Steve McQueen’s Mangrove to open BFI London Film Festival


STEVE MCQUEEN’S Mangrove will open the 64th BFI London Film Festival.

The film, directed by the multi-award-winning visual artist and filmmaker, stars Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes and Malachi Kirby.

It is one of five films from Small Axe, a drama anthology which comprises five original films created by McQueen for BBC One.

Marking 50 years since the events depicted, Mangrove tells the true story of the Mangrove 9, the group of black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970 and their highly publicised trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.

The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday 7 October as part of the festival’s innovative 12-day offering which takes the entire festival out to cities around the UK, and with many films across programme also available for virtual premieres at home.

McQueen said: “I couldn’t be happier that Mangrove will open this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Although the themes are universal, Mangrove is a London story. It may have happened fifty years ago, but it’s as relevant today as it was then.”

This year, festival audiences will be invited to book tickets to review the film for free at venues across the UK on Wednesday 7 October ahead of its broadcast on BBC One this autumn and airing on Amazon Prime Video in the US.

BFI London Film Festival Director, Tricia Tuttle said: “This new series from Oscar-winning director and BFI Fellow Steve McQueen could not be more timely in the context of recent global protests around anti-Black racism and inequality, and McQueen has been a powerful voice in challenging the status quo and demanding inclusion within the British film industry. His Widows also opened the 62nd BFI London Film Festival in 2018 and we have never had the same filmmaker open the LFF twice in such a close time frame; that’s both a testament to the urgency of the film and potency of his filmmaking.”

Mangrove and eleven other highly-anticipated new films from the programme will screen in previews across the UK, in partnership with a UK-wide cinemas network, marking the most audience-accessible version of the festival to date.

As previously announced, the majority of this year’s LFF will be delivered as virtual premieres in a programme of over 55 films that offer audiences the opportunity to see the excellent new cinema from around the world from the comfort of their own homes, as well as Screen Talks with major filmmakers and actors and a brand new Virtual Exhibition of XR and Immersive Art.

The 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 7 October-Sunday 18 October.

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