London Film Festival gets underway with virtual premieres available to stream

Kate Winslet in Francis Lee's Ammonite one of the premieres at the London BFI film festival 2020

Kate Winslet in Francis Lee's Ammonite one of the premieres at the London BFI film festival 2020 - Credit: Archant

The programme include 59 features by the likes of Riz Ahmed and talks with David Byrne and movies starring Frances McDormand and Kate Winslet

The 64th London Film Festival begins on Wednesday (7th) and runs until Oct 18th in a drastically altered form.

It’s much smaller with just 59 feature films on offer, around a third of the usual number, and most are not going to be shown in cinemas. 16 titles will be screened at the NFT and cinemas across London and around the country, but what with social distancing, all the Southbank seats are sold out.

The remaining titles will be available to stream from the BFI player.

These Virtual Premieres have scheduled start times, need to be booked in advance and for most of them you have to start watching it within 30 minutes of the start time. This seems overly precious and pernickety when you are charging £12, more than a months worth of Netflix.

Free to access are a series of Screen Talks with filmmakers from around the world including David Byrne (here with a Spike Lee-directed version of his Broadway show American Utopia) and Riz Ahmed, at the Festival with his directorial debut Mogul Mowgli. The LLF Expanded section offers a programme of immersive, 360 degrees Virtual Reality pieces which are also free; provided you’ve already bought an appropriate headset. Oh, and the films? The most anticipated is Nomadland with Frances McDormand and the closing film, period lesbian fossil collecting romance Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.

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