Highlights of the 56th BFI London Film Festival

Today sees the start of the UK's largest public film event featuring the premieres of Frankenweenie and Great Expectations - here's what to look out for...

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Highlights of the 56th BFI London Film Festival
Written By
Barnaby Walter

The 2012 BFI London Film Festival kicks off its 12 day programme today, beginning with tonight's premiere of Tim Burton's big-screen stop-motion animation, Frankenweenie.

The Official Competition selection boasts some big names in independent cinema. Michael Winterbottom, the prolific director whose works include A Mighty Heart and the recent Trishna, is represented by Everyday (17 October), a film about a Scottish family set over five Christmases that was filmed in two-week periods over five years. It stars Shirley Henderson and John Simm.  

Winterbottom is joined by Sally Potter with Ginger and Rosa (pictured above, 13 October), and In Bruges director Martin McDonagh and his film Seven Psychopaths (19 October). Also included is Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children (14 October).

Championing homegrown talent, the selection also features a long list of UK premieres, with Michel Franco's After Lucia (20 October), David Ayer's End of Watch (11 October) and François Ozon's In the House (14 October).

Gala screenings include Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane which the band is expected to attend (18 October); Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet, starring Maggie Smith (15 October); Palme d’Or winner Amour, directed by Michael Haneke (11 October); and Ben Affleck’s political thriller Argo (17 October).

The festival will then be closed by Mike Newell's hotly-anticipated adaptation of Great Expectations, starring Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irvine, which will bring the programme to an end on Sunday 21 October.

The structure of the LFF has been refreshed by new festival director Clare Stewart, who previously helmed the Sydney Film Festival for five years. Titles are organised under a number of themes - Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family - in an effort to help people discover the works that appeal to them more easily among the 200-plus list of films.

The BFI is also placing more emphasis on awards this year, with additional competitive sections.

*Film times refer to the first screening. Most films are to be shown over several different times and locations - check the complete programme listing on the BFI website for more details. 

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