New London Gang Moves Into Fresh H.Q., Hits Gender Targets

In its 62nd year the BFI London Film Festival saw a new management team face one of the festival’s biggest challenges, the absence of its flagship venue. Despite this, the 12-day event returns (Oct. 10-21) with a packed and vibrant lineup of 225 features representing 77 countries, including 21 world premieres and a program that sees 38% of titles directed or co-directed by female filmmakers and gender parity achieved in its official competition section — a feat that should make many other festival organizers blush.

This year’s festival sees Tricia Tuttle and Anne-Marie Flynn step into new roles as artistic director and managing director, respectively. The pair faced a major challenge from the outset when they discovered late last year that the 1,600-seat Odeon Leicester Square, which usually serves as the festival’s hub for gala premieres, would not be available in 2018 due to major refurbishment. The iconic venue delivered more than 35,000 admissions to the festival last year.

Flynn says alternatives were scarce given the exhibition business in the U.K. has left a paucity of large-scale venues. “So many cinemas are being carved up into smaller screens, so there are hardly any auditoria of any scale,” she says.

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