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A United Kingdom to open 60th London Film Festival

A United Kingdom

Story by Jack Foley

AMMA Asante’s A United Kingdom is to open the 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®.

The film tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.

The cast is led by David Oyelowo (Selma) as Seretse Khama, with Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) playing his future wife, Ruth Williams.

Other cast includes Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Terry Pheto (Mandela), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Arnold Oceng (Adulthood), Jack Lowden (’71) and Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey).

The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the Odeon Leicester Square, attended by cast and filmmakers with Asante, Oyelowo and Pike expected on the red carpet.

There will be a live cinecast from the London event and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says: “Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history.

“We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker.”

Director Asante, whose previous film Belle drew widespread critical acclaim, commented: “It’s a great privilege that A United Kingdom has been selected as the Opening Night Film of the BFI London Film Festival.

“The festival means a lot to me personally, having showcased my very first film, A Way of Life, here and been honoured with the UK Film Talent Award. I’m a proud Londoner and in A United Kingdom we’ve been able to film in some of the most beautiful parts of the city as well as in the wonderful landscapes of Botswana.”

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says: “Amma Asante’s A UNITED KINGDOM is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker.”

The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® takes place from Wednesday, October 5 until Sunday, October 16, 2016.

The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday, September 1, 2016.