London Film Festival moves most of its screenings ONLINE this year amid coronavirus pandemic

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The 64th edition of the annual BFI London Film Festival is set to be heavily altered this year, in light of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

With the limitations brought about by the need to socially distance, many of the screenings will take place online rather than in cinemas.

As the full program was unveiled on Tuesday, it was revealed that the offerings will be no less attractive, with Nomadland, Soul and American Utopia on the bill.

Fest: The 64th edition of the annual BFI London Film Festival is set to be heavily altered, in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Frances McDormand is pictured in the film Nomadland

Fest: The 64th edition of the annual BFI London Film Festival is set to be heavily altered, in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Frances McDormand is pictured in the film Nomadland

Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, opening at currently-in-progress Venice before showing at Toronto and New York’s film festivals and Pete Doctor-directed Soul will screen at London’s BFI Southbank, and simultaneously at venues across the UK.

The two films, along with Steve McQueen’s festival opener Mangrove and Francis Lee’s closing night offering Ammonite hold the distinction of being the only films to be shown solely within the confines of cinemas.

Among the 10 films getting both physical and online screenings are Spike Lee’s American Utopia, Another Round And Shirley, starring Elizabeth Moss, and Mogul Mowgli, featuring Riz Ahmed in the lead.

Movie: Spike Lee's American Utopia is among the films at will show this year. Pictured in 2018

Movie: Spike Lee’s American Utopia is among the films at will show this year. Pictured in 2018

In all, more than 50 films will be featured at the festival, with the majority only getting a virtual unveiling, including the corresponding Q&As and talks with the associated filmmakers and actors.

BFI CEO Ben Roberts is quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying: ‘Although it’s been born out of crisis, this year’s edition of the LFF will be our most accessible yet.

‘Thanks to the many talented and dedicated teams across the BFI, and the encouragement of our partners and industry colleagues – we have shaped a festival that suggests a future for bringing filmmakers and film lovers together.’

Historic: Steve McQueen's historic drama Mangrove, starring Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, and Malachi Kirby, among others, is set to open the festival

Historic: Steve McQueen’s historic drama Mangrove, starring Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, and Malachi Kirby, among others, is set to open the festival

Festival director Tricia Tuttle added: ‘This has been such a period of uncertainty and change across the industry and when we embarked on a radical new plan for our 2020 edition, we stepped into unknown territory.

‘But we’ve been so encouraged by the adventurousness of filmmakers and rights holders, the unwavering support of our collaborators and the spirit of unity and experimentation.’ 

The physical form of the Cannes Film Festival, among the first of this year’s fests, was cancelled as it was scheduled to take place in May, at the height of the pandemic. 

Venice’s festival is currently under way, and has been taking place in physical form, though the ceremonies have included stringent social distancing measures. 

On the list: Riz Ahmed's Mogul Mowgli, which he is pictured attending a photocall for at February's 70th Berlinale International Film Festival, will also screen in London

On the list: Riz Ahmed’s Mogul Mowgli, which he is pictured attending a photocall for at February’s 70th Berlinale International Film Festival, will also screen in London

Though the event is still taking place, it is a markedly toned down affair to previous years amid the COVID-19 crisis, with temperature checks and mask wearing becoming mandatory.

According to Variety, when the Film Festival unveiled its official selection in late July, the ‘unprecedented inclusion of eight female-directed titles within the 18-film roster was heralded as welcome progress for an event that has come under fire in recent years for scarce representation of female filmmakers.’

Cate Blanchett was chosen to head the jury back in January, making her the third woman in four years to hold the role.

The BFI London Film Festival is set to run from October 7th to 18th.

Head: Cate Blanchett is currently heading the jury at Venice Film Festival. Pictured on Sunday

Head: Cate Blanchett is currently heading the jury at Venice Film Festival. Pictured on Sunday

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