Today: February 21, 2024

The year 2011 was great for film, especially British cinema.

The year 2011 was great for film, especially British cinema. We had some impressive exports, a decent stab at awards season and a hopeful nod to future filmmakers. This is an industry with a bit of kick still in it despite the disadvantages that also came last year with being involved with British filmmaking.

This year, therefore, should be nothing short of phenomenal, and organisers, industry members and film fans are keen to celebrate cinema in as many means as possible. Starting with the capital there might be some dates that are marked on your movie laden calendar already, but in case you haven’t, here’s our guide of what to look out for in London this year.

The January misery has probably ebbed into your life by now, with the sad sight of used Christmas trees cast to the streets and those few pounds that now sit stubbornly on your middle regions. You could try a celebrity fitness DVD if you can face the man behind the till, or you can pop over the London Comedy Film Festival and chuckle that chub away. The festival is taking to the British Film Institute on Southbank for its very first year, and organisers have made sure this is as impressive a debut as possible.

Scientific fact has proven that nobody can dislike The Muppets, and this theory has been applied to opening night (26th of January) with a preview of the new film. From then on it’s a landslide of glee, with previews, parties and premieres that will kindly allow you to forget your troubles and woes. LoCo’s first Comedy Hero is the wisely placed Edgar Wright, who will be introducing a cheery double bill of Life is Sweet and his wonderful Shaun of Dead as well as hosting a party for the event. Nice man. Find out more about this rib tickler of a weekend visit this link for tickets, times and the like.

The LGBT film circuit enjoyed success with last year’s acclaimed Weekend which was nominated at the British Independent Film Awards, and with the return of the BFI’s Lesbian and Gay Film festival for its 26th year this March expect nothing short of powerful viewing. Last year’s programme included a documentary on lesbian punk rock in San Francisco, a depiction of male prostitution in Berlin and a drama surrounding the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the US marines. The full programme will be released in February, and all updates can be found at the BFI’s website here.

Sundance, the big deal of film festivals in the US will be coming to the UK this year and taking over the o2 arena for the last weekend of April. Known for showcasing the best in independent cinema for the upcoming months this is definitely one to look out for, with full details on the event’s site here. Founded by Robert Redford, the three day festival will contain film and music, and will be opened by an evening with Redford himself, mediated by British author Nick Hornby. The full run down won’t be published until March but promises 14 premieres, and considering the US mother fest has enjoyed first screenings of Winters Bone, Blue Valentine and Project Nim, you should expect great things.

Much later in the year various independent cinemas across the city will be sharing the role of host to the London Youth film festival. This is a platform for the spritelier of visionaries to broadcast their work and receive a hand in getting it put out to consumers. Submissions are currently being taken with guidelines and contact information here and the festival itself will be taking place in November.

You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a rock star at last year’s East End Film festival which brought to us its fair share of dishevelled scenesters with a special screening of the Libertine’s documentary last year. This year’s instalment will start the first weekend of July for a six day programme showing some of the best of international and independent cinema across some of East London’s proudest venues. The full line up will be announced on the site page here.

For functioning members of British society you may have noticed a quiet little sporting event landing in London this summer. Film will be featuring heavily in the London 2012 festival in association with the Olympic Games, not only with Danny Boyle directing the opening ceremony but with offerings of some of the best cinema in the country. The BFI will be representing by restoring and screening rare offerings of Alfred Hitchcock’s earlier work at the Cultural Olympiad finale. As part of the ceremony a new and original score for Hitchcock’s 1926 feature The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog will be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra as well as accompanying scores from contributing contemporary musicians. This site will fill you in.

With 2012 bringing a fresh sweep of the spandex with Spiderman, Batman and The Avengers instalments there is no better time to embrace the graphic novel, and this year’s London Film and Comic con, although in the early stages of planning, will be the ultimate indulgence for fans. Initial information can be found here with updates posted closer to the time.

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