The BBC First British Film Festival has announced the full 2016 program which consists of 19 Australian premieres, including classic restorations, a focus on pioneering British director Ken Loach and a specially curated Local Heroes retrospective. These form part of a diverse line-up of the latest award winners and star-studded features, amongst a spread of beloved classics.
The Festival will open with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, straight from its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival. A United Kingdom is a period drama based on the inspirational true-life romance between Botswanan King Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and his British wife, Ruth William Khama (Rosamund Pike), who caused an international scandal when they married in 1948.
The Festival will close with the highly anticipated A Monster Calls, based on the acclaimed book by Patrick Ness and starring Britain’s Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), newcomer Lew MacDougall and Liam Neeson as the voice of the monster. This is a visually spectacular film about a young boy who delves into a world of fantasy, imagination and monsters to deal with the reality of his mother’s terminal illness.
This year, the festival is proud to present a special focus on Ken Loach. Celebrated, and known for his complex explorations into social realities and struggles of the everyday Brit, the focus will feature three films: I, Daniel Blake, the much talked about return to form from the 79-year-old director, who emerged from retirement to win his second Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival; Poor Cow, set in a gritty London of 1960s, Ken Loach’s debut British New Wave masterpiece sees Joy (Carol White) living a life filled with bad choices with this unlikely box office hit that was vividly evocative of its time; and Versus: The Life and Times of Ken Loach, Louise Osmond’s provocative and revealing documentary that focuses on over 50 years of Loach’s work – both on screen and off – that could not have been more timely coming hot off the heels of I, Daniel Blake.
Other Festival highlights include:
- A Quiet Passion, an expertly crafted portrait of the 19th century poet, Emily Dickinson
- Winter, a successful artist’s life is suddenly turned upside down when his beloved wife is killed in a random act of violence
- Trespass Against Us, a thrilling crime-drama with a pulsating original score by the Chemical Brothers and starring Michael Fassbender
- The Banksy Job, a documentary which shines the spotlight on larger than-life AK47 – an ex-pornstar and acid rave promoter turned self-anointed ‘art terrorist’
- Oasis: Supersonic, a no-holds-barred approach to the turbulent relationship between the two Gallagher brothers and the Manchester rock band’s rise to fame.
- The Light Between Oceans, Derek Cianfrance’s highly anticipated tale of love and sacrifice based on the bestselling Australian novel by ML Stedman
- The Secret Scripture, a film chronicling a woman’s struggles amidst the political tensions of 1920s and 1930s Ireland
- The Limehouse Golem, a tale of murder and mayhem, set in the notorious Limehouse district of 19th century London
- And 10 retrospective films that are a specially curated ode to some of Britain’s cinematic heroes, including Local Heroes, Goldfinger, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Oliver!, A Room With A View, Sid and Nancy, Carry On Up The Khyber and The Man Who Fell To Earth.