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London Film Festival Line-Up Includes Flee, Maya And The Three, Belle and More


The British Film Institutes' London Film Festival (LFF) is one of the most prestigious events on the circuit. Along with Cannes, Toronto,  and Venice's festivals, LFF is one that filmmakers dream of getting their films selected by. The festival's line-up for the 2021 event has now been revealed, and it contains a fair few treats for animation lovers.

The 2021 festival will go ahead as normal, with venues around London, with some COVID protocols in place. Masks will be required for all screenings, but they are not requiring vaccination or testing. However, there will also be a number of titles that will be offered at partner locations across the UK, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff.  Some films will also be offered on the BFI Player streaming platform

The festival's Official Selection was named previously, so we already knew that Mamoru Hosoda's new film Belle would be screening in competition. But Belle will not be the only eagerly anticipated film that will be screening at at LFF.

Sundance prize-winner Flee will be screening as part of the Flare strand, The BFI's program of LGBTQI films and events. The film is based around an interview by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen and his old school friend Amin, and follows his journey from Afghanistan to his current life as an academic in Denmark. The film's subject matter has unfortunately taken on extra resonance, due to current events. The film will screen at the LFF, as well as several Partner venues around the country and on streaming via the BFI Player.

Screening as part of the Journey strand is The Crossing, the first animated feature to be produced entirely using oil paint on glass. Director Florence Miailhe's French language production follows a pair of siblings separated from their parents and forced to escape from their unnamed Eastern European country.

Netflix will also offer family audiences a preview of a pair of their upcoming animated offerings. Jorge Gutiérrez's Mesoamerican fantasy epic Maya And The Three will be screening its first four episodes, and Aardman's upcoming Christmas special Robin Robin will also be shown.

A program of animated shorts for younger audiences will screen, both at the festival and for free via BFI player. The selection includes work from Studio Ponoc, The UK's National Film and Television School, Disney and Skydance Animation. The Ape Star a Swedish-Norwegian-Danish 2D animated feature will also screen. Director Linda Hambäck's previous feature Gordon and Paddy previously screened at LFF in 2018.

Ron's Gone Wrong, the first feature from London based animation studio Locksmith Animation will screen as this year's Family Gala.

As with many modern festivals, LFF also features VR/AR experiences in their line-up, as part of the Expanded strand. Among the selection is Laika, Asif Kapaida's animated retelling of the story of the first dog in space, and Taiwan filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang's Missing Pictures.

The BFI London Film Festival 2021 will run from October 6 through to October 17. General tickets go on sale on Monday, September 20 at 10am, with BFI Members priority booking starting from September 10. More details can be found at the festival website.