This year’s UK Film Festival will take place from 17 – 23 November and will once again offer London audiences a unique chance to catch the latest award-winning short films on the big screen.
Besides short films, the programme includes an innovative selection of features by established and up and coming directors, as well as cutting edge documentaries and animation films. Films will be screened to the public every evening (except Monday) at four London venues: BFI Stephen Street, Regent Street Cinema, Soho Hotel, and Close Up. Many screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions, after which there will also be an opportunity for informal discussion with the filmmakers. The 2019 programme has been curated by the twice Berlinale winning director Petros Silvestros.
A highlight of the 2019 edition is Billy Crystal’s performance in Standing Up, Falling Down. This bittersweet, heartfelt drama about lost dreams and life renewal is a co-presentation with the UK Jewish Film Festival. Another anticipated feature is To Paris!, a new Russian feature film that is based on the true story of two officers in the Red Army who on the day of the final victory against the Nazis in 1944 steal a German staff car, go AWOL and head for Paris. The director Sergey Sarkisov will be present at the screening to do a Q&A. Both features are UK premieres.
The shorts line-up includes the Palme d’Or winner The Distance between Us and the Sky by Vasilis Kekatos; the BAFTA award-winning 73 Cows by Alex Lockwood; and the Berlinale Crystal Bear winner Tattoo by Farhad Delaram. Other feature film highlights include the UK premiere of the documentary American Mirror: Intimations of Immortality, with Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon. The film is directed by Arthur Balder, who will attend the screening to do a Q&A.
This year the UK Film Festival, in association with the Leeds International Film Festival and Film Bath Festival, is also screening the Lux Film Prize finalists and nominees in both Bath and Leeds. The Lux selection includes: Cold Case Hammarskjöld by Mads Brügger (a co-production between Denmark/Norway/Sweden/UK/Germany); God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya by Teona Mitevska (a co-production between North Macedonia/Belgium/Slovenia/Croatia/France); and The Realm by Rodrigo Sorogoyen (a co-production between Spain/France).
The opening night short films were all amazing. THE VAN by Erenik Beqiri (Albania) was a story of a young man willing to do anything to get the UK; LEARNING TO SWIM by Ruth Grimberg (UK) was a beautifully told documentary about a family in the UK who adopts refugees; NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB by Yves Piat (France/Tunisia) has at its center two young boys who stumble on several packets of cocaine which ends up in the most strange place; and THE BEACH HOUSE by Richard Naylor (UK) where two young men get ready to propose to their girlfriends while the girlfriends have something else in mind.
FOR THE FULL PROGRAMME, PLEASE GO TO: www.ukfilmfestival.com