ides Of March (also starring current favourite Ryan Gosling) and The Descendants; Michael Fassbender who stars in Steve McQueen’s new film Shame about sex addiction and A Dangerous Method, David Cronenberg’s new film about revolutionary pshychotherapist Carl Jung.
Also appearing in two films is Jessica Chastain – Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes and also starring Gerard Butler, and Take Shelter about the building of a tornado bunker and John C. Reilly who appears in both Lynn Barber’s acclaimed adaptation of We Need To Talk About Kevin and also Terri.
Other highlights included W.E. – Madonna’s sophomore directorial effort about the lives of Wallis Simpson and Edward VII (agressively panned at the Venice Film Festival); Nick Broomfield’s new documentary Sarah Palin – You Betcha! about the controversial Alaskan Governor and Snowtown which promises to be a harrowing film about Australia’s most notorious serial killings.
Also featured was Fernando Meirelles’ new film 360 starring Anthony Hopkins which will open the festival and Rachel Weisz’s new film Deep Blue Sea which will close it.
I was personally intrigued by Let The Bullets Fly – a action-packed comedy adventure which is already China’s highest grossing film; Tales Of The Night – a sumptuously animated French movie which looks absolutely stunning; Itlaian comedy We Have A Pope and The Artist – an homage to silent Hollywood films which was a huge hit at Cannes.
The big surprise was the inclusion of Anonymous on the list – Roland Emmerich’s new film about how Shakespeare never wrote any of the 37 plays he was famed for. Nothing explodes in the clip we were shown but there’s always time for that.
Films which were absent from the highlight reel but deserve a mention include Oren Moverman’s Rampart – a story embedded in the corruption of the LAPD in the 1990s starring Woody Harrelson; Andrea Arnold’s new adaptation of Wuthering Heights and Hut In The Woods a German film which takes a progressive look at mental illness.
The festival will feature 204 features and 110 shorts including 13 world premieres. You can view the full programme over at the LFF official website. Everything kicks off on the 12th October.