LONDON (AP) – After a pared down edition in 2021, the BFI London Film Festival is back in full swing this year.
The annual event kicks off on Wednesday evening with the premiere of a new, musical action adaptation of Matilda – the first time in a decade that a family-friendly film has opened the festival.
Based on the story by Roald Dahl and featuring the songs of Tim Minchin, newcomer Alisha Weir takes the lead role with support from stars Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch and Stephen Graham. All are expected to walk the red carpet at the Royal Festival Hall on opening night.
Speaking ahead of the gala, festival director Tricia Tuttle called the choice of opening film “joyous”, adding that “it plays really well to everyone”.
The London Film Festival is in its 66th year, and prides itself for being more “audience facing” than other festivals across the globe.
“If you’re a public ticket buyer, you can walk the red carpet. You can’t do that at lots of film festivals. And that’s really very much part of our identity,” Tuttle said.
Celebrities expected to attend this year include actor/producer Jennifer Lawrence with Causeway, Timothee Chalamet with Luca Guadagnino’s romance Bones and All, and Cate Blanchett and Christoph Waltz for Guillermo del Toro’s stop motion animation Pinocchio.
The festival closes on Sunday with the premiere of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sequel Glass Onion, starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe and Leslie Odom Jr.