GFT Blog: BFI London Film Festival

A few weeks ago, GFF Festival Manager Rachel Fiddes and I headed down to the Big Smoke for a few days of meetings and films at the BFI London Film Festival (LFF). Thanks to the British Airways points system we were able to conveniently fly straight down to City Airport, and felt very privileged to be what was immediately clear upon boarding, the only arts professionals amidst the other smartly suited passengers on the flight.  

I hadn’t even realised that it had been three years since I had last visited London, when I was working as a Venue Coordinator for LFF at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton. I was excited not only to see the city after an overlong hiatus, but also to attend the Festival as an Industry Delegate for the first time.  

I had planned a busy schedule for us, so after hotel check-in we went straight to Picturehouse Central for our first meeting, after which we picked up our Festival passes from BFI Southbank on the other side of the river and then walked back again to our second meeting. I soon realised that the heels I had brought with me would remain in my bag and we would walk this route of Picturehouse to Southbank many times during this trip- which was no problem of course as the views at Southbank are amazing.  

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After an early night we woke up to a busy day of back-to-back meetings with the likes of Screen International, Director’s UK, Women in Film & TV, and Film London. It really does make a difference meeting people and making connections face to face, and we had very fruitful meetings with all the great people from the organisations above.  

One of the best things about London and LFF was that I also kept bumping in to old colleagues, as well as all the talented filmmakers that I got to know during my time working on the EIFF Talent Lab before moving on to my role here at Glasgow Film Festival. Always fun to see their familiar faces and catch up.  

Our final day had us in meetings again, and finally, a film! Air punch! After a quick networking drink at BFI Southbank, we headed to the Gala screening of The Florida Project, which we loved. Mr.Willem Dafoe and the other cast were there for the Q&A so overall a great experience, especially in the huge screen at Odeon Leicester Square.  

Rachel and I both had decided to stay in London over the weekend at our own expense, so on Saturday we also saw The Lovers, at LFF’s temporary screen, the Embankment Garden cinema by the Thames. Let’s just say we had immediate venue envy! Very enjoyable and accomplished film again, so we were pleased to catch it.  

Amidst all our meetings and films we also managed to see a few amazing exhibitions; Basquiat: Boom for Real at the Barbican, Dali/Duchamp at the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Balenciaga exhibition at the V&A, so all in all a very hectic, but effective trip!  

Thanks London and LFF, until next year!

Maija Hietala
Industry Coordinator

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